When you sell goods to a buyer in another EU country, you should always be able to document that the goods are dispatched or transported to the other EU country. Such documentation is a requirement in order for you to sell the goods without charging Danish VAT.

When the seller delivers the goods, he may issue an invoice inclusive of Danish VAT and later repay the VAT to the buyer once the documentation has been received from the buyer.

In order for you to sell goods and services exclusive of Danish VAT, you have to obtain and verify the VAT number of the buyer in the relevant EU country. Additionally, you have to submit the buyer’s VAT number to the Danish Tax Agency. If you fail to do so, or if the information is incorrect, you may be refused to sell your goods or services exclusive of VAT.

You can verify business VAT numbers via the links below:

Search VAT numbers in Denmark

Serch VAT numbers in the EU (the European Commission's website

Content of this website:

  • Verification of VAT numbers and the reason why you have to verify VAT numbers of other businesses
  • Harmonised joint EU documentation requirements that you can apply when you trade within the EU
  • If you do not apply the harmonised documentation requirements, you have to observe the Danish rule on documentation requirements for the identity of the buyer.

Please note that from 2015, more stringent requirements apply to pick-up purchases when full payment takes place before or in connection with the goods being picked up.

From 1 January 2020, new harmonised documentation requirements have been introduced across the EU. You are not obliged to apply these requirements. But if you do not do so, you will have to apply the national rules applicable in the EU country you trade with. If, for example, you sell and dispatch goods from Denmark, the Danish rules will apply.

In order for you to sell goods and services exclusive of Danish VAT, you have to obtain and verify the VAT number of the buyer in the relevant EU country. Additionally, you have to submit the buyer’s VAT number to the Danish Tax Agency. If you fail to do so, or if the information is incorrect, you may be refused to sell your goods or services exclusive of VAT.

You need to check the validity of the VAT number provided by the buyer. You should also obtain an electronic verification of the buyer’s name and address. How you confirm the name and address of the buyer depends on the rules of the country of the buyer. VIES, for example, could be used for this.

You are only obliged to verify the name and address of the buyer once the country of origin of the buyer makes the facility accessible to you. For technical reasons, Danish businesses cannot check names and addresses of Spanish and German buyers in VIES.

You can verify business VAT numbers via the links below:

Search VAT numbers in Denmark

Search VAT numbers in the EU (the European Commission’s website)

Why you have to verify the buyer’s VAT number

When a business in one EU country sells goods to another business in another EU country, the buyer should in principle pay VAT to the country from which the goods are dispatched or transported, even if it is considered a sale exempt of VAT. Instead, the VAT-registered buyer should pay a special kind of VAT (acquisition VAT) to the country to which the goods are dispatched or transported. However, acquisition VAT is deductible. As acquisition VAT can be deducted at the same time as it is paid, the buyer can buy the goods without actually paying VAT.

A buyer with no VAT registration number must pay VAT at the time of purchase as the business selling the goods may only do so exclusive of VAT to a buyer in another EU country if this particular buyer is registered for VAT. As a reslut, it is easier for such a buyer to evade tax than if the buyer bought the good inclusive of VAT.

If you apply the new harmonised European requirements, the authorities will assume that you meet the documentation requirements as the seller. However, the Danish Customs and Tax Administration may decide that you have not met the requirements if it can prove that information in the documents is incorrect.

You are not obliged to apply the harmonised EU documentation requirements. But if you will not do so, you will have to apply the national rules applicable in the EU country you trade with. If, for example, you sell and dispatch goods from Denmark, you have to apply the Danish rules.

The documentation requirements depend on whether you as the seller carry out or organise the transport or if you let the buyer carry out or organise the transport.

Such documentation could be documents related to the transport or dispatch of the goods, for example:

  • a signed CMR document (document used for border-crossing road transport) or a consignment note
  • a document for loaded goods in which the shipmaster has signed for the goods and taken on the responsibility to deliver the goods to the right recipient (a bill of lading)
  • an airbill
  • an invoice from the carrier of the goods

Or one of the following types of proof:

  • an insurance policy relating to the transport or dispatch of the goods or a bank statement to prove payment of the transport or dispatch of the goods.
  • documents issued by public authorities, a notary for example, confirming the arrival of the goods in the buyer’s country.
  • a receipt issued by the owner of the warehouse in the EU country where the goods arrive confirming that the goods will be stored in this country.

Documentation when you (the seller) carry out or organise the transport

There are two types of correct documentation:

  1. You either need at least two separate documents concerning the transport or dispatch of the goods.
  2. Alternatively, you should have one document concerning the transport or dispatch and one of the other documents of proof.

The two documents or the document and the proof may not contradict each other. Additionally, the documentation should be issued by two different parties independent from each other, the seller and the buyer.

Documentation when the buyer carries out or organises the transport

As the seller you need several types of documentation when the buyer carries out or organises the transport. You need a written statement from the buyer stating that the goods have been transported or dispatched by the buyer personally or by third party paid for by the buyer. The buyer should provide the written statement for the seller by no later than the 10th day of the month after the delivery.

The written statement should include:

  • date of issue of the statement
  • name of EU destination country
  • name and address of the buyer
  • quantity and type of goods
  • date and place of arrival of the goods
  • identification of the person to receive the goods on behalf of the buyer

If the goods are vehicles or other means of transport, the statement should also include the registration number of the means of transport being delivered.

Moreover, you need:

  1. Either at least two separate documents concerning the transport and dispatch of the goods confirming the transport or dispatch.
  2. Alternatively, you should have one document concerning the transport or dispatch and one of the other documents of proof confirming the transport or dispatch.

The two documents or the document and the proof may not contradict each other. Additionally, the documentation should be issued by two different parties independent from each other, the seller and the buyer.

If you do not want to apply the harmonised documentation requirements, please note that you will then have to apply the national rules of the EU country you are trading from. If, for example, you sell and dispatch goods from Denmark, you have to apply the Danish rules.

In Denmark, the person who collects the goods should provide the seller with supplementary information enabling the seller to identify the person collecting the goods at the time of handing over of the goods. This information could be a copy of a driving license or similar documentation. If the documentation includes a readable signature, the person should also sign (with a readable signature) for collecting the goods.