The right digits in the right order?

Testing a UK VAT registration number (‘VRN’) shown on an invoice for validity can be important, particularly if there is a risk of fraud or if a self-billing system operates (VATA 1994, s. 6(9)).

VRNs are also known as DTR (Departmental Trader Register) numbers or TURNs (Trader's Unique Reference Numbers).

Bogus VAT registration numbers are sometimes shown on an invoice by a VAT evader who charges VAT, but is unregistered and fails to account for the VAT to HMRC. Unless HMRC allow Extra-statutory Concession 3.9 in Notice 48 (2017 edn), the payer cannot recover the VAT and should have tested the registration number as explained below.

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