Corporate Identifiers & Tax Codes

To make life (a little more) difficult, companies are increasingly required to keep records of all counterparties and report these details to tax and auditing authorities. However, there are no global, uniform registration numbers – not even formats – and not all countries issue all the codes requested – or if they do, do not make these available for 3rd party online checking. Below we have listed some of the more important – and easily accessible – types of corporate codes.

Company Identification Numbers

There are a number of commercial organisations which provide Company Identification Numbers – and cross-reference their own numbers with others (such as company registration and relevant tax numbers) e.g.:

Company Registration Numbers

As part of your Know Your Client procedures, you should keep a record of the company registration number of your counterparties (to ensure that there is no confusion as to their identity). In each Country Profile – Commercial Contacts you will find the national Company Register which should be the first check point for a company’s registration number and details.

Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs)

The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) is a 20-digit, alpha-numeric code based on the ISO 17442 standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It connects to key reference information that enables clear and unique identification of legal entities participating in financial transactions. See

Tax Codes

The tax codes of your clients are often required for reporting purposes (especially VAT numbers in the European Union). In order to avoid problems from reporting invalid numbers, it is important to check the numbers that are provided to you by your counterparties. (Failure to check an EU VAT number is valid will invalidate the tax invoice and you may become liable for any VAT on the transaction.)

To check VAT European Numbers, see this free service offered by the European Union:

Tax Identification Numbers (TIN)

See also Country Profiles – Commercial Contacts: Tax Identification Numbers Registry for national TIN Authorities.

Most EU countries use Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) to identify taxpayers (both individuals and entities) and facilitate the administration of their national tax affairs. TINs are also useful for identifying taxpayers who invest in other EU countries and are more reliable than other identifiers such as name and address.

Financial institutions have to record the name and address of their account holders and, if there is one, the Tax Identification Number allocated by the EU country of residence for tax purposes. They must report the TIN, together with other personal and income details every year to the tax authorities of the country where they are established as part of their obligations under the EU Savings Directive.

TIN specifications (structure, syntax, etc.) are set by the national authorities. Some countries even have a different TIN structure for different categories of individuals (e.g. nationals and foreign residents).

In order to facilitate the work of all stakeholders, the European Commission has launched a cooperative project whereby information about TINs that Member States choose to publish is available in one single Internet page including: