Validator for european countries VAT numbers for ActiveModel
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Use this plugin to validate VAT numbers for european countries as well as to get the tax rate depending on the country of the buyer.

Basic Usage

To validate a model field as a valid intracom VAT number :

validates :vat_number, :vat => true

It may be optional like this :

validates :vat_number, :vat => true, :allow_blank => true

If you want the VAT number's country to match another kind of country field, use the 'country_method' option :

validates :vat_number, :vat => { :country_method => :my_method }

where it is supposed that your model has a method named 'my_method' which returns the country ISO code you want to match. The available country codes available for Europa are: DE, AT, BE, BG, CY, DK, ES, EE, FI, FR, EL, HU, IE, IT, LV, LT, LU, MT, NL, PL, PT, GB, RO, SK, SI, SE and CZ.

Example :

class Invoice < ActiveRecord::Base
  validates :vat_number, :vat => { :country_method => :country_code }

  # Logic to return the country code
  def country_code
    case country.downcase
      when 'belgium' then 'BE'
      when 'france'  then 'FR'
      when 'sweden'  then 'SE'
      # ...
      else nil

Validating the Number at VIES

It's also possible to have the VAT number validated against Europa's VIES webservice. Simply use the :vies option like this :

validates :vat_number, :vat => { :vies => true }

Keep in mind that the webservice might be offline at some time for some countries. Check the VIES FAQ for more information about that.

Getting the tax rate

First set the country of the seller in your config/application.rb file

config.vta_applied_for = 'FR' # or 'BE', etc....

Note: by default, the value of the vta_applied_for option is set to 'FR'

Let's review the different cases for a seller in France:

  1. the seller is outside Europe

VatHelpers::Rate.get('US') # returns 0.0
  1. the buyer is in France

VatHelpers::Rate.get('FR') # returns 19.6
  1. the buyer is in Europe without a vat number

VatHelpers::Rate.get('BE') # returns 19.6
  1. the buyer is in Europe with a vat number

VatHelpers::Rate.get('BE', { :vat_number => 'a_valid_vat_number' }) # returns 0.0
  1. the buyer is in Martinique, Guadeloupe or la Réunion

VatHelpers::Rate.get('MQ') # returns 8.5
  1. the buyer is in French Guyana

VatHelpers::Rate.get('GF') # returns 0.0


In your project's Gemfile :

gem 'vat_helpers', :git => 'git://'


If you want to run the specs :

rake spec


This plugin in released under MIT license by Aurélien Malisart (see MIT-LICENSE file).

Enhanced by Didier Lafforgue (