Identify VAT rate based on country using VLOOKUP

To identify a VAT rate based on a simple tax rate table, you can use the VLOOKUP function. For this example, we have used a Data Validation List to limit the input to EU countries.

Select VAT rate using VLOOKUP

Cell G4 contains the following formula:

How this formula works

The VLOOKUP function scans the first column of the table and identifies the input value (cell G3). Then it returns the value from the second column, in our case the VAT rate.

G3 – The drop down list with EU countries.
VAT_table – the VAT table containing cells A2:C29

Note: The VLOOKUP function has two matching modes: exact match and approximate match. This is the fourth argument in our function. In this case, we used the FALSE argument which means the VLOOKUP  function will look for the exact match when comparing our input to the country list.

This example can be applied to a wide range of real-life situations. I have recently used this approach to calculate and generate VAT invoices based on the buyer’s country (for EU electronic purchases) but you can expand this to any type of calculation where a criterion determines one of your calculation’s parameters.

If you have additional questions please let me know by posting a comment.

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My name is Radu Meghes, and I'm the owner of Over the past 15+ years, I have been using Microsoft Excel in my day-to-day job. I’ve worked as an investment and business analyst, and Excel has always been my most powerful weapon. Its flexibility and complexity make it a highly demanded skill for finance employees. I launched back in 2017, and it has become a trusted source for Excel tutorials for hundreds of thousands of people each year.

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    • Hi Serg,

      I’m glad I was able to help. This is the reason I’ve created the blog in the first place, to help people like you get better at Excel.

      All the best,

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