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Miguel NICOLAS French VAT Basic Rules and Principles on French VAT

Basic Rules and Principles on French VAT

french VAT

French VAT rules are mainly included in the French Tax Code (Code général des impôts). French VAT rules are based on EU Law regulations. You are liable to VAT in France if your business meets the following criteria, the:

  • Supplies of goods or services or importing goods
  • Supplier of the goods, or service, or importing the goods is liable to VAT
  • Goods or services must be considered as an independent and usual economic activity

What are the VAT rates?

France has 4 VAT rates. The different rates based on the goods or services being provided. The standard rate is 20%. Then, there is a rate of 10%, 5.5%, and 2.1%.

The 2.1% rate

The 2.1% rate applies to the following:

  • medicines reimbursable by social security
  • sale of live animals for slaughter
  • first 140 performances of theaters or circuses
  • newspapers/magazines

The 5.5% rate

  • electricity
  • sporting event tickets
  • social housing
  • books
  • equipment and services for the elderly and the disabled
  • food gas
  • energy quality operations
  • works of art
  • cinema tickets

The 10% rate

The 10% rate applies to the following:

  • fast-food outlets
  • television services
  • restaurants
  • social housing construction
  • household work
  • passenger transport
  • farming industry
  • forestry industry
  • camping pitches rental

The 20% rate

The 20% rate applies to all other situations.

How to find French VAT number?

To get a French VAT number, you need to apply to the department of the french tax administration which is in charge of foreign companies.

Service des Impôts des Entreprises (SIE)
10, rue du Centre TSA 20011
F – 93465 NOISY LE GRAND Cedex
Phone: 0033 1 57 33 85 00
Fax: 0033 1 57 33 84 04

What are the VAT invoice requirements in France?

The invoices have to follow some obligations with regard to French VAT Law. The invoice has to be issued at the time of the taxable event. Furthermore, there is a legal obligation for the storage of the invoice. The storage has to be for 6 years. Some pieces of information are required on an invoice.

You need the following:

  • Name and address of the client
  • Date of issuance of the invoice
  • VAT Identification Number of the seller/service provider
  • VAT Identification Number of the customer for Intra-Community supplies or services
  • Bill number
  • Detailed information for each delivered good or service rendered
  • Discounts or rebates
  • The total amount, excluding taxes and amount of tax payable by a tax rate
  • In case of tax exemption, you must reference the legal text which provides this exemption

Finally, you need to add the words “auto liquidation” when the purchaser or customer is liable for VAT.

French VAT Compliance

France requires a number of things to be VAT compliant. First of all, there are some rules concerning the issuing of invoices. Concerning electronic invoices, it has to contain the proper signature, authenticity, and agreement by the recipient.

What are the French VAT registration thresholds?

For EU VAT registered companies selling goods through to consumers located in France, the registration threshold is 35.000 euros by year.

French VAT reverse charge Mechanism

The French reverse charge mechanism is permitted in some precise situations. That’s the case in particular in the following situations:

  • The supply of services to a French VAT registered business
  • Importing and selling goods to French companies with domestic VAT registration
  • Companies buying a property located in France from a company located outside France
  • A company that makes a delivery to itself
  • Company subject to VAT which imports into France
  • Subcontracting company of building works which

What are the French VAT returns period?

In France, there are different VAT returns periods. Returns can be on a monthly, quarterly, annual, or seasonal basis.

How do companies reclaim French VAT?

EU companies can reclaim under the 8th Directive. Non-EU companies can reclaim under the 13th Directive.

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