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VAT Registration

All persons liable for VAT in France must be registered for VAT. Foreign traders are required to register in France as soon as they deliver goods or provide services there, either directly or through a permanent establishment, for which they must pay VAT in France:

  • EU companies should register directly with the tax office for foreign companies (art. 286 ter of CGI). They can, however, appoint an agent to act on their behalf, nevertheless they alone remain liable for the tax. An occasional VAT proxyholder ("mandataire ponctuel") can also be appointed under conditions.

 

  • Non-EU companies should be registered with a individual VAT representative. The tax representative undertakes to complete the formalities required of the person who as appointed him (making the statement of establishment, book-keeping, signing turnover returns and paying the tax). The tax representative is legally responsible for meeting his obligations and legally liable for the tax owed. The tax representative has the same rights as all other taxable person. France however introduced an exemption to the above fiscal representative obligation for some non-EU countries.

Invoicing

Information required in all cases

  • Date of issue
  • Unique sequential number identifying the invoice
  • Customer’s VAT identification number (if the customer is liable for the tax on the transaction)
  • Supplier’s full name & address
  • Customer’s full name & address
  • Description of quantity & type of goods supplied or type & extent of services rendered
  • Date of transaction or payment (if different from invoice date)
  • VAT rate applied
  • VAT amount payable
  • Breakdown of VAT amount payable by VAT rate or exemption
  • Unit price of goods or services – exclusive of tax, discounts or rebates (unless included in the unit price)

 

Extra information required in some cases

  • Exempt transactions – a reference to the appropriate (EU or national) legislation exempting it, or any other reference indicating it is exempt (at the choice of the supplier).
    Customer liable for the tax (i.e. under the reverse-charge procedure) – the words ‘Reverse charge’.
  • Intra-EU supply of a new means of transport – the details specified in Article 2(2)(b) of the VAT Directive (e.g. for a car, its age and mileage).
  • A margin scheme applies – a reference to the particular scheme involved (e.g. ‘Margin scheme — travel agents’).
  • Self-billing (customer issues invoice instead of supplier) – the words ‘Self-billing’.
  • Person liable for tax is a tax representative – their VAT identification number, full name and address.
  • Supplier is operating a cash-accounting system – the words ‘Cash accounting’).

 

Electronic invoices

As from January 01, 2020, the transmission of invoices in dematerialized form on the Chorus Pro portal becomes mandatory for very small companies (less than 10 employees) supplying to the public sector (State, local authorities, hospitals, public institutions, etc.). This provision has been in force since last January for small and medium-sized companies (10 to 250 employees), since 2018 for mid-cap companies (250 to 5,000 employees) and since 2017 for companies with more than 5,000 employees. The Finance Law of 2020 (article 153) introduces the obligation to issue electronic invoices for B2B transactions. This measure will come into force between 2023 and 2025 depending on the sectors and the size of the businesses.