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French VAT Compliance – Rates & Registration

If a company not established in France is providing ‘taxable supplies’ of goods or services in France, it may have to obtain a non-resident VAT registration. In accordance with the EU VAT Directive, foreign traders are legally obligated to register for VAT in certain circumstances in order to report taxable transactions and declare VAT that must be charged.

It is important that all businesses with any commercial activity in France assess their compliance obligations and register prior to commencing taxable transactions if applicable.

What you need to know

There are various scenarios that would trigger an obligation to register for VAT in France. Some of the most common examples are:

  • Importing goods into France from outside the European Union.
  • Buying and selling goods in France (excluding domestic reverse charge).
  • Selling goods from France which are delivered to customers outside of France (business or private customers).
  • Acquiring goods in France from another EU country (Intra-community acquisitions).
  • Holding inventory in France for sale, distribution or consignment.
  • E-commerce sales of goods to consumers, subject to Distance Selling VAT registration thresholds.
  • Organising events in France where attendees or delegates must pay admission.

If you are currently, or plan to conduct any of the above (or similar) transactions in France, you should contact us immediately for a complimentary consultation.

French VAT Rates, Number Formats & Thresholds

VAT Rates VAT Number Format Distance Selling Threshold Intrastat Threshold
20% (Standard) FR12345678901 € 35,000 € 460,000 (Arrivals)
5/10% (Reduced) € 460,000 (Dispatches)
VAT return periods

Monthly or quarterly depending on turnover

Annual returns


EC Sales Lists frequency

Monthly (EC Sales list is merged into the intrastat dispatch report known as DEB)

EC purchase lists


Other reporting requirements


Extended reverse charge

France applies an extended reverse charge that applies to a wide range of goods and services. Please contact us if you would like details of how the extended reverse charge applies in France.

Fiscal Representation

A business established in a country outside the EU must appoint a tax representative to register for VAT in France.

Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

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