VAT registration in France

  • Last update: 23.02.2024
  • Published: 11.07.2023
  • Read in: 4 min

Having a comprehensive grasp of foreign tax procedures is essential for individuals engaged in providing services and selling goods subjected to VAT in another member state. This becomes even more critical when contemplating expansion into well-established markets like France, which has its own distinct and intricate tax regulations.

In the context of VAT in France (Value Added Tax), a misinterpretation or lack of understanding of these regulations can result in significant financial repercussions for businesses. Nevertheless, such consequences can be averted by taking the necessary measures, starting with the process of registering for VAT in France, obtaining French VAT number, and filing VAT returns in the country. This article will specifically focus on guiding readers through this initial step.

vat registration in France

In the following article you will find answers to the following questions:

  • What VAT rates are applicable in France?
  • When is VAT registration in France necessary for a foreign company?
  • How does the VAT registration process in France look like?
  • Where can register for VAT and conduct the French VAT registration process?
  • What is the French VAT authority?
  • What documents are required for French VAT registration?
  • Who can use help of a French fiscal representative and for whom a tax representative in France is a must?

VAT in France

The value-added tax in France is known as “taxe sur la valeur ajoutée” or TVA for short, and it was implemented in 1954. Moreover, the French VAT system includes a total of five different rates.

The standard VAT rate in France stands at 20%. Meanwhile, there are two reduced VAT rates of 10% and 5.5%, and even lower super reduced rates of 2.1% and 0%.

For detailed information on the products and services qualifying for reduced rates in France, you can refer to our article – VAT France 2023.

When is it necessary to register for VAT in France

When foreign companies are involved in the following business activity in France, they are obligated to obtain a French VAT number, pay VAT, and file French VAT returns:

  • Importing goods into France from outside the European Union.
  • Selling goods from France to another EU member state.
  • Purchasing and selling goods in France.
  • Warehousing goods in France.

It is crucial to emphasise that foreign businesses are required to fulfil their tax obligations in France when they sell goods and services to private customers from another EU member state and exceed the €10,000 CTSO limit.

The VAT registration process in France

Prior to the commencement of selling taxable goods and exceeding the mentioned CSTO limit in France, VAT registration and obtaining a French VAT number are essential. It’s crucial to consider that this limit also applies to the supply of services, which are subject to VAT in France.

On the other hand, VAT registration in France is carried out through the French tax authorities and must be done online.

The French tax office that foreign entrepreneurs can contact for various matters, including:

  • VAT registration in France,
  • filing of VAT returns,
  • refunding VAT in France,

… is known as the Direction des Résidents à l’Étranger et des Services Généraux (DRESG) Service des Impôts des Entreprises…. is known as the Direction des Résidents à l’Étranger et des Services Généraux (DRESG) Service des Impôts des Entreprises.

Do you need help with VAT registration in France?

Do you need help with VAT registration in France?

Entrust it to our VAT Compliance specialists, who will also help you with settlements, declarations or VAT OSS. Let us know what exactly you need!

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French tax office for VAT registration

If you wish to contact the French authorities from Direction des Résidents à l’Etranger et des Services Généraux, you can do so by post, addressing it to:

10 rue du Centre, TSA 20011, 93465 NOISY LE GRAND Cedex.

In addition, the office’s website is Accueil | impots.gouv.fr and the telephone number is +33 157 33 85 00.

Documents required to register for VAT in France

During the VAT registration process, prospective VAT taxpayers in France, in order to apply for a VAT registration, are required to submit a set of essential documents, which includes:

  • Identification,
  • An application form for VAT registration,
  • Confirmation of registration in the company register,
  • VAT certificate for EU VAT (European VAT ID number),
  • Proof of bank account ownership,
  • Articles of association,
  • Power of attorney in case of having a representative in France.

Notably, VAT registration in France mandates that businesses intending to become VAT payers in the country also provide a sworn translation into French of the confirmation of entry in the company register, along with an ordinary translation of the memorandum of association or articles.

Moreover, aside from the aforementioned documents, non EU companies (companies registered in non EU countries), in order to register for VAT and acquire French VAT number, must have a tax representative. This, however, does not apply to companies from European countries from within the European Union, for which having a French fiscal representative is optional.

French VAT returns

One should remember, that after French VAT registration and acquiring VAT number, they should submit VAT returns in that country and pay VAT due, both of which are strongly linked and implies the return period.

Monthly VAT returns and quarterly VAT returns

A monthly VAT return is default in France, but there is also a possibility to submit quarterly VAT declarations. However, to do so, one can not exceed EUR 4,000 of tax due in a calendar year.

Moreover, the deadline to pay VAT is the 19th day of the following month.

VAT registration France - Summary

VAT has been implemented in France since 1954, and businesses wishing to become VAT payers in the country must undergo the VAT registration process. This registration is conducted online, and if completed accurately, results in the issuance of a VAT number in France. With this number, businesses can file VAT returns in France and manage VAT settlements effectively.

During the VAT registration, the prospective VAT payer in France needs to submit necessary documents. It’s important to note that France has a sophisticated tax system with various compliance procedures that must be strictly followed to avoid penalties or fines.

Given the complexity, it is worth seeking advice from specialists or have them handle VAT-related matters before entering the French market. Whether you need support with VAT returns in other EU member states, obtaining a VAT number, VAT registrations, or VAT OSS. For personalized guidance on navigating France’s VAT system, feel invited to schedule a free consultation. Simply tell us what you need and our VAT Compliance specialists will ensure that everything proceeds smoothly and by the book.

If you wish to learn more, check out our articles about VAT registrations in: Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, or on some other topics:

Michał Doruch Michał od ponad 10 lat zajmuje się m.in. rozliczaniem, rejestracjami i składaniem deklaracji VAT w krajach Unii Europejskiej oraz Wielkiej Brytanii. To jednak nie wszystko! W bagażu swoich doświadczeń ma także kwestie związane z VAT OSS, raportowanie Intrastat i bezpośrednie wsparcie klientów. Z Taxology Michał jest związany od marca 2021 roku.