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You are planning to organize next year a conference, a workshop, a congress in France where participants will pay an entry fee. Article 37 of Law of Finance No. 2019-1479 of 28 December 2019 for 2020 extended the application of the reduced rate of 10% of the value added tax (VAT) on certain cultural, recreational, educational or professional activities.

On 23 September 2020, the French Tax Authorities confirmed the precise scope of the new provision.

Article 279 of the General Tax Code (CGI) provided, in its previous version in force on December 31, 2019, for the application of the reduced rate of 10% limited to certain activities:

  • fairs, exhibitions, authorized exhibitions and fairground games and rides, with the exception of automatic devices other than those which are assimilated to fairground lotteries (CGI, art. 279, b bis);

  • botanical parks, museums, monuments, caves and cultural sites and exhibitions (CGI, art. 279, b ter);

  • parks with animated decorations illustrating a cultural theme (CGI, art. 279, b nonies).

These provisions are recast as part of a single larger system, introduced under section b nonies of article 279 of the CGI, according to which all the admission fees to exhibitions, sites and installations with a cultural, recreational, educational or professional purpose fall under the reduced rate of 10% VAT. This change makes it possible to include certain activities previously excluded (in particular water parks, plant mazes, escape games, conferences, discos, beaches).

This extension does not apply to services that do not constitute admission fees such as the rental or provision of equipment, materials or rooms, guide services or the organization of festive events. It does not apply either to access to sports facilities (including within outdoor and leisure centres), to automatic devices other than fairground lotteries (arcade games, video games, table football, etc.), establishments of lustful nature or gambling. Finally, the regime applicable to shows (cinema, theatre, races, sporting events, etc.) and zoos are not affected.

The rate change applies to transactions for which the taxable event occurs on or after 1 January 2020.

(Source: Bulletin Officiel des Finances Publiques, 23/09/2020)