Your company has activities in France and you want to know whether or not you need to apply for a French VAT number?
There are two situations to consider:
A. VAT registration for customs purposes:
In the following cases, registration for VAT in France is only necessary to be able to carry out customs operations (use of the VAT number and subscription of possible declarations of exchange of goods). These operations alone do not require the submission of VAT declarations (form CA3):
- Intra-Community acquisitions of goods made in France;
- Intra-Community deliveries of goods deemed to be transfers of stocks. In this case, the foreign company remains the owner of the goods shipped from France to another EU Member State.
B. VAT registration requiring the filing of a VAT return:
VAT declarations (form CA3) are required for the following operations from France:
- Domestic transactions (supply of goods or services) for which no reverse charge is applicable. This applies in particular to domestic transactions invoiced to individuals or companies not registered for VAT purposes in France;
- Intra-Community delivery of goods from France (physical transfer of the goods to another Member State and change of ownership);
- Export of goods from France;
- Reverse charge of VAT on imports (if the option has been implemented) ;
- Reverse charge of VAT on purchases of goods or services from a taxable person not established in France, where the business is already registered for VAT in France for customs purposes;
- Reverse charge of VAT on subcontracting, in the context of building and public works services;
- Rental of a bare building for commercial use (subject to French VAT if the option is exercised) .
The advice of a VAT expert?
Companies established in another Member State of the European Union and certain countries outside the European Union are not obliged to appoint a tax representative in France. To facilitate your relations with the French administration, you can nevertheless appoint an agent or proxyholder who will carry out the formalities on your behalf under your responsibility.
Our advice ? If your knowledge of the French language is incomplete and/or if you have never been confronted with a French civil servant during your life, then do not hesitate: appointing a professional agent is undoubtedly the safest option for managing your company's VAT obligations in France.