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VAT in France

VAT Guide for EU countries within Europe

VAT in France

Whether you’re a European or non-European company, establishing certain activities in France may mean you need to register for VAT. You can use a fiscal representative or tax advisor to draw up your VAT, Intrastat and ESL returns with total peace of mind in France.

If you deal with companies in France, you may be able to claim a French VAT refund.

Here you can find the specifics of VAT regulations in France, which work alongside the harmonised framework of the EU as explained in our guide to intra-Community VAT obligations.

Basic information

EU membership 1957
ISO code FR
VAT introduced in France 1954
VAT name in France Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (TVA)
VAT ID format in France FRXX 999999999
Territories with special status in France French overseas deparments: Reunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique- Mayotte: French overseas territories: New Caledonia, Polynesia, Wallis & Futuna, Saint Pierre & Miquelon.

VAT rates in France

Standard VAT rate 20 %
Reduced VAT rate (1) 10 %
Reduced VAT rate (2) 5.5%
Super reduced VAT rate 2,10 %
VAT parking rate n/a
Zero VAT rate no

Thresholds triggering VAT reporting obligations in France

Intrastat threshold at introduction 460 000 EUR
Intrastat threshold on dispatch 460 000 EUR
Distance selling threshold As of 1st July 2021, the threshold is EUR 10,000 for all intra-Community distance sales.

Reporting frequency in France

Intrastat declaration monthly depending on threshold
EC Sales List (ESL) declaration monthly according to threshold/conditions
VAT returns monthly depending on threshold, quarterly depending on threshold/for certain services
Reporting currency EUR

VAT-related penalties in France

Failure to file a VAT return Penalty of 10% on the amount of duty charged to the taxpayer, and late payment interest of 0.2% per month overdue. In the event of failure to file within 30 days of the formal notice, a penalty of 40% on the amount of duty payable by the taxpayer, and late payment interest of 0.2% per month overdue.
Late payment of VAT Penalty of 5% of the amount of VAT due for each month overdue, and interest of 0.2% for each month of overdue.
Failure to report ESL/DEB Penalty of EUR 750 per declaration. Penalty increased to EUR 1,500 if the return is not filed within 30 days of the formal notice.

Useful links on VAT in France

Tax Authorities in France Tax authorities
Ministry of Finance in France Ministry of Finance
Check a VAT number in France Check a VAT number
EU VAT Guide EU VAT Guide
France, a founding member of the European Union, the 2nd largest economy in Europe and the 7th largest economy in the world, enjoys a privileged position within Europe, thanks in particular to its two major coastlines and its land borders with other countries. This privileged geographical location makes France a hub for trade within the European Union.

VAT regulations in France are in line with the laws and directives issued by the European Union on Intra-Community VAT. French regulations are based on the Act of 10th April 1954, and its provisions are set out in Chapter One of Title II of the General Tax Code.

All taxable persons liable for VAT and similar taxes in France must register for VAT in France. Foreign operators are required to register in France as soon as they deliver goods or provide services.

The current VAT rates in France are as follows:

  • Standard VAT rate: 20 %
  • Reduced VAT rate (1): 10 %
  • Reduced VAT rate (2): 5.5%
  • Super reduced VAT rate: 2,10 %
  • VAT parking rate: n/a
  • Zero VAT rate no

Certain transactions in Europe may require registering for VAT and filingVAT returns in France:

To check if your activities involve VAT obligations in France, use our VAT simulator or contact us.

When do e-traders need to register for VAT in France?

In France just like in other European Union countries, e-traders must register for VAT:

  • when the overall threshold of EUR 10,000 for Intra-Community distance selling is exceeded and they have not opted to pay the VAT in France via the One Stop Shop,
  • or when they hold a stock of goods in France and must report the stock supply transactions.

What are the VAT obligations for e-traders in France ?

In addition to VAT registration, e-traders must:

  • Apply the defined VAT ratesin France: standard rate (20 %), reduced rates 1 and 2 (10 % and 5.5%).
  • Declare stock transfers between marketplaces‘ storage platforms, as well as the supply translactions for these stocks.
  • File periodic returns (VAT returns, intrastat, ESL), to ensure their VAT compliance in France.

> Learn more about the VAT & e-commerce regulations and the VAT regime for logistics platforms in Europe.

Why identify yourself to VAT in France?

You may need a VAT number in France to fulfil your tax obligations in this country. Indeed, certain activities such as sales, purchases and subcontracting operations may require VAT identification. To check if your activities require VAT identification in France, use our VAT simulator or contact us.

VAT French is named Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (TVA)and the VAT numbers in France have the following structure: FRXX 999999999.

How do I get a VAT number in France?

The administrations in charge of in France VAT are the following: Tax authorities, Ministry of Finance.

Registering for VATis a relatively simple formality compared to setting up a company, but in addition to obtaining a VAT number in Franceyou’ll need to file periodic VAT returns to ensure your VAT compliance. Which is why we recommend foreign companies use a fiscal representative or tax advisor.

Companies with a VAT number in France must complete and submit VAT returns in France detailing all taxable income (sales) and expenses (costs), with the following periodicity: monthly depending on threshold, quarterly depending on threshold/for certain services.

Failure to comply with the deadlines imposed by the French authorities for the deposit and payment of VAT will result in the payment of penalties . For this reason, it is recommended that foreign companies use the services of an agent or a tax representative.

These penalties are defined as follows in France:

  • Penalties for failure to file a VAT return in France: Penalty of 10% on the amount of duty charged to the taxpayer, and late payment interest of 0.2% per month overdue. In the event of failure to file within 30 days of the formal notice, a penalty of 40% on the amount of duty payable by the taxpayer, and late payment interest of 0.2% per month overdue.
  • Penalties for late payment of VAT in France: Penalty of 5% of the amount of VAT due for each month overdue, and interest of 0.2% for each month of overdue.

In addition to VAT returns, companies may be required to provide the French authorities with Intrastat & EC Sales List returns:

  • Intrastat returns enable the French authorities to compile foreign trade statistics.
    Companies must file these Intrastat returns as soon their turnover reaches the threshold.
    Intrastat threshold at introductio n in France (460 000 EUR HT/an)
    – Intrastat threshold on dispatch in France (460 000 EUR HT/an).
    Failure to comply with the deadlines imposed by the French authorities for the filing of these Intrastat returns wil incur a penalty payment for the company.
  • The sales summary returns (EC Sales List or ESL) or purchases (EC Purchases List or EPL) in France are for tax purposes.
    Failure to comply with the deadlines imposed by the French authorities for the filing of these ESL returns wil incur a penalty payment for the company.

In principle, a non-resident company in France can recover all or part of the VAT incurred on its expenses.

There are three different scenarios:

  • The company, whether it is established within the European Union or not, is already registered for VAT in France, or is obliged to register for VAT in France. In this case, it must apply for a VAT refund via the periodic VAT return filed in France, according to a periodicity:monthly depending on threshold, quarterly depending on threshold/for certain services.
  • The company is established within the European Union, is not registered for VAT in France and is not required to do so. In this case, a VAT refund should be requested via the tax authorities’ electronic portal in the country where the company is established.
  • The company is not established within the European Union and is not required to register for VAT in France. In this case, they must use the services of a fiscal representative to carry out what is required by the French authorities on their behalf.
    > Learn more about our VAT recovery services.


*This information is subject to change without notice.

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