Changes to import VAT in France come into effect January 1, 2022

  • Dec 2, 2021 | Alex Baulf

Changes to import VAT in France come into effect January 1, 2022

Use of the import VAT reverse charge will become compulsory in France with effect January 1, 2022. To administer this change, the management and collection of import VAT in France will be transferred from French Customs (DGDDI) to the French Tax Authority (DGFiP). 

From this date, the declaration and payment of import VAT will be made directly in the French VAT return declaration instead of the customs declaration i.e. as a reverse charge self-assessed by the taxpayer. The use of the reverse charge for import VAT will be compulsory for all businesses registered for VAT in France (including non-taxable persons who have an intra-community VAT number) and there will be no prior authorisation to use this postponed import VAT procedure required.

The reverse charge procedure allows businesses to self-assess and deduct import VAT simultaneously in the VAT return without physically paying cash at the border. For most businesses, this will produce a nil net effect and no physical payment required. The French VAT return form and procedure will evolve to include details of imports. Key points to note are:

  • The online VAT declaration will be pre-filled automatically with the amount of import VAT due (excluding the suspensive tax regime) based on the information previously declared to DGDDI on the customs declaration. 
  • The pre-filled VAT declaration will be available on the 14th of each month via the businesses’ online tax portal.
  • A web portal will be set up by French Customs (via to allow businesses to download monthly details of all imports into France. To download the data, the importing business will need its French VAT Number and its SIREN number.
  • The deadline for filing the VAT return will become the 24th of each month for all businesses liable for import VAT. 
  • Businesses will be responsible for verifying the pre-filled amounts, as well as completing the declaration of import VAT data not pre-filled automatically when a tax suspensive regime is used. Businesses should therefore ensure that they are in possession of the necessary data when validating the VAT declaration, especially if a registered customs representative is used. 
  • The pre-filled amount of VAT collected can be corrected where necessary. 
  • Businesses importing goods into France will need to communicate the French intra-community VAT number to their customs representative ahead of importation to ensure that the number is added to the customs declaration that is submitted to French Customs.
  • Where an importer does not have a French intra-community VAT number, it should contact the tax authority to obtain this number as it will be needed on all customs declarations. For businesses based outside the EU, a fiscal representative may be required to be appointed. 

Many EU countries now allow postponed import VAT accounting. The new French import VAT procedure appears very similar to UK Postponed VAT Accounting which started on January 1, 2021.

Get in touch to speak to one of our experts about becoming VAT registered.


Need a fiscal representative in France?

Non-EU businesses selling in France will need to appoint a fiscal representative alongside completing VAT registration and returns.
Fiscal representatives are responsible for the accurate VAT submissions of their non-EU clients.
Avalara offers a Fiscal Representative Service as part of its international VAT and GST Registration and Returns Service.

Need help with your French VAT compliance?

Researching French VAT legislation is the first step to understanding your VAT compliance needs. Avalara has a range of solutions that can help your business depending on where and how you trade. 

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Alex Baulf as Senior Director, Global Indirect Tax, Avalara
Senior Director, Global Indirect Tax
Alex Baulf
Alex Baulf as Senior Director, Global Indirect Tax, Avalara
Senior Director, Global Indirect Tax Alex Baulf
Alex leads on global indirect tax at Avalara, leading on engagement with policy and business leaders to develop a tax and compliance environment that will streamline and accelerate commerce for the overall growth of the economy. With over 16 years experience in global VAT and GST and international indirect tax consultancy, Alex has specialised in analysing changing VAT requirements and advising on impact assessment and change management across processes, data and technology.
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