French consignment and call off stock

Holding stock in France may require a foreign company with no permanent establishment (local company, staff, offices etc.) in France to register for French VAT to report the local sales and intra-community movement of stocks.

French VAT stock simplification

For EU VAT compliance purposes, there are two types of stock regimes.  Below is a summary of how they are applied in France:

French Call Off Stock.

Where goods are held under the full control of a single French customer (although legal title has not fully passed till the goods are retrieved) there is a simplification exemption which means there is no requirement to French VAT register the foreign company.  This is known as Call Off Stock.

French Consignment Stock

Where goods are held in a warehouse for multiple customers, and remain under the control of the foreign company, the obligation to French VAT register was removed in 2007.  Instead, the customer can record the VAT transaction under the VAT domestic reverse charge mechanism.

The customer would need to have a French VAT registration to apply this.One key requirement to the French Consignment Stock exemption is that the goods are sold within 3 months of their arrival into France.  In addition, it is possible for the foreign company to French VAT register with the written agreement of its customer.

Note, if the goods are coming from outside the EU, they are an import (as opposed to an intra-community supply), and a registration may be required on this basis alone.

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.