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.
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The European Commission (EC) has proposed switching from unanimous to majority voting on EU VAT and other tax policies. The aim is to progress fiscal reforms which face immovable opposition from just a limited number of member states.
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