French VAT recovery

It is not possible for EU businesses to recover their French VAT through their regular VAT return, so instead they rely on the 8th Directive VAT reclaims process. For non-EU businesses, they must use the 13th Directive process.

Claims may be submitted on a quarterly basis. In addition a fifth, final claim can be filed the following year.

How do EU companies reclaim French VAT?

Companies established in another EU country can reclaim any French VAT through the EU 8th Directive VAT system. The system for the reclaim of French VAT for companies from other EU companies was overhauled and simplified in 2010.

EU companies can now submit French VAT recovery applications through an online portal operated by their own national tax authority. This is then processed and submitted to the French tax authority who must refund the VAT directly to the company. The deadline for submissions is 30 September of the year following the year in which the invoice was raised.

How do non-EU companies reclaim French VAT?

Non-EU companies use a slightly different process for VAT recovery in France – the 13th VAT Directive. Non-EU companies must first ensure that there is a tax reciprocity agreement between France and their home territory. If not, then no France VAT may be reclaimed.

If there is reciprocity, the business can complete and submit a special form to the French tax authorities. This should generally be accompanied by supporting original invoices, plus a local tax certificate. French VAT reclaims must be submitted by 30 June of the year following the year in which the invoice was raised. If this deadline is missed, then the VAT is lost. They should be submitted to the Service de remboursement de la TVA aux assujettis etrangers.

What type of French VAT can be recovered?

Under the EU’s free market principles, foreign companies are permitted to reclaim the same VAT incurred as a resident French company.

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.