French VAT registration

What are the French VAT registration thresholds?

For foreign businesses trading in France that are VAT/GST/Tax registered in their home state, the VAT registration threshold is nil.

For EU VAT-registered companies selling goods over the internet to consumers in France (distance selling), the VAT registration threshold is €35,000 per annum since January 2016.



Is a French fiscal representative or agent required?

In accordance with the EU VAT Directives, a local French fiscal representative or agent is not required by a company resident in another EU member state. However, a fiscal representative, who is jointly liable for the French VAT, is required for non-EU companies.

What information is required to get a French VAT number and registration?

The French tax office will require the appropriate forms to be completed and submitted with the following documentation:

  • VAT certificate to prove the business is registered for VAT elsewhere in the EU, if appropriate.
  • Articles of Association.
  • An extract from the company’s national trade register.

Where are French VAT registrations submitted?

Foreign companies registering for a French VAT number must submit their application with the Service des Impôts des Entreprises. This must be done within two weeks of the start of trading, or passing the VAT registration threshold.

There are no penalties for a delayed French VAT registration. However, there will be an interest charge on any VAT due.

What is the format of a French VAT number?

Once the French VAT registration has been given, which can take several weeks, a unique French VAT number is allocated to the company. All EU member states have a fixed format for their VAT numbers. In France, there are four formats, as follows:

French Number Format

Country Code FR
Format 12345678901 X1234567890 1X123456789 XX123456789
Characters 11 characters May include alphabetical characters (any except O or I) as first or second or first and second characters.

What next?

Once a business has its VAT number, it is free to commence trading, and charging French VAT. It must comply with the French VAT compliance rules, and file regular returns (see French VAT Returns briefing).

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. 

Latest French news

EU VAT and tax veto review

January 25, 2019

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. 

EU implements VAT generalised reverse charge

January 09, 2019

The EU VAT Directive has been updated from 1 January 2019 to introduce a voluntary generalised reverse charge measure on domestic transactions in member states.

EU e-book VAT rate cuts

December 28, 2018

Following agreement by EU member states to permit cutting the VAT rate on e-books and online journals to match the reduced/zero rating permitted on their paper-based equivalents, the following countries have already announced reductions...