French VAT returns
Regular France VAT returns are required from non-resident traders with a VAT number. These are required to report taxable transactions in France, and to report any VAT due/refund from the tax payer. A form CA 3 is used.
How often are French VAT returns required?
The thresholds for VAT reporting periods in France are as follows:
- Monthly VAT returns – all VAT-registered entities will start with monthly filing unless they fall under the rules of a special scheme
- Quarterly VAT returns – Going forward if the annual VAT liability is under €4,000 then filing periods may be reduced
- No VAT return – for certain industries and activities, reporting can be on an activity-only basis
However, in practise the tax authorities will apply their judgement. For example, most conference organisers will be on a no-activity basis. The provision of services has lower VAT return thresholds.
What French VAT can be deducted?
Companies registered in France, and charging French VAT, may offset the VAT output on sales with the VAT suffered on French supplies. This includes VAT charged on the import of goods. Examples of VAT deductions include:
- Accommodation and travel for clients (employee expenses non-deductible)
- Business gifts below €60
- Import VAT
- VAT on the purchase of goods for resale
- VAT on capital expenditure
What are the deadlines for filing French VAT returns?
Any French monthly or quarterly VAT filing for a non-resident company is due on the 19th of the month following the period end..
Any French VAT due must be paid at the same time.
|Type of return||Frequency||Filing deadline||Document||Format|
|VAT return||Monthly||Between 15th to 24th of the month following the end of the tax period||Form 3310 CA3- SD and 3310 A-SD|
|Quarterly||Between 15th to 24th of the month following the end of the tax period||Form 3310 CA3- SD and 3310 A-SD|
|VAT return (Annex)||Monthly||Between 15th to 24th of the month following the end of the reporting period||3310 A-SD (Annex)|
|Quarterly||Between 15th to 24th of the month following the end of the reporting period||3310 A-SD (Annex)|
|EC listing||Monthly||By 10th working day of the month following the end of the tax period||CERFA_13964 (DES)||Fixed format|
|Intrastat||Monthly||By 10th working day of the month following the end of the tax period||CERFA_ 10838 (DEB)||Fixed format|
|VAT Group return||Monthly||Not later than the 24th of the month following the end of the tax period||3310-CA3G-SD|
|8th Directive||Annually||During the month of January following the calendar year in which the credit was booked||3519-SD||XML|
Where are French VAT returns filed?
When a company is first VAT registered, it is registered with the Paris tax office.
French VAT penalties
Penalties for late French returns and VAT payments are common. These range from 0.2% for errors, to 5% for late payments of VAT due. Further fines for continual delays can ramp up to 80%.
How are French VAT credits recovered?
If there is a surplus of VAT inputs over outputs (more VAT incurred than charged), then a French VAT credit arises. This is generally rolled over to the following month for offset against any output VAT due. It is possible to apply for a French VAT credit by completing submitting a form with supporting invoices.
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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