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
  • Advertising
  • 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.

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 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

France budget marketplace VAT obligations

Oct 8, 2019 

The draft French budget, published on 26 September, for 2020 has proposed a range of measure to fight e-commerce VAT fraud. The 2020 measures impose obligations on fulfilment houses and facilitating

France marketplace seller VAT reporting obligations

Sep 1, 2019

France has proposed expanding the marketplace third-party seller reporting requirements. This would include determining sellers' foreign VAT registration status and obligation to charge French VAT

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.