Here’s everything you need to know about French VAT registration, Returns, Tax Representation and your legal obligations within France.

Looking to sell goods into France?

In France

In France you need to register for VAT if:

  • You store goods In France
  • You sell them to consumers based in France; and
  • Your sales exceed France domestic VAT threshold of €82,200.

You may also need to register for VAT separately in other EU countries if:

  • You sell goods to consumers in other EU countries.

In a different EU Country

You need to register for VAT in France if:

  • You store your goods in France or
  • You sell to French-based consumers (non-business); and
  • Your sales exceed France distance selling VAT threshold of €35,000

Outside the EU

You need to register for VAT in France if:

  • You sell goods that you store in an EU country to customers based in the EU.

You may also need to register for VAT separately in other EU countries if:

  • You sell goods to consumers in other EU countries.

Types of French VAT


Rate Type
20% Standard
10% Reduced
5.5% Reduced
2.1% Reduced
0% Zero

Registering for French VAT

If a company is not established in France and is providing ‘taxable supplies’ of goods or services in France, it may have to obtain a non-resident VAT Number. In accordance with the EU VAT Directive, foreign traders are legally obligated to register for VAT in certain circumstances in order to report taxable transactions and declare VAT that must be charged.

It is important that all businesses with any commercial activity in France register before commencing taxable transactions if applicable.

You will need to register for VAT in France if you meet any of the following criteria;

  • If you are Importing goods into France from outside the European Union
  • Organising events in France where attendees or delegates must pay admission
  • Selling goods from France which are delivered to customers outside of France (business or private customers)
  • Buying and selling goods in France (excluding domestic reverse charge)
  • Acquiring goods in France from another EU country (Intra-community acquisitions)
  • Holding inventory in France for sale, distribution or consignment
  • Organising events in France where attendees or delegates must pay admission
  • E-commerce sales of goods to consumers, subject to Distance Selling VAT registration thresholds

What are the French VAT Thresholds?

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

French Vat Reporting

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.

VAT Returns

  • 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

Any monthly or quarterly French VAT filing for a non-resident company is due on the 19th of the month following the period end.

Fiscal Representation

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.

At Verico as part of your French VAT Registration with us we will become your Fiscal Representative in France and communicate to the French VAT Authorities on your behalf and also complete your VAT returns so you work within the law. This leaves you to focus on selling your goods.

French VAT Rates

  • 20% Standard All other taxable goods and services.
  • 10% Reduced Some foodstuffs; certain non-alcoholic beverages; some pharmaceutical products; domestic passenger transport; intra-community and international road (some exceptions) and inland waterways transport; admission to some cultural services; admission to amusement parks (with cultural aspect); pay/cable TV; some renovation and repairs of private dwellings; some cleaning in private households; some agricultural supplies; hotel accommodation; restaurants (excluding alcoholic beverages); some domestic waste collection; certain domestic care services; firewood; take away food; bars, cafes and nightclubs (except supply of alcoholic beverages); cut flowers and plants for decorative use; writers and composers etc; some social housing.
  • 5.5% Reduced Some foodstuffs; some non-alcoholic beverages; school canteens; water supplies, medical equipment for disabled persons; books (excluding those with pornographic or violent content); some e-books; admission to certain cultural events; some social housing; some renovation and repair of private dwellings; admission to sports events; some domestic care services; cut flowers and plants for food production.
  • 2.1% Reduced Some pharmaceutical products; some newspapers and periodicals; public television licence fees; admission to certain cultural events; some livestock intended for use as foodstuff.
  • 0% Zero Intra-community and international transport (excluding road and inland waterways).

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VAT Registration & Filings

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VAT Registration & Filings

Unlock your sales potential with our bespoke VAT registration and filings services. Our team is ready to identify your VAT obligations allowing your business to expand across the world with a dedicated team beside you.

Leave the complexities to us, our professional team provide a seamlessly fast registration service and help you keep on top of the various filing deadlines so you can keep on top of what matters most.

Import/one stop shop

The two simplification schemes allow for both EU and non-EU businesses to lower the cost of VAT compliance and report multiple transactions using only one registration.

Enrolling in the schemes allows businesses to charge the correct VAT rate of each European country without the need to register for VAT in every member state.

The One Stop Shop and Import One Stop shop have set requirements for businesses to follow to stay compliant, find out more in our service guides.

fiscal representation

When a non-European business trades with the EU, some member states impose the need for a fiscal representative to be appointed for registration, filing, imports or VAT reclaims depending on the various EU rules.

VAT Digital is a recognised and certified European Fiscal Representative allowing for our non-EU clients to trade freely with the EU. This enables a lot of benefits for businesses when registering and importing goods to the European Union.

VAT refunds

Selling internationally can be very profitable but also increase the burden of expenditure for businesses. VAT expenses on goods, services and other operations outside of your home country can be difficult to recover due to the lack of registration or non-compliance.

VAT Digitals specialist team can help identify where VAT can be recovered and process a reclaim to ensure your business is maximizing its profits.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a number of business documents required for VAT registration in France. These include but are not limited to; Photo ID, Incorporation Certificate, Articles of Association, Bank Statement, Local Country VAT Certificate, Registration Documents as well as a Power of attorney with your local tax agent in France.

Throughout the registration process the SIEE may request for additional documents and information.

Every business or application is seen differently by the tax administration and taken on it’s own merit which means the time to receive your VAT number differs per registration. This can normally range from anywhere between 6-12 weeks.

You should have applied for registration when you were close to the threshold or when you knew you were going to store goods, but in this scenario you will need to back date the returns to the date you surpassed the threshold and pay the VAT owed.

Fiscal representation is only required by businesses looking to register for VAT in France where their head office is located outside of the European Union

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