Changes to French VAT Rules in 2022

french vat changes in france

There are significant changes to French VAT law being made on 1st January 2022

The management and collection of import VAT in France will be transferred from the French Customs (DGDDI) to the French Tax Authority (DGFiP).

From this date, the declaration and payment of import VAT will be made directly via the French VAT return declaration instead of at the time of entering the goods to Customs. The use of the reverse charge for import VAT will be compulsory for all businesses registered for VAT in France (including non-taxable persons who have an intra-community VAT number) and no prior authorisation will be required to use this postponed import VAT procedure.

This will mean that VAT will no longer be collected by the French Customs agent but be an automatic reverse charge on the French VAT return. This reverse charge mechanism is certainly very beneficial for businesses as it allows them to avoid heavy and costly pre-funding of import VAT.

However, all companies who act as the importer of record in France will have to obtain a valid VAT French number and file VAT declarations to be allowed to import goods into France and benefit from this system.


Companies who are eligible for the Import VAT deferment are:

– French companies. As they already have a French VAT number they will automatically benefit from Import VAT deferment,

– Companies from French overseas territories and regions (DROM). If they do not already have a valid French VAT number they will automatically be assigned one by the French Tax Authorities,

– Foreign companies, whether they are established or not in the EU. They will have the obligation to register for VAT in France.


How will it work?

The amount of VAT due on importation (auto-liquidated) will be pre-filled by the tax authorities on the VAT return in France on the 14th of each month. For this reason, it will not be possible to file the VAT return before this date (companies with imports are concerned). This amount must be verified and possibly corrected and then the VAT return must be filed no later than the 24th of each month (following the month of import). declaration. You need to do this no later than 175 calendar days after the goods are entered in your records or the date your goods arrived in GB whichever is sooner. For example, if you imported goods on 29 April 2021, you must submit your supplementary declaration before 21‌‌‌ ‌October‌‌‌ ‌2021.


Should your traders be concerned by the new rules?

They should be concerned if:

– They import goods into France and sell them domestically to French clients.

– They import goods into France and sell them to clients who are based in other EU Member States (except regime 42).

They do not have to be concerned if:

– They import goods under the appropriate customs regime through a limited tax representative.


What can traders do if they are not already registered for VAT in France?

– Get in touch as soon as possible with our team and apply for a French VAT number. For your guidance this process usually takes around 3 months.

– Discuss with a tax representative to see if they can act as a “limited tax representative” in France and the applicable tax regime available.

– Discuss with a French tax expert the relevant processes for registering for VAT in France and the relevant procedures for paying/reclaiming VAT in France and the record keeping requirements.


Get In Touch

If you have questions, would like support in preparing for the required processes or would like to speak to a member of our dedicated in-house customs team, please call 01268 243610 or email