When do I need a French VAT number as an entrepreneur?
If you want to sell through amazon.fr, you may need a French VAT number for three reasons:
- You are selling directly in France while your stock is stored in the UK. The distance selling thresholds are no longer applicable (e.g., amazon.fr). From July 1, 2021, you can use the non-union OSS instead of registering a VAT number in France.
- You use Amazon FBA (amazon.fr) or you have your stock with another party in France. From there you sell to customers in France or other countries.
- You export products from France to other European customers and want to make use of the EU’s Mini One-Stop-Shop (MOSS) after July 1st 2021.
DISTANCE SELLING THRESHOLDS – NO LONGER APPLICABLE
If you are selling and shipping your products from the UK to customers in other countries, you had to pay attention to the long distance thresholds. These thresholds have been determined for every EU country, meaning that from a certain revenue amount onwards you had to pay VAT on all products sold in that country. For France, that threshold was €35,000 per year.
Since Brexit, the distance selling thresholds are no longer applicable. You must register in an EU-country immediately when having sales over there.
UPDATE JULY 1ST 2021: MOSS
In July 2021, all threshold amounts in Europe will be abolished and are to be replaced with one general threshold of €10,000. So if you, as a British company, have stock in France of which you sell more than €10.000 to EU customers outside France, you will have to declare the VAT via MOSS (also knows as OSS). You will then combine all countries sold to in one declaration. So if you sold to German customers at 19% VAT, Dutch customers at 21% VAT and Swedish customers at 25% VAT, that will need to be defined and shown in one single MOSS declaration.
If you are using Amazon FBA, you are practically selling from France. Your stock is stored at Amazon in France, from which it is shipped to your customers. That is the reason are obligated to pay VAT in France. This also applies if you are shipping your products from France to customers in the UK: French VAT applies.
As soon as you meet any of the above conditions, you are obligated to register with the French tax authorities.
Long distance sales from the UK
Amazon FBA from France to customers inside and outside of France
What happens if I do not have a French VAT number?
Since January 31, 2020, Amazon requires you to use a French VAT number. If you don’t have a French VAT number, Amazon will kindly ask you to retrieve your inventory within 30 days. If you fail to comply, it will be destroyed.
That was the risk for many entrepreneurs at the beginning of this year. At the moment it will not be possible to ship and store inventory at Amazon in France without a valid registration.
Will I be ready to do further business in France after my registration?
Not quite. As soon as you register with the French tax authorities, you will be subject to VAT. This means you have to file VAT returns in France. You, or your tax advisor, can file monthly VAT returns. There is no need to submit yearly returns as well.
Do I need a tax representative in France?
Companies based in the EU who wish to register in France are not required to appoint a tax representative in France. This is also the case after the Brexit for British entrepreneurs. You will be able to do your own VAT registration and tax return in France.
However, due to the complex tax rules, it is useful to appoint a VAT specialist who acts as a tax representative for you and fulfills the formalities for VAT registration and tax and Intrastat returns. We can take these care away from you.
Can I apply for just a French VAT number with your help?
Yes, we can help you with a one-time VAT number registration. This will cost £225. Beside the registration, we will make sure that you are ready to go to do your own VAT returns.
WHY WOULD I REQUEST A VAT NUMBER THROUGH YOU?
Nearly all entrepreneurs we are in contact with prefer to focus on the core of developing their business. Requesting VAT numbers usually does not fall in this category. We often hear that the requirements of the request are unclear and it costs entrepreneurs a lot more time and money to figure it out than it provides.
We offer you a carefree option to file the request with the French tax authorities regardless of whether you are looking to sell through Amazon or you have a different situation for which you need a reliable French VAT service. Our geographic location and French language knowledge provides us with a good relationship with the French tax authorities.
What is needed to apply for a French VAT number?
Among other things, you need:
- Chamber of Commerce Excerpt
- VAT number from the United Kingdom
- Articles of Association
- Standard personal and company information, such as name, address, contact information, etc.
What are the costs of your Complete VAT service in France?
The cost is as follows: complete tax service (including VAT returns) costs £ 50 p/m and the one-time VAT number registration costs is £ 225. This includes the mandatory translation of Articles of Association into French.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO APPLY FOR A FRENCH VAT NUMBER?
It usually takes about 8-12 weeks to register the VAT number, but sometimes it takes even longer. Unfortunately, it also happens that this takes longer than desired, in which case we will contact the French tax authorities to speed up the application.
As a starting seller on Amazon, I was new to the world of e-commerce. At first, the fiscal side of it seemed like a huge fuss. Then I found Amazonsellers. Then it all started to make sense thanks to the expertise of the team which goes beyond knowledge on the VAT system, but also e-commerce in general. Thanks to the quick service and personal contact I would definitely recommend them.
Amazonsellers has helped us request a German VAT number for our Amazon business in a very professional fashion. The Amazonsellers team responded quickly and expertly to our questions. Are you looking for a company that can help you with your international Amazon ambitions? Then Amazonsellers is the place to be.