A blog about local and foreign VAT matters, best practices, and tips from practioners.

Earlier this summer, the Board of the International VAT Association met with the French Tax Authorities to discuss the increasing delay for businesses to obtain VAT registration in France and the backlog of VAT refunds for registered companies.

The average time to obtain registration in France has doubled from 4 to 8 weeks. One of the main reasons for this delay is the reorganisation of the non-resident department of the French Tax Authority which is responsible for registering companies not established in France for VAT.

Other aspects leading to the delay were discussed such as technical difficulties with the IT system, the rise in the number of VAT registration requests and the fact that a lot of the applications are not accurately completed.

As a measure to speed up the VAT registration request in France, the French Tax Authority will no longer grant retroactive registrations. The regularization of the period prior to registration will be done manually and can be penalized. However, the French Tax Authority will be granting requests for VAT registration up to two months prior to the effective start of the business in France.

The  backlog of refunding VAT credits to registered businesses is mainly due to the unit in charge being currently understaffed. The refunding process undergoes an in-depth review and a systematic request for additional information is made, primarily for the first refund claim. Thus, the more thorough and detailed the claim, the faster it can be refunded.


How to effectively complete a VAT registration request in France

  • Complete the VAT registration request online using the pdf form, it should not be handwritten. You can register for VAT here.
  • Attach an abstract of the by-laws of your company which should include full name of the company name, the legal address, legal form, business activity and more.
  • Clearly explain the activity of the company, the NACE code and the nature of the goods produced/traded by the company.
  • If you have a storage facility in France, state the location.
  • If you are an e-seller, give the name(s) of the website(s) to be used.
  • Even if an agent is involved, give the email address of the company.