When do I need a French VAT number?
As a general rule, a foreign non-established business must register for VAT in France as soon as a taxable supply is made. The following are some usual examples of taxable transactions:
- Domestic supply of goods not reverse charged: A supply of goods located in France to a French customer where the supply is not subject to reverse charge requires a VAT registration of the supplier.
- Supply of services not reverse charged: Foreign non-established businesses supplying services on which French VAT is due must register for VAT. These services are rather exceptional, as the general B2B rule would apply.
- Import: Importing goods into France requires a VAT number before importation.
- Export: Exporting goods to a non-EU country requires a VAT number before the export is made.
- Intra-Community acquisition: Acquiring goods from another Member State where all conditions for intra-Community movements are met requires the customer to register for VAT.
- Intra-Community supply: Supplying goods another Member State is also a taxable transaction that obliges the supplier to register for VAT.
- Distance sales above the threshold also require a VAT number. See French distance sales rules for more information.
A voluntary registration is not possible in France. This is, companies cannot register if they have not made a taxable transaction.
A backdated registration is possible. See below backdated registrations and regularizations for more information.
There is no registration threshold for non-established companies in France. Any company without a PE that performs taxable transactions should register for VAT.