French import VAT deferral and postponed import VAT accounting
Normally, import VAT is paid upon arrival of the goods. However, to compensate for the cash flow disadvantages of these rules, most countries allow simplification where this VAT is either paid at a later stage (so called "import VAT deferral allowance") or import VAT is reverse charged in the next VAT return of the business importing the goods. This system is usually referred as "postponed import VAT accounting". France has introduced both systems, postponed import VAT accounting and Import VAT deferral allowance.
Postponed import VAT accounting
Postponed accounting of import VAT is allowed in France since 2015. This system has been extended to all customs operators. In order to benefit from this simplification, an application must be sent to the French tax authorities.
Authorized Economic Operators will be deemed to comply with all four conditions applicable to benefit from this simplification, although a separate application is still required for these taxpayers. Non-EU companies will have to appoint a customs representative to benefit from this regime.
Import VAT deferral allowance
Import VAT deferral is also allowed. Payment of import VAT can be paid up to 30 days after the import was made (non-simplified custom clearance) or up to the 25th day of the month following the month in which the import was made (simplified customs clearance).