French VAT refunds
Where the total input VAT exceeds the total output VAT for a given VAT return period, the company is in a refund position and can carry forward the VAT credit to the next period or, if the conditions are met, request a refund from the French tax authorities.
VAT refunds can be requested on a monthly or quarterly basis when the total reimbursable amount exceeds €760. Refunds would be requested on an annual basis if the total reimbursable amount in the year exceeds €150. Otherwise, the VAT credit will be carried forward to the next period.
There is no special scheme for frequent exporters in France (abolished in 2014).
In France, the refund is requested by submitting an additional form. The form 3519 must be completed and submitted electronically. The bank certificate, VAT ledgers, invoice copies and authorization to sign this form on behalf of the company are no longer required to be submitted together with the first Form 3519.
It normally takes up to 6 months from the moment the request is submitted to receive the VAT refund. This period can be extended for 3 additional months by the tax authorities, in which case the taxpayer would be informed in writing before the six-month period expires. The authorities may always request additional information, particularly where it is the first refund requested or there is a significant deviation from the previous VAT position of the company.
Should the refund not be received within the expected period, the business can initiate an application called "Référé provision" which demands a faster refund through a domestic administrative court of justice. In most cases, however, it is sufficient with a regular follow up with the tax authorities.