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As from 1 January 2017, reverse charge on import VAT will be allowed in the French VAT return, though only if a license is obtained from 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.
Normally, import VAT is paid upon arrival of the goods. However, to compensate for the cash flow disadvantages of these rules, most countries allow some kind of simplification where this VAT is either paid at a later stage (so called ´import VAT deferral allowance´) or 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´.
There is more information about import VAT simplifications in our country manuals.