Are you an Amazon, AliExpress, or overseas e-commerce seller thinking of selling or storing your products in France? It’s always an exciting time when your business starts to grow into new markets, but there are tax laws across the EU that you’ll need to consider, as they’ll affect your business and your bottom line.
If you sell goods online to customers residing in France, you may need to register for a non-resident VAT number. If you reside in the UK, you need to register for VAT with the French tax office when you reach the threshold of €35,000 in sales or if you use an Amazon fulfilment centre. France calls its VAT “Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée”, or TVA. If you don’t meet this threshold for goods sold in France, you’ll pay VAT in the UK (except in special circumstances). If you anticipate that your business will earn over €35,000 or you use drop shipment, you can register for a VAT number immediately — don’t forget you must charge VAT on all your products.
It’s essential that your business is VAT compliant, as penalties can be high and your Amazon or Alibaba account could be suspended for non-compliance. Understanding the tax laws of each EU member state can be daunting, but we will give you the steps you need to register for taxation in France. This process can be complicated and requires considerable language skills and knowledge of VAT compliance. If you reside in the EU, you can attempt to do the paperwork on your own, but if you live outside the EU, you’ll need a fiscal representative to file on your behalf.
Charging VAT on products
The percentage of VAT you should charge on your products in France depends on the kind of product you sell. The standard rate is 20%, but if you sell certain goods — such as foodstuffs, books, pharmaceutical products, accommodation or access to events — the VAT rate may be lower. Remember that you are being charged VAT along the supply chain, so keep this in mind when determining a final price for your products. If numbers make your head hurt, you can consult a EU VAT compliance expert, who will do all the number crunching for you.
To register in France, you’ll need to file paperwork for a SIRET number, which includes the Certificate of Registration from your home country, your current VAT number, information about your business and turnover, and the appropriate application. The requirements for EU-based companies and non-EU companies are different.
After submitting the application, the French tax administration office might contact you for additional documents. You’ll then receive your VAT number. This process will all be done in French, which is why it’s helpful to have a representative fluent in the language to help you.
VAT returns are done on a monthly basis, however, in cases of low annual revenue, this may be reduced to quarterly. You’ll need to be diligent in keeping track of all sales to French customers for your tax returns and you must file them in a timely manner — by the 19th of every month — to avoid penalties.
Selling products in other countries can be challenging, but we make it easy. We specialise in helping Amazon, AliExpress, eBay and other B2C online selling platforms be VAT compliant all across the EU. Our services include filing your tax returns in France — or wherever else you sell your products!
Request your free, 30-minute initial consultation to find out more about our services and how we can help. Our expert tax consultants will discuss your requirements with you and advise you on the best course of action to ensure your tax compliance abroad.