How do you recover VAT in France?

International Taxes

How do you recover VAT in France?

What are the conditions for securing a VAT refund in France?

A company established and subject to tax in the European Union which has incurred VAT on specific expenses in France can recover its VAT as long as it does not conduct any taxable operations in the country.
VAT is then deductible from its business expenses and it can recover a certain amount of the costs incurred in a commercial transaction.
The purpose of this article is to assist you with your administrative procedures, summarising the key elements of the VAT refund process in France.
This article is intended for companies established within the European Union but other third-party countries are required to appoint a tax representative to represent them in tax affairs in the country. The tax representative must be subject to VAT, established in France and accredited by the tax authority. 
Please contact us for further information or go to our page dedicated to VAT refunds for countries outside the European Union.

French VAT refund procedures

First, you must list expenses which may be refundable depending on your costs.
Below is a summary table of expenses that may be deductible, but please note that this is not an exhaustive list and certain categories may have specific provisos.

Hotel and accomodation NO
Meals YES
Invitation YES
Passenger transport NO
Car hire NO
Petrol NO
Diesel YES
Conferences and seminars YES
Training YES if VAT charged
Goods transport YES if VAT charged
Stand rental YES


You can also visit our page dedicated to the 12 techniques for becoming a VAT refund expert.

Pre-requisites for requesting a refund in France

First, be aware that the request must be submitted by 30th September of year n+1 which relates to your refund.
The request must be made using an electronic form available at the tax authority website of your country of origin.
Your dossier can be filed quarterly or annually. It is, however, important to ensure that your refund request complies with the following minimum thresholds:
400 euros or the equivalent in the national currency if the refund period is between three months and one calendar year; 50 euros if the period relates to a calendar year.

You may also consult the official document of the European Commission for further information on the procedure to follow to file your request with the French Tax Authority.

What supporting documents are required to claim your VAT refund?

You will then need to supply the documents needed to consider the claim: copies of invoices showing the VAT identification number or the tax number of the supplier, the VAT amount and/or all import documents when the tax levy base appearing on these documents is 1 000 euros or more or 250 euros for invoices for fuel expenses. You can attach these directly to your electronic file on the platform (maximum file size is 5 Mb).
Based on experience, ASD advises you to submit a complete and valid claim in order to ensure swifter processing and to avoid inconvenience during the procedure.

What is the French VAT refund period?

The member State then has 4 months to process your file with effect from the date of receipt of the electronic file. During this period, an applicant may be contacted to supply additional documents; in this event, the refund department will have another 2 months to process the claim. When the claim is approved, payment is then made within 10 working days.
If your request for a refund is rejected, you will be notified of the reason within 8 months of its receipt. Interest may then be paid in the event of a late refund. Be aware that it is always possible to appeal against a decision to refuse or partially reject a claim.  Generally, a period of 2 months is allowed for referring disputes to the administrative courts and 4 months for those not established in France.
However, it is advisable to avoid this type of situation by using the services of a tax agent or a tax representative who will be able to provide sound support in the steps you need to take. This solution is often used in the case of large amounts of deductible VAT or when the categories of expenses require in-depth analysis.
ASD is a tax firm specialising in the recovery of VAT. For further information on our services please visit our dedicated page or contact us via our contact form. We shall be delighted to assist you with your procedures and handle your refund requests. Be aware that we can recover your VAT, not only in France, but also in the 27 other member States of the European Union.

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For further information on how you can recover your VAT, please contact us via our contact form.

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