Reverse charge of VAT on imports

Newsletter - March 2022

Since 1 January 2022, the management and collection of VAT applicable to imports and release of dutiable goods from bond, both taxed and untaxed, have been transferred from the Directorate General of Customs and Indirect Rights (DGDDI) to the Directorate General of Public Finance (DGFiP) for all taxpayers identified for VAT in France.


The regime in force until 31 December 2021

Until 31 December 2021, all economic operators could benefit from the reverse charge of VAT on imports provided they had an authorisation issued by the customs services (Article 1695, II of the General Tax Code).

Non-EU companies could also benefit from the reverse charge mechanism if they cleared the goods through customs with the help of a customs representative holding a valid “customs simplifications” Authorised Economic Operator authorisation.

The application for a reverse charge VAT authorisation had to be sent to one of the customs offices where the import declarations were lodged.


The regime as from 1 January 2018

As from 1 January 2022, the declaration, payment and, where applicable, deduction of VAT on imports and exits from suspensive arrangements are made directly on the VAT return and no longer through the customs declaration. Consequently, the reverse charge authorisation is abolished.

This mechanism of simultaneous declaration-payment on the VAT return becomes automatic and compulsory for any taxpayer identified for VAT in France without any prior authorisation. Consequently, regardless of their place of establishment companies which do not have a French intra-Community VAT number but which wish to carry out import operations in France must first apply to their company tax department (SIE) for a French intra-Community VAT number.

In order to make it easier for businesses, the online return will be pre-filled on the 14th of each month with the taxable amount and the amount of import VAT due for the previous month. This pre-filling is based on the data contained in the customs declarations for certain transactions subject to import VAT. In order to benefit from pre-filling, the VAT return should not be started before the 14th.

To this end, a dedicated notice relating to the VAT tax return has been made available to operators on the DGFiP website at the following link on the portal (Professionals / Managing my business / I declare and pay taxes for my business / Useful documentation / Import VAT).

In addition, to help taxpayers check the information pre-filled on the VAT return, the DGDDI has made available a dedicated space on the website, accessible through a personal account created on this portal. They will thus have access to a table which will include certain customs data from their customs declarations for a given reference period.

In the context of this reform, the attention of operators is drawn to the fact that the SIE or the Direction des grandes entreprises (DGE) becomes the interlocutor for this import tax, in the same way as for ordinary VAT and the other professional taxes managed by the DGFiP.

The monthly newsletter is distributed free of charge to the firm’s clients via email. This document is designed to provide information and may not reflect the most recent legal developments. Clients and readers should not take action or refrain from taking action on the basis of information contained in this newsletter without seeking professional advice.

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