France looks to remove VAT fiscal representative requirements

Sun 27th Jan 2013

France is attempting to withdraw the requirement on non-European Union companies trading in France to appoint a VAT fiscal representative for recording and reporting on Value Added Tax.

EU VAT fiscal representatives being phased out

The obligation to appoint a French tax/fiscal representative is longstanding, and gave the French tax authorities some assurance that there local party who was answerable for correct French VAT collections.  The fiscal representative is potentially legally liable for the clients’ VAT reporting.

The fiscal representation requirement was dropped across Europe for EU resident companies.  However, some countries still maintain the requirement for non-EU businesses.  This includes France, Belgium, Spain, Italy and others.

French VAT compliance changes

In the latest Finance Bill, modifications to the French Tax Code have been made by the Senate that will eliminate the non-EU requirement where the country of the business has already signed a tax mutual co-operation agreement with France.  This would provide a mechanism for the French tax authorities to retrieve any outstanding VAT with the assistance of the company’s home tax authorities.

At present, this list includes Switzerland and much of Western Africa.

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