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France updates import VAT deferrment regime

New Administrative Guidelines for French import VAT deferment

Following a public consultation in 2023, the French tax office published new Administrative Guidelines for the use of its Deferred or Postponed VAT Accounting for importers.

Since January 2022 (see below) this has offered importers the opportunity to improve cash flows on their VAT obligations when importing goods into France from outside of the EU.

The new guidelines cover:

  • Use for occasional imports
  • Customs procedures and goods removals
  • Cases where a new French VAT number may not be required

Check our French VAT country guide.

Jan 2022: Simplified import VAT cashflow in France

From 1 January 2022, France will simply the reporting and cash management of VAT on imports of goods into France from outside of the EU. This includes easing of the criteria for using deferred VAT accounting (PVA) (already announced) and unification of the reporting. Plus reporting VAT through a standard VAT return so avoiding the payment of the import VAT. There is no change to customs rules. All importers will now need to be French VAT registered to comply with the new rules.

From 1 January 2022, importers will no longer have to preauthorise the use of PVA with  Direction Générale des Douanes et Droits Indirects (DGDDI). Instead, reporting will be with the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques (DGFiP).  This shift from customs to VAT reporting means no double notifications of the use of import VAT payment deferrals. Today, the requirements for the use of PVA are:

  • Must have completed at least four import operations in the EU Customs Union in the previous twelve months;
  • Maintain detailed customs and VAT records of imports;
  • No tax or customs infringements in the past twelve months; or
  • Be in good financial standing in past twelve months.

As a result, and as of this date, the above-mentioned conditions will no longer be necessary to benefit from the postponed accounting for VAT import in France, which will allow to collect and deduct simultaneously the import VAT on the VAT return, without cash advance and without any particular conditions or formalities.

Import VAT processed through VAT return

  • The import VAT due will be made available through a login portal on the 14th of the month following the import(s)
  • The import VAT will then be reported through a regular VAT return (and not at the point of import)
  • This means is may be deducted against output VAT for that month, and therefore effectively avoid the payment and reclaim process
  • The new deadline for the VAT return of importers will be 24th of the month (instead of the 19th)

VAT registration may now be required

What this does mean is that a French VAT registration is now required for this self-assessment of the import VAT. This applies to non-residents, too. For non-EU resident importers, they will have to appoint a Fiscal Representative.


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