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Standard VAT rate: 19.6% (Apr 2000)

Reduced VAT rates: 7% books, pharmaceuticals, passenger transport, admission to cultural sporting and entertainment events, hotels, accommodation, restaurants

Reduced VAT rates: 5.5% medical, foodstuffs

Reduced VAT rates: 2.1% newspapers, pharmaceuticals

French VAT rate increase to 20% from January 2014

The French standard Value Added Tax rate will rise from 19.6% to 20% from 1 January 2014.  There will also be an increase in the reduced VAT rate from 7% to 10%.  The French super reduced VAT rate will be cut from 5.5% to 5.5%.

The VAT rise came as a surprise since the new Socialist government had promised at this summer’s French Presidential election to reverse Conservative plans for a VAT rise to 22.6%.  This had helped the Socialists secure the election win.

Should you register for French VAT?

There are a number of trading situations which typically require a foreign business to register with the French tax authorities. These follow the broad EU VAT rules, and include:

  • Importing goods into France if the customers is not a French company with a local VAT registration (reverse charge applies).
  • Buying and selling goods in France if the customer is not a French company with a local VAT registration (reverse charge applies).
  • Holding goods on consignment warehouse in France for longer than three months
  • Holding live exhibitions, events or training in France with paid admission.
  • Selling goods to French consumers via distance selling (internet, catalogues etc.)
  • The self supply of goods.
  • Certain leasing services.


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