Since the beginning of this year, the French Anti-Fraud Act 2020 is in force. Online marketplaces like Amazon need to verify the VAT status of foreign online sellers that are selling on their platforms in France.
Maximilian GamplLast Updated on
Marketplace Liability in France
With the introduction of this new law, many online sellers are asked to validate their VAT status if they want to continue selling on online marketplaces.
This shall tackle VAT fraud, make sure online sellers pay their VAT and with the marketplaces being liable for VAT fraud on their platforms, the providers make sure that all sellers have a valid VAT number.
Why these new changes?
The French Anti-Fraud Act 2020 is part of the Europe-wide developments in the taxation system and follows a trend in the e-commerce sector. Similar regulations can be expected all over Europe in the near future.
The aim is to ensure that all sellers are registered the way the should be and monetary losses for the government due to tax fraud can be avoided. Further, the tax authorities will notify the marketplace platform of any potential VAT fraud by an online seller.
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These new rules are similar to the latest changes in the UK, Italy and Germany, probably the most similarities can be seen with the German F22 VAT Certificate. More countries are most likely to follow and until 2022, all European member states shall have similar laws and regulations in this area.
What does Amazon need from sellers?
Some sellers might already have seen it: you need to verify your VAT ID in the seller central. So if you do not have a French VAT registration number already, make sure to get one soon and to take care of the follow-up work (like returns & filings) properly or reach out to us if you need some assistance.
Every seller concerned – not matter if he had to be registered in France or not – will need to provide a VAT number!
The SIRET number needs to be provided as well. It’s a 14 digit number identifier that is provided by the French authorities and is referring to your business location.
This 14-figure identifier is split into two parts:
- the SIREN code of the legal unit (last 9 digits of your French VAT ID)
- and the NIC (made up of a four-figure number attributed to the establishment and a control figure used to validate the SIRET number as a whole).
How do I find my SIRET?
To get your 14 digits SIRET code, simply validate your SIREN number here. Enter the last 9 digits of your French VAT ID and press “Valider”.
What happens if not providing a VAT ID?
If you were asked to provide a proof of your VAT registration, make sure to do so in time. Amazon closes accounts of sellers who don’t provide the required information. The deadline is 31.01.2020!
How to avoid getting blocked?
The answer to this question is rather simple: make sure to be registered properly – no matter if you legally have to be registered or not.
That means in case you are storing goods in France, your business is located there or you have reached the threshold limit for distance selling when selling to France (35.000€), you will need to have a French VAT ID anyways and then you can show it Amazon.
HOWEVER: even if you wouldn’t need to have a VAT number in France at the moment, if you want to continue selling there it will be mandatory. Amazon doesn’t know your tax duties and to make sure all French Amazon sellers are registered properly, every seller needs to provide a French VAT ID!
Make sure to get registered in time to avoid penalties. If you have any questions, just reach out to us.
I got a notification but I don’t have a French VAT ID
Amazon also got in touch with sellers who are “not yet” taxable in France according to European law. Usually, as mentioned before, storing in a country or reaching the threshold limit via distance selling within one calendar year lead to the need of having a valid VAT registration number.
Nevertheless, sellers who are selling in France and want continue to do so, have to get a VAT number anyways. Again, Amazon doesn’t know your VAT status and the marketplace operator needs to make sure.
What to do in this case?
If you need to provide your VAT ID without being legally obliged to have a VAT number, you need to do zero reporting. Here you also need to mention your French VAT number.
As having a VAT number means to have to file returns, you provide a zero return which means you fulfilled the duty of providing a VAT return in France on the one hand while still not having paid VAT (zero return) there.
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