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Procedures to obtain a VAT refund

Time limits
In order to enhance VAT reclaiming process, in any case one must file the VAT refund claim before June 30th of the calendar year following the one throughout which the VAT claimed back was computable. No extension of this time limit is allowable and late claims will be rejected.
You may file your request before this date in order to speed up the processing of your request. The quarterly refund request may be submitted for the period of the month following the quarter for which a refund is requested. No refund is possible for quarterly request under € 200 and annual request under € 25

Application forms
Refund application should be made by the application form No. 3559 in French & in Euros issued by the French Tax Authorities. The application should be filled up in block capitals. For smooth progression of the processing, provide information (name, phone number and email address) of a person for further contact by the tax authorities. Blank application forms are available from the Non-Residents tax centre or through the internet.

The application must be signed by a person who is legally entrusted to handle the activities of the company (managing director). Otherwise a authorization letter shhould be provided.

Every single original invoice should be attached with the application form. These invoices will be returned back via mail once the refund process is completed.
Enclose an original certification of VAT liability delivered by the tax administration of your country of origin including an original stamp dating less than one year

Supporting documentation
When a business initially applies for a VAT refund in France it will receive a special registration number. The business must use this number every time it files an application for VAT refund. The registration number is strictly a VAT refund number. It is not a French VAT number.

The following documents must be submitted with each application:

♦  original invoices, import documents, bills, vouchers, receipts or customs clearance forms (copies are not accepted);
♦  an original certificate of VAT status, since the claimant must prove that he is registered for VAT purposes in his country of establishment. The certificate may not be older than one year. Although, the validity of the statement is extended to three years, provided that the intracommunity identification number is entered in box 3 of the application form (form n° 3559) of the first VAT refund claim;
♦  if a VAT agent is appointed which is entitled to cash-in the refunded VAT, specific additional formalities have to be performed. In respect of supplies of services, VAT becomes deductible at the time the price is paid, as long as the French supplier has not opted for the payment of VAT on the basis of the accruals. Therefore, for the first VAT refund claim, the French tax authorities usually demand the following documents:
♦  copies of bank statements, showing the date and the amount actually paid by the claimant;
♦  in case where the payment is made by compensation, the claimant can justify such compensation by any mean of proof.

Refunds and appeals
The French tax authorities will stamp each invoice and/or import document to prevent their use for further application and will return them after a decision was taken.

The decision concerning the application will, in principle, be announced within six months of the date when the application, accompanied by all necessary supporting documents required for examination of the application, is submitted to the French tax authorities.

When the authorities request additional information, the six months period is suspended commencing on the date the request for information is sent to the claimant and ending on the date on which the claimant has met his obligation to provide the necessary information. Please note that all the supporting documentation must be provided at the latest at the time where the FTA takes its decision on the VAT refund claim.

If the refund is granted, it will be made in Euro, at the applicant’s request, either on a French bank account or on a bank account of the State in which he is established. In the latter case, the bank charges for the transfer will be payable by the applicant. The VAT application does not bear any interest.

If the refund is not granted, the grounds for refusal of the application will be stated. Appeals against such refusals may be made before the relevant Administrative Court within four months of receipt of the letter of refusal issued by the French tax authorities.

Non-E.U. businesses (13th Directive)
Non-EU businesses have to appoint a French VAT representative for filing 13th VAT Directive VAT refund claims.

Generally speaking, the rules for non-E.U. businesses are similar to those for E.U. businesses, except that:
Eligibility for refund
Reciprocity is not required.

Making claims
Supporting documentation
A non-EU business applying for a VAT refund claim in France must not enclose a certificate of VAT taxable status to the VAT refund claim.

If the VAT representative is entitled to cash-in the refunded VAT, specific rules apply as regards the power of attorney.

The form and supporting documentation must be sent to:
Direction des résidents à l’étranger et des services généraux (DRESG)
Service des Remboursements de TVA des assujettis étrangers
10, rue du Centre
TSA 60015
93465 Noisy-le-Grand cedex
Telephone. : (0033) 01 57 33 84 00
Site internet :
e-mail. :

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