Tax Alert

Customs tolerance extended to October 1, 2020 for non-EU exporters

Due to the COVID-19, the General Direction of Customs and Indirect duties (GDCID) or la Direction Générale des Douanes et des Droits Indirects postpones the application of the new Customs definition of exporter to October 1st, 2020 (Note to operators COMINT 1 / FID 2 of March 27, 2020), in order to give time to operators to adapt their IT system, their contracts and logistic constraints.

As a reminder, the GDCID published on March 3, 2020 a note for operators (Note n° 20000071 of March 3, 2020) ending the Customs tolerance applicable to export companies not established in the EU as of from May 1st, 2020.

Indeed, based on the new Customs definition of exporter, companies must be necessarily established in the Customs territory of the EU to qualify as an exporter within the meaning of the EU Customs Code. In other words, companies are required to have their headquarters, their decision-making centre or permanent establishment in the EU Customs territory.

Companies that do not meet this condition will therefore not be able to act as an exporter from France for Customs purposes and appear in box 2 (exporter) of the export declaration.

As from October 1st, 2020, these non-EU companies will have to appoint an operator (i.e. Customs indirect representation) to act as the exporter for Customs purposes. This could be a carrier, freight forwarding agent or any other person party to the contract.

In terms of VAT, non-EU companies which export goods from France must be registered for VAT in France and, in principle, must appoint a French VAT representative for that purpose.

In addition, these companies must imperatively appear (name and French VAT number) in box 44 of the export declaration in order to benefit from the VAT exemption for exportation of goods. Otherwise, exportations must be subject to French VAT.

Our team is at your disposal to assist and advise you on this matter.

Authors: Elvire Tardivon-Lorizon, Attorney-at-law, Tax-Partner / Sébastien Larrivée, Attorney-at-law