UK: Doing Business Between The UK And France – Your VAT Questions Answered

Last Updated: 14 February 2019
Article by Amaya Chiavelli

Operating between the United Kingdom and France, and wondering how Brexit changes your VAT obligations? Here are answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions.

When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU) it will become a third country, that is, a jurisdiction outside the EU and also the European Economic Area (EEA). We've discussed the tax implications of a no-deal Brexit and examined how it would change the VAT refund procedure. Now, we answer some frequently-asked-questions that we're receiving about trading between the UK and France.

As Brexit negotiations are ongoing, some of these answers may change in the future. For the most up-to-date information, or to ask a question not listed here, make an enquiry with us.

1. I have a British company with no French establishment, but I am registered in France for VAT purposes; do I need to change my company's VAT number after Brexit?

In the case of a no-deal-Brexit, your company can keep its existing French VAT number.

2. My French company carries out intra-community (IC) transactions with the United Kingdom. What are the consequences of Brexit for me?

If the UK makes a 'no-deal' exit, your intra-community transactions would be re-qualified from IC-acquisitions/IC-dispatches to imports/exports from/to a third State.

Unlike intra-community transactions, imports and exports follow a declarative process at customs. And customs tax and excise are due at the time of import or export of the goods.

Export remains VAT-exempt as long as the company can provide a proof of export. VAT on imports paid at customs would be declared on the VAT return and can be claimed back.

3. My French company has operations that are subject to VAT in the UK, how should I proceed after the Brexit?

If the UK and the EU are unable to reach a deal and the UK makes a 'no-deal' exit, the VAT refund procedure would change immediately.

Currently, VAT on goods and services acquired in France by a company established in another Member State of the EU for the purposes of its economic activity may be refundable. The refund of VAT is subject to conditions related to both the company itself (the company should not be established in France) and to the operations performed (the delivery of goods or services is not located in France) and is facilitated through the EU Directive 2008/09/EC (formerly the 8th Directive).

After Brexit, British companies requesting VAT refunds in France would likely need to follow a completely different process applicable for companies established outside the EU; this being the Thirteenth VAT Directive (86/560/EEC). Similarly, those reimbursements would be subject to conditions related to the companies and to the transactions carried out. The main characteristic of this process is the obligation for the taxable person to appoint a taxable representative established in France who will be responsible on the company's behalf.

4. I use the British VAT mini-box (MOSS), what should I do after Brexit?

If there is a no-deal exit, the UK would no longer be allowed to connect to EU computer systems. If your company is identified for MOSS in the UK and wants to benefit from this simplification process, you would have to register your company for VAT purposes in any EU member state; France for example.

5. I have a UK company with VAT reporting obligations in France, should I appoint a tax representative?

The French tax administration has confirmed that in the case of no deal, a UK company not established in an EU country wouldn't have to appoint a tax representative.

However, the obligation to appoint a tax representative remains for other taxes such as PAYE (pay-as-you-earn). This representative must be from a company established in France, with a certain 'level of taxpayer honesty' and accredited by the French tax authorities. The tax representative is jointly responsible for all the company's French tax obligations (declaration and payment).

If your company already has a French tax representative, you are free to keep them or designate a new one. However, you may only have one tax representative for all your French tax obligations.

TMF Group can help you with this obligation – learn about our services in France.

6. How do I verify a UK VAT number after Brexit?

Every company liable for VAT in the EU has an individual tax identification number issued by the tax office. This number must be written on invoices, VAT and intrastat declarations submitted by the company.

In order to prevent fraud and scams, companies with commercial relations with European partners (customers or suppliers) must check the validity of their partner's VAT number. For European companies, this verification can be done on the European VAT Information Exchange System (VIES).

After Brexit, it won't be possible to check the validity of a UK VAT number on the VIES website. In order to check a company's UK VAT number, you may ask them for the copy of a recent certificate of taxable status, or any document from the local administration confirming the validity of the VAT number and the company's name and address.

Talk to us

Brexit's impact on VAT rules could be frightening for UK companies doing business in other European countries, as well as for non-UK companies doing business with the UK. TMF Group's tax teams located in the UK, France and throughout the rest of Europe are ready to help you understand what the Brexit consequences are for your business, and guide you through the changes.

Our local offices are authorised to be appointed as your local tax representative for both foreign VAT recovery claims through the 13th Directive process, or local VAT registrations.

Need more information? Contact us today.

Replay our webinar with Brexit Partners: how prepared is our competition?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions