Reclaiming VAT from France

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    We have a supplier of metal products in France.

    Occasionally – they would deliver goods direct to one of my customers in another EU country (e.g. Denmark).

    French supplier would bill me (zero VAT) .  I would bill customer (zero VAT).

    Post Brexit – we kept the same method up until now but I knew somewhere this was probably breaking some VAT rule…

    Now the French are saying – they have to bill me VAT on the invoices to remain compliant under French rules. 
    We can still ship to Denmark and I can bill customer with zero VAT (intra EU trade)

    My problem is how to get back the French VAT paid?   
    We had done this once before via the .gov EU VAT reclaim portal (although it was like pulling teeth).
    But thanks to Brexit – that is now closed.

    I have been advised I need to apply for a French VAT number.  Then I can make quarterly French VAT returns to claim the VAT back.
    Obviously this costs me money – a fee for the initial application (and a lot of hoops to jump through) and then a quarterly fee to manage the return.

    Is there a simpler way ?  Can I not just make an application to French VAT system without the need for a VAT registration?

    There is a link on the EU website about specific country contacts – but its broken !


    Morning Firebird,

    Your case involves what is called “triangulation” – you can google it. The triangulation simplification within EU allows an EU VAT registered intermediate supplier to buy and sell goods from/to other VAT registered EU businesses who do not belong in their own Member State without having to VAT register in one of the Member States in which the supply of goods takes place.

    However, post Brexit, as the UK is no longer in the EU, a UK VAT number cannot be used to allow triangulation. Within EU Member States there is no VAT registration threshold for Non-Established Taxable persons, i.e. businesses with no fixed or business establishment in the Member state where a supply is deemed to take place. Therefore, the UK business will be required to VAT register in either France in your case on the basis of the onward taxable supply of goods.  Local advice will need to be sought to assist with the French VAT registration.

    Once the UK business is VAT registered in any EU Member state, you will be able to use that EU VAT registration number to facilitate future triangulation supplies , where their VAT registered suppliers/customers belong in 2 separate Member States.

    The below link would be of help:

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