Requirements for invoices in France
There are a myriad of precise details that must be included on invoices in France.
What are these compulsory details? What sanctions in the event of straying away from these regulations? This blog will lay out all of this.
In short, an invoice, is a detailed record of services performed or goods sold. It must be written in French and two copies must always be made – the original must be given to the client.
What information must be included in an invoice:
- The date of the invoice (the date in which the invoice is issued)
- The number of the invoice (unique number for each invoice – must be chronological and continuous)
- The date of the sale/service (date in which the delivery of goods or services is made or completed)
- The identity of the seller or service provider
- Company name (or first and last name for an individual)
- The address of the registered office and the billing address (if different)
- SIREN or SIRET number
- Legal entity form of company and its share capital (for companies)
- RCS number and city of the registration office (for traders)
- Number in the department of registration (for artisans)
- The identity of the buyer or customer
- Company name (or first and name for an individual)
- Client’s address (unless objected to by an individual)
- Delivery address and the billing address (if different)
- Order form number
- VAT identification number
- VAT identification number of both the seller and of the business customer (only the latter is viable for VAT) – e.g., Example: FR XX XXX XXX XXX
- This piece of information is not compulsory for invoices whose value is less than or equal to €150.
- The specification and calculation of the products and services supplied
- Type, brand and reference of the product must be included, as well as the materials supplied and the labour for the services
- Precise name, quantity, unit price before tax and the rate of VAT (as well as any other discounts and other rebates) must also be included
- Catalogue price
- Unit price excluding VAT of products sold/the hourly rate excluding VAT of services provided
- Legally applicable VAT rate
- Important if different VAT rates apply – they should be clearly shown by line
- If the seller is exempt from VAT include the following: “VAT not applicable, art. 293 B of the General Tax Code”. « TVA non applicable, art. 293 B du Code général des impôts ».
- Eventual price reduction
- This covers discounts and rebates on the date of sale/provision of the service
- Excludes discount transactions not provided for on the invoice
- Total amount to be paid excluding tax (HT) and including all taxes (TTC)
- Payment information
- The date on which the payment is to be made and the time limit for payment
- It must also state the acceptant means of payment: cheque or cash (in cases of invoices less than €3000), bank transfers etcetera
- The discount conditions in case of early payment (if the seller does not grant a discount this must also be stated).
- The penalty rates for non-payment or late payment: €40. In accordance with Articles L 441-3 and L 441-6 of the French Commercial Code
- Existence of a two-year legal guarantee for certain goods
- Since 1 July 2021 invoicing documents must mention this guarantee
- Categories of goods are determined by Decree No. 2021-609 of 18 May 2021
Sellers who are tenant managers of a business must state this on their invoice.
- If sellers do not do this, they are subject to a fine of €750
Companies in liquidation will have to state on their invoices that they are a ‘company in liquidation’ – there are heavy penalties for companies who do not do this.
Invoices in a foreign currency and language:
- Provided that the foreign currency is internationally recognised and convertible (dollar/pound)
- In some cases, the administration requires the translation to be certified by a sworn translator
The invoice may be issued electronically, provided that the buyer approves. In all cases, the content of an electronic invoice must correspond to that of a paper invoice (exactly the same details).
Since 1 January 2020, electronic invoicing has been mandatory for companies in the public sector.
Ordinance No. 2021-1190 of 15 September 2021 – will make electronic invoicing apply to businesses subject to VAT. This process will be progressive, in order to give companies enough time to comply with these new regulations:
- From 1 July 2024 for large companies
- From 1 January 2025 for medium sized companies
- From 1 January 2026 for small, medium and micro sized companies
What are the penalties for breaching these invoicing rules?
Companies that fail to comply are liable to the following fines:
- A tax fine of €15 for each missing/incorrect statement (capped at 25% of the total amount of the invoice).
- Administrative fine of €75,000 for an individual (this can be increased to 50% of the sum invoiced or the sum that should have been invoiced)
- Administrative fine of €375,000 for a legal entity, (this can be increased to 250% of the sum invoiced or that which should have been invoiced)
- this fine may be doubled if the offence is repeated within two years of the first sanction
How long do you have to keep invoices in your records?
- Invoices must be kept for 10 years as accounting documents
- They can be kept in paper or electronic form
If you think you need help with your invoices, contact us via email at [email protected] or by phone: +33 (0)1 53 93 94 20