Biling a French company Biling a French company
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  1. #1

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    Default Billing a French company

    Hello,

    I would be very grateful if someone would be able to tell me how I can bill a French company for work I have done. I am a UK-based sole trader and am not VAT registered.

    Thank you for your help.
    Last edited by Alannah; 20th September 2006 at 17:25.

  2. #2

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    Just issue your invoice as you would for a British client. Be sure to indicate your BIC and IBAN number, so they can do a SWIFT payment to your UK bank account.

    You don't have to invoice with VAT for "intellectual" work between 2 european countries, anyway.
    The payment terms should be in the contract.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by triboix
    Just issue your invoice as you would for a British client. Be sure to indicate your BIC and IBAN number, so they can do a SWIFT payment to your UK bank account.

    You don't have to invoice with VAT for "intellectual" work between 2 european countries, anyway.
    The payment terms should be in the contract.
    If the French tax inspector decides that the point of supply is in France, then he will declare you liable to pay French VAT. This has happened to me even when I was billing a UK company, for work in France.

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    Quote Originally Posted by expat
    If the French tax inspector decides that the point of supply is in France, then he will declare you liable to pay French VAT. This has happened to me even when I was billing a UK company, for work in France.
    That's right (provided you are VAT registered), and even worse than that: you will have to pay at least NI-like taxes in France, and probably income tax as well for a sole trader.
    I based my previous answer on the fact that Alannah performed the job in the UK. It should be noted that some travels for report/synchronisation and the like are normally OK.
    Last edited by triboix; 21st September 2006 at 12:23.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by triboix
    That's right (provided you are VAT registered), and even worse than that: you will have to pay at least NI-like taxes in France, and probably income tax as well for a sole trader.
    I based my previous answer on the fact that Alannah performed the job in the UK. It should be noted that some travels for report/synchronisation and the like are normally OK.
    Yes indeed. Well, if he/she is resident in the UK but performs the work in France, it would probably attract VAT and possibly income tax but maybe not NIC/SocSec contributions provided these are paid in the UK.

    On the bright side, if he needs a doctor or even dentist while in France, he'll be able to get one.

    No seriously, logically you ought to be right about the VAT if the work is done in the UK, but the Franch VAT inspector may take the client's machine as being the point of supply. That would be consistent: same as if the client in France buys MS Office from amazon.co.uk: he pays French VAT because he (the purchaser) is the point of supply, regardless of whether amazon.co.uk is in the UK, MS is in the US, and anyway the amazon warehouse is in Germany.

    I know that MS Office comes on CDs that are physically delivered, whereas the OP's product may not: but again from my own experience, if the VAT inspector can identify the physical location of a computer on which the product is stored, he is liable to identify the product as actually having a location (and VAT will be due in that location).

    You need to suck it and see. Call the VAT men and ask them. The Franch have an international VAT office in Paris, who are helpful, and not nearly so "patriotic" as the local VATmen. Best to get agreement from them.
    Last edited by expat; 22nd September 2006 at 07:13.

  6. #6

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    Thank you very much for your responses - this is very helpful. I was wondering, would the situation change at all if I billed through a company rather than as a sole trader?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alannah
    Thank you very much for your responses - this is very helpful. I was wondering, would the situation change at all if I billed through a company rather than as a sole trader?
    The billing would not change at all, only put the company name and bank details instead of yours.
    What may be interesting is on the tax side. You usually can do better through a company.

  8. #8

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    If I billed through a company, would there be any issue about where the job was performed? Would that be up to the individuals who performed the job or would the company still perhaps be liable for French VAT even though it's based in the UK?

    How would it work in terms of VAT too? is it OK to bill a French company through a UK company if one is not UK VAT-registered?

    Thank you for your assistance which is much appreciated!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alannah
    If I billed through a company, would there be any issue about where the job was performed?
    Yes, regarding where the NI contributions must be paid (for the company), and NI contributions + personal taxes for the employee.
    Apparently, there are however some clever ways to save on taxes in this way. Seek legal advice (expatriate advisors).

    Quote Originally Posted by Alannah
    Would that be up to the individuals who performed the job or would the company still perhaps be liable for French VAT even though it's based in the UK?
    If the job is done through a company, the company may be liable to VAT, but never the individual who is an employee in this case. Regarding whether the VAT will be paid in France or UK, I don't know to be honest.
    I am quite sure that for the provision of "intellectual" services from a UK company to a French one, the UK company does not have to invoice with VAT.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alannah
    How would it work in terms of VAT too? is it OK to bill a French company through a UK company if one is not UK VAT-registered?
    I think your UK company needs to be VAT registered to invoice other european countries, even if you don't invoice with VAT.
    The best would be to ask an accountant or a tax adviser (IANAA, disclaimer, etc.)

  10. #10

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    You don't have to invoice with VAT for "intellectual" work between 2 european countries, anyway.
    Theoretically, but only theoretically. Software is "grey", you may have to stand your corner. Check first with an accountant.

    International VAT is a trap that many contractors fall into.
    I'm alright Jack

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