Tax Obligations for Business Sellers in France

When: From 1 January 2020

What: New legislation regarding legal liabilities for digital platforms came into force in France. eBay can now be held liable for VAT payments owed by sellers.

Please note: Tax evasion is a criminal offence! eBay will work with the French authorities to help prevent fraud and will take action against users who are not compliant. Actions can include removing ads and suspending accounts.

You are now required to display your VAT number.

Please read through our summary of the applicable legal documents below. For more specific information relevant to your tax situation, please contact a tax advisor or tax office.

Who has to pay VAT in France?

If you meet any one of the following three conditions, you must have a French VAT number linked to your business Seller Account:

  • You are based in France, or
  • You sell items stored in France, or
  • You send items to individuals domiciled in France from another EU country where these goods are stored or where they are transported to in advance, and your annual turnover in France exceeds €35,000 per year for all sales channels combined.

For expert advice, please speak to a tax advisor.

What action do you need to take?

If you meet any one of the three conditions listed above, you should immediately check if you are compliant with your tax obligations:

  1. Check whether your company needs to be registered for VAT in France.
  2. If so, register with the French tax authorities and request a French VAT number.
  3. Add this VAT number to your eBay account so it appears on your ebay.fr listings (as required by law).

Information from the French tax authorities

You can visit the following sites to find out more about VAT in France:

As an eBay seller, you must comply with our User Agreement as well as with all local laws and regulations relating to your transactions. Failure to do so could result in penalties, including restrictions on your buying and selling privileges, or the suspension of your eBay account.

eBay works with local tax authorities to combat fraud. Under Article 283 bis of the General Tax Code, the French tax authorities can report any suspicion of VAT fraud to eBay and demand eBay take action against those sellers.

FAQ

Why do some sellers receive an annual summary of their sales from eBay?

Since 2017, the Article 242 bis of the General Tax Code requires digital platforms operating in France to send their users an annual summary of transactions carried out on their platform until January 31.

In compliance with this requirement, eBay sends out a sales summary to all sellers registered on eBay.fr and domiciled or based in France. The summary details the number of transactions and the total amount of money received on eBay.fr throughout the previous year.

Since 1 January 2020, eBay is required by law to send a sales summary to all business sellers liable for VAT in France. This will affect you if:

  • You are based in France, or
  • You sell items stored in France, or
  • You send items to individuals domiciled in France from another EU country where these goods are stored or where they are transported to in advance, and your annual turnover in France exceeds €35,000 per year for all sales channels combined.

For expert advice, please speak to a tax advisor.

What is the purpose of the annual sales summary?

It helps you to keep track of sales income from buyers in France and shows if this income should be declared to the tax authorities.

For expert advice, please speak to a tax advisor.

Which sales are included in the sales summary?

The sales summary includes all transactions with buyers in France and to whom items were sent from the EU during the previous calendar year.

For example, the 2020 summary lists transactions with buyers domiciled in France between 1 January and 31 December 2019.

Please note that the annual eBay sales summary includes transactions cancelled under the Unpaid Items Policy or in line with the eBay Money Back Guarantee.

To see these transactions, business sellers should view their invoices in Seller Hub.

When I receive the annual sales summary, do I have to declare the income shown to the tax authorities?

The tax and social security obligations you are subject to are set out on the tax administration and URSSAF websites. We recommend you consult the easy-to-use information sheets on those websites.

Is this annual sales summary sent to the French tax administration?

Before January 2020, the sellers concerned were the only recipients of their annual sales summary. The files were not shared with the tax authorities.

Since January 2020, all digital platforms operating in France are required to supply the tax authorities with data from the annual sales summaries for:

  • All business sellers with transactions subject to VAT in France.
  • Private sellers living in France who (a) carried out at least 20 transactions and received at least €3,000 through sales of items or (b) sold at least one item whose sale price exceeds or equals €5,000 on their platform.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 242 bis of the General Tax Code, this information will be sent to the Public Finances Directorate General who will forward it to the URSSAF network as per Article L114−19−1 of the Social Security Code.

This affects you as a business seller if:

  • You are based in France.
  • You sell items stored in France.
  • You send items to individuals domiciled in France from another EU country where these goods are stored or where they are transported to in advance, and your annual turnover in France exceeds €35,000 per year for all sales channels combined.

How do I know if I’m subject to tax and social security obligations in France?

To find out if you need to declare your income arising from sales on eBay, please visit the tax administration and URSSAF websites.

The above information is not exhaustive and in no way constitutes legal advice. We therefore recommend that you consult a tax advisor or your local tax office to obtain information on your possible reporting obligations regarding tax and social security in France.