How much is VAT in France?
The standard VAT rate in France is 20%. It applies to most goods and services. The two reduced VAT rates are 10% and 5.5%. The super-reduced rate is 2.1%. France also has some zero-rated goods, the sale of which must still be reported on your VAT return, even though no VAT is charged.
The first reduced VAT rate (10%) applies to goods and services like some restaurants, construction and household work, farming and forestry and passenger transport.
The second reduced VAT rate (5.5%) applies to food, gas, electricity, art, cinema and sporting event tickets, services for elderly.
The super-reduced VAT rate (2.1%) applies to some medicine, newspapers and magazines.
French zero-rated goods and services include intra-community and international transport.
What is a VAT rate?
VAT (value added tax) is a type of consumption tax. The French government applies it on the sale of goods and services.
VAT isn’t paid by businesses — instead, it’s charged to consumers in the price of goods, and collected by businesses, making it an indirect tax. Businesses are then responsible for reporting it to the government.
How to work out VAT in France.
Total price including VAT
To work out the total price at the standard rate of VAT (20%), multiply the original price by 1.2. For the first reduced VAT rate (10%), multiply the original price by 1.1. For the second reduced VAT rate (5.5%), multiply the original price by 1.055. For the super-reduced rate (2.1%), multiply the original price by 1.021.
Total price excluding VAT
You can calculate the total price excluding the standard VAT rate (20%) by dividing the original price by 1.2. For the first reduced VAT rate (10%), divide the original price by 1.1. For the second reduced VAT rate (5.5%), divide the original price by 1.055. For the super-reduced rate (2.1%), divide the original price by 1.021.
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How does VAT work?
VAT is collected at each point in the production of goods — every time value is added and a sale is made. This is what gives VAT its name — value-added tax. It’s designed to be paid by the consumer at the end. Here’s an example:
- A supplier sells a badminton racket to a shop for €120. They owe €20 VAT to the government.
- The shop pays €120 but can claim the €20 back from the government, so the shop doesn’t pay the VAT.
- The shop sells the racket to the customer for €220. The VAT is €44 which the customer, as the end-user, pays in full to the shop.
- Together with the reclaimable €20 VAT, the shop will end up paying €24 to the government.
Tax-free shopping - VAT for travellers.
So, you’ve done some shopping abroad, and paid a healthy amount of money for VAT. The good thing is you can often get the amount refunded once you’ve returned home.
For example, European Union residents can get a VAT refund on goods bought in Singapore from a retailer that offers tax-free shopping.
The conditions for a VAT refund are different in every country and should be checked according to your destination — there’s usually a minimum purchase amount, and some exceptions to be considered.
If you’re planning on visiting any of these countries, have a look at their rules for tax-free shopping. And if you’d like to save even more money, don’t miss out on the Wise travel money card, and spend in shops or online at the real exchange rate.
When you’ve visited France, you’ll be able to get a VAT refund on items bought if:
- You live outside the EU and are going back home
- You’re an EU resident and are leaving the EU for 12 months or more
- You’ve spent a minimum of 175€ in any tax-free store the same day
- You are over 16 years old
There are multiple ways of receiving the refund — either get paid immediately at a refund booth at the airport or send the approved form to a refund company.
How to get a VAT refund in 3 simple steps?
Get a Tax Refund Application Form (Detaxe) from the retailer. You might also be asked to show your passport to check that you’re eligible.
At customs, present your passport, VAT form(s), VAT invoice(s) and the tax-free goods.
If all the criteria is met, customs will approve your form. You’ll get a signed form that allows you to receive the refund.