E-merchants get ready: the draft for 2020 finance law has been presented to the Council of Ministers and contains several measures related to VAT, including some to fight against VAT fraud in e-commerce.

In order to adapt, as soon as possible, to the European directive of December 5, 2017, the government wants to compel e-merchants to collect VAT on purchases made by French consumers.

Therefore, when a French consumer buys a product on a foreign online sales site, the invoice must show the VAT and the e-merchant will be obliged to return it to the French government.

This measure will affect all B to C online sales sites and should be implemented by January 1, 2021.

In addition to the above, online sales platforms will be required to maintain a logbook that will have to be kept for 10 years. This logbook must identify the source and the destination of each parcel and must allow French administration to verify that the VAT has been correctly paid.

In order to trace the flow of imported goods and clearly identify the individual VAT payer, the administration will exercise a right of communication directly with the warehouses and logistics platforms.

Finally, the administration plans to publish on the internet a “black list” of platform operators considered to be non-cooperative because they do not meet tax obligations in a repetitive manner.

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