All About Invoicing in France

Updated on: Aug 30th, 2023


6 min read

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In France, an invoice is a vital document that records transactions between sellers and customers. It is important in the case of Business-to-Business (B2B) sales where order value is substantial or transaction involves customized contracts. Like many European countries, invoicing is important in the French business landscape.

The primary roles of invoices are as follows:

  • Transactional record: Invoices serve as official records for business transactions, aiding in financial reporting and tax-related matters.
  • Payment request: Invoices function as payment requests, outlining the due amount and payment terms for the customer.

This article will explain all about invoicing in France, including what it is, its contents, when to issue, invoice format, and storage.

Basics of invoicing in France

Businesses must issue invoices when they sell taxable goods or services. It is mandatory in the case of B2B transactions, including advance payments. However, invoices aren’t mandatory for sales of specific exempt services.

Further, invoices aren’t mandatory for non-business customers. However, invoices must be issued when goods were sold to private individuals in other EU countries and not under the One Stop Shop (Union scheme).

Contents of an invoice in France

An invoice in France must include the following details:

  • A unique and sequential invoice number without gaps
  • Seller’s identity:
    • Name and first name in case of individuals or company name.
    • Registered office address
    • SIREN or SIRET number
    • RCS number
    • RM number, if applicable
    • NAF code
    • Legal form and share capital amount, if applicable
  • Customer’s name and addresses
  • Seller’s VAT identification number.
  • Customer’s VAT identification number (mandatory for intra-EU level B2B and reverse charge transactions)
  • Invoice date
  • Purchase order number
  • Payment date, late payment interest rate, and penalties
  • Details of supplied goods or services (quantity, nature, type)
  • Supply date (if differs from invoice date)
  • Taxable amount as per applicable VAT rates, exemptions, discounts, and rebates.
  • VAT rates on each line
  • Total VAT amount
  • Exemption, zero VAT rate, or reverse charge explanation
  • Fiscal representative’s details (if applicable)
  • Autofacturation, in case of self-billing
  • Indication of margin scheme application
  • Clause for membership in a management center or approved association.
  • Clause for small business exemption

Businesses may use any currency in invoices. However, the total VAT payable must be in EUR if a different currency is used in an invoice. Further, foreign language invoices require an official translation when requested by tax authorities.

Simplified invoices

Businesses may issue the simplified VAT invoice when the pre-tax amount in a transaction is below € 150. Further, sellers don’t have to mention their VAT number and exemption references. 

However, businesses can't use simplified invoices when selling goods or providing services to businesses in other EU countries.

When to issue an invoice in France?

Generally, invoices shall be issued whenever the goods or services are supplied. However, monthly periodic invoices can be issued for same-month sales before the month’s end.

In the case of cross-border EU business transactions, invoices must be issued within 15 days from the end of the month in which the supply was made.

Invoice format and storage in France

In France, electronic invoices are acceptable, ensuring origin authenticity, content integrity, and legibility. However, recipient acceptance is vital for electronic invoicing.

Further, as per the law, invoices must be retained for six years; however, a longer period may be prescribed under commercial law. This obligation applies to both sales and purchase invoices.