UK-EU TRADE | EXPORTING TO EU COUNTRIES THROUGH FRANCE
The Single Point of Clearance is when an overseas company not established within the European Union chooses France as the single point of entry of all its DDP shipments to various EU countries.
The customs clearance of all the parcels must be carried out exclusively in France (for example when a truck from the UK crosses the Franco-British border in Calais) before the final delivery of the goods in each EU country such as France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and so on. Since 1 January 2021, the Union law is no longer applicable in the United Kingdom which is no longer part of the the European Single Market.
Who can use the “Single Point of Clearance” in France ?
This consolidated customs procedure would be suitable for overseas manufacturers, suppliers of small high-value products, wholesalers of branded products, non-EU online retailers shipping goods to the fulfilment centres of French e-commerce websites (such as Amazon.fr or Cdiscount.com) for subsequent distribution across the European Union, UK businesses exporting goods to B2B customers in the EU (except for shipments to the Republic of Ireland) and any other international business selling goods to EU based customers under DDP sales terms.
The international commercial term (INCOTERM) known as DDP terms or Delivered Duty Paid is a delivery agreement whereby the foreign seller assumes the entire freight costs, including the responsibility of paying import duty and VAT at the destination port in the EU. The DDP terms are very attractive for the buyer and help the supplier to win new sales opportunities.
Since the implementation of the “Single Point of Clearance” requires the registration of the foreign company for VAT purposes in France, the appointment of a French fiscal representative like Corintax® will be mandatory for most non-EU companies. The requirement to appoint a fiscal representative in France is not applicable to UK companies since the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020, but it is highly advisable to appoint a tax expert who is familiar with the French VAT legislation.
It is strongly recommended to UK and other non-EU companies willing to choose France as their Single Point of Clearance in the EU to find in a first stage a freight forwarder who can handle the customs clearance in France before contacting Corintax® for VAT services. We have noticed that since the Brexit, several UK exporters in the Fishing and Seafood Industries are using the services of the international shipping company DFDS A/S for their DDP shipments to EU customers.
What are the advantages to opt for the “Single Point of Clearance” ?
Non-EU companies having occasional or regular shipments to EU countries can choose France as the Single Point of Clearance of their goods and take advantage of the following benefits:
- Using the import VAT postponement scheme. No payment of import VAT will be required in France;
- Offering to corporate clients (including retailers and distributors) a sale price without VAT;
- Not paying import VAT in multiple EU countries where it would be difficult or very long to reclaim it;
- Sending consolidated shipments to multiple VAT registered customers located in various EU countries.
It should also be noted that the storage of goods in a French warehouse or fulfilment centre is not compulsory, although it is recommended to ensure better delivery times. If the foreign importer does not opt for a storage solution in France, the consignments can endeed be redirected to their respective destinations in the European Union immediately after customs clearance at a French port or airport.
Would you like to set up a “Single Point of Clearance” in France ?
Our fiscal representation service in the framework of the procedure described above is mainly for companies based outside the European Union. However, we can also act as the VAT agent of EU based companies importing goods into France directly from a non-EU country. We liaise on behalf of our international clients with the French tax authorities and make sure that their tax processes are smooth and secured.
Years bring experience to sincere minds.
Alphonse de Lamartine
The content published here above is based on information timely as of the date of publication, unless otherwise indicated. Amendments to the tax laws in the EU country covered here could have been passed recently. Therefore, readers should contact Corintax Consulting for further insights.