French VAT refund claims filed by EU businesses non-established in France under the “8th VAT Directive” Refund procedure

The Tribunal Administratif de Montreuil challenges the position of the Foreign Tax office (“DRESG”) consisting in rejecting VAT refund claims for late filing, by reference to the VAT due date rather than to the invoice date

Some EU businesses are currently facing rejections of their French VAT refund claims (French input VAT incurred on goods) filed under the EU “8th Directive” Refund procedure (Directive 2008/9/EC).

Businesses non-established in France but in another EU Member State must file an electronic refund claim on their own national tax authorities website by 30th September of the calendar year following the refund period.

For such EU businesses, the refund application shall relate to “the purchase of goods or services which was invoiced during the refund period, provided that the VAT became chargeable before or at the time of the invoicing (…)”.

Based on a misinterpretation of these provisions, the DRESG has rejected for late-filing a number of VAT refund claims submitted by EU businesses by reference to the VAT due date, notwithstanding the date of the invoice.

In a judgment dated 4th April 2017 (unpublished) obtained by our firm, the Tribunal Administratif de Montreuil overruled the DRESG’s position. Accordingly, the Tribunal Administratif de Montreuil confirmed that the admissibility of VAT refund claims submitted by EU businesses not established in France shall be assessed in consideration of the invoice date and not of the VAT due date.

Given the strict position defended by the DRESG, it may decide to appeal the judgment.

In any case, EU businesses non-established in France that had their French VAT refund claim dismissed on such ground should consider bringing a claim before the Court, provided that all other requirements are met.