January 23, 2024
France revises schedule for adopting e-invoicing reform
- France has issued a revised timeline for e-invoicing and e-reporting for value added tax (VAT).
- Originally expected to come into effect from 1 January 2024, these obligations are now expected to commence with effect from 1 September 2026.
Adoption of the postponement of the reform
Article 91 of the Finance Law for 2024 once again modifies the implementation schedule of the mandatory electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) reform.
The e-invoicing reform essentially entails two obligations:
- An obligation to transmit in real time and in electronic form domestic invoices exchanged between businesses (B2B) via a certified platform (referred to as "PDP" for "Plateforme de Dématérialisation Partenaire"), or via the State platform, which will be the "public invoicing portal" (or "PPF" for "Portail Public de Facturation") — called "e-invoicing"
- An obligation to transmit invoicing data in near real time for other invoices, including international, intra-community and business-to-consumer (B2C) invoices — called "e-reporting"
This schedule, which was initially set for 1 January 2023 and was then postponed to 1 July 2024, has finally been postponed to 1 September 2026.
The new timetable maintains a joint entry into force of the e-invoicing obligation and the e-reporting obligation:
- From 1 September 2026 for large companies and medium sized companies
- From 1 September 2027 for small and medium-sized entities (SMEs) and micro-enterprises (provided that they are not members of the VAT group constituting a single taxable person)
- These two dates may be postponed by decree to 1 December 2026 and 1 December 2027, respectively
As before, the category to which each company belongs must be assessed at the level of each legal entity on 1 January 2025 based on the last financial year closed before this date (i.e., for most companies, the financial year ending on 31 December 2024) or, in the absence of such a financial year, based on the first financial year ending on or after 1 January 2025.
The obligation to receive electronic invoices will apply from 1 September 2026, regardless of the size of the company. This date could be postponed by decree to 1 December 2026 at the latest.
Finally, this new timetable will be subject to the government's obtaining a new authorization from the Council of the European Union (EU) for derogation from Articles 218 and 232 of the VAT Directive; the previous derogation was granted on 17 January 2022, but it is only valid until 31 December 2026. Derogation to Articles 218 and 232 only concerns the obligation for e-invoicing (the obligation to e-report is not subject to an obligation to comply with EU VAT rules).
Impact of the postponement
This deferred implementation entails many other changes, both in the program to be completed by companies and in the legislative schedule that will need to be integrated into the reassessment of companies' ongoing projects:
- The pilot phase (during which companies will be able to practice exchanging electronic invoices via the PPF and PDPs), should start at the end of the 1st half of 2025: this obviously depends on the development of the PPF (government platform), which should be finalized in the fall of 2024. However, this pilot phase is crucial in allowing the IT development of the proposed solutions.
- The decree and order of 7 October 2022 should be rewritten in March 2024, and it is at that time that we will know:
- If the new tax information required on invoices remains mandatory from 1 July 2024 or if this obligation is also postponed to 1 September 2026
- If the deadline for the certification of PDPs is correspondingly postponed to 1 September 2027 (the current deadline is 1 July 2025)
- The External Technical Specifications, which give the instructions for the implementation of the reform should be updated again in Spring 2024: The French tax authorities have recently published the English translation of the latest Version of the External Technical Specifications V.2.3.
- Finally, the tax doctrine commenting on the impacts of the reform is still expected in Spring 2024. It should include the consequences of the reform on the methods of tax control of companies in the future, as the reform will likely disrupt the practice of the right of communication and the right of control, with real-time access to data by the French tax authorities.