BUSINESSES: Formalities for intra-Community trade
This brochure is for you, if you run a small or very small business or you work for a large corporation and you do business with other countries in the European Union (EU) (1), or are planning to do so soon.
Your trade inside the European Union is mostly unregulated and does not involve border formalities or inspections. You are not required to file a customs declaration. However, you must complete a monthly Goods Trade Declaration (declaration d’échanges de biens – DEB) covering all of your intra-Community trade. Why?
Because customs continues to fulfil two functions:
- compiling foreign trade statistics;
- monitoring compliance with VAT rules in intra-Community goods trade.
The goods trade declaration enables you to fulfil all of your obligations related to these two functions easily with one form.
Furthermore, intra-Community trade in certain goods is still subject to special rules. These goods include:
products subject to excise tax, such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and petroleum products, which are covered by special rules because of the substantial tax revenues involved and the critical nature of these economic sectors;
some specific sensitive products, which are still subject to special control measures and, consequently, to restrictions on trade inside the European Union. The products concerned include weapons, ammunition, explosives, military equipment, dual-use goods (with civilian and military uses), narcotics and psychotropic drugs, waste products, medicines, plant and animal products and objects of cultural interest.
IMPORTANT! These formalities do not release you from your obligations with regard to VAT, such as filing turnover returns and paying the tax. VAT on intra-Community trade is collected in the same way as domestic VAT, which means you need to contact your tax service for information.
(1) The Member States of the European Union are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
|Customs makes filing your goods trade declaration easier with two free and effective tools for online filing: téléservice "DEB at Pro.dou@ne" and IDEP/CE8 software.|
The Goods Trade Declaration (DEB)
Each month, you are required to fill out the goods trade declaration (DEB) covering your intra-Community trade in goods with other Member States of the European Union and file it with customs.
What do you need to report?
Your goods trade declaration must report all trade in European Union goods (or goods from countries outside the EU on which duties and taxes have been paid) between France and another Member State, including:
- intra-Community trade in products subject to excise tax;
- goods imported to France on which duties and taxes have been paid and which are dispatched to another Member State (declaration of dispatch to the other Member State);
- EU goods dispatched from France to another Member State from which they are then exported.
You are not required to report:
- trade between Member States in third-country goods under the external transit regime (use of a single administrative document as a customs declaration);
- trade with territories that are not included in the “Community-wide single market” (France’s overseas départements , the Canary Islands, the Channel Islands, Mount Athos, etc.);
- goods that would be eligible for temporary admission if they were imported (dispatches or arrivals of goods for fairs, exhibits, testing, analysis, etc.);
- retail sales to foreigners with delivery in France (taxed in France);
- free samples, etc.
The overseas départements are: French Guyana, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Réunion Island.
Who needs to file the declaration?
You must file the goods trade declaration if you are subject to VAT and you engage in intra-Community trade.
The filing requirement applies to all natural and legal persons engaging in trade between Member States who are established, identified or represented in France.
NB: shippers and receivers of goods for repair are also required to complete these formalities.
The following are exempted from filing declarations:
- private individuals;
- for arrivals*, operators whose arrivals/purchases are less than €150,000 per calendar year (not per transaction).
If you are subject to the filing requirement, you may delegate a third party to fill out the declaration, but you are still responsible for the data provided. You must explicitly appoint the third-party filer.
The declaration must always include your identification information.
Your filing number is your VAT number (the letters FR, a two-digit computer code and your nine-digit SIREN number).
Your tax service will issue your filing number.
What is the best way to file your declaration?
Use the online declaration
The goods trade declaration can be filed online or on magnetic recording media, without any need to send customs a hard copy.
You need to contact the inter-regional data entry centre (CISD) that handles your declarations in order to set up online filing.
Filers and third party filers opting for online filing of their declarations first need to sign an agreement with their data collection centre. They will receive an acknowledgement of receipt each time they file a declaration.
The online declaration has the same legal force as a paper declaration.
You may choose IDEP/CN8 software…
IDEP/CN8 lets you:
- enter data or import data directly from your information system, eliminating the need to enter them manually, making it easier to fill out your declaration,
- correct earlier declarations,
- file your declarations with your inter-regional data centre (CISD) via e-mail using a standard format,
- receive an acknowledgement of receipt via e-mail.
Get your free copy of IDEP/CN8:
- on a CD ROM from your inter-regional data entry centre (CISD) or from the national directorate of foreign trade statistics (DNSCE),
by going to the “Déclaration d’échanges de biens / Documentation / les téléchargements disponibles pour IDEP/CN8” menu of the Pro.dou@ne website: https://pro.douane.gouv.fr/
IDEP/CN8 offers many functions:
- models and copies of line items,
- product classification queries (NC8),
- back up and restoration of your declaration data.
…. or Téléservice DEB at Pro.dou@ne
Téléservice DEB at Pro.dou@ne has replaced “DEB sur le WEB”. This service lets you:
fill out, correct and file your declarations using the remote service that can be accessed via the Pro.dou@ne portal at the following address: https://pro.douane.gouv.fr/, menu “DEB sur Pro/dou@ne”.
IMPORTANT: you must register at the Pro.dou@ne portal for access to the online service, by clicking on the “Inscription” menu.
...simplify your filing requirements,
verify the quality of the data entered,
obtain online help for each data field,
consult your historical declaration data from any computer connected to the Internet.
You will also have access to many helpful features:
product classification queries (NC8) and country codes,
the filing timetable and deadlines.
Online filing of your declarations provides the added security of an acknowledgement of receipt sent to your e-mail address.
There are two types of forms, depending on your reporting obligation level:
- detailed form, for the use of all filers, regardless of their reporting obligations;
- simplified form, for the use of filers with level 3 reporting obligations for arrivals and level 3 or level 4 obligations for dispatches.
NB: if a declaration runs to several pages, you should use as many forms as necessary.
What are the reporting obligation levels?
|Detailed declaration |
|1||Detailed declaration |
|Detailed declaration (2) |
|Detailed declaration (2) |
|Simplified declaration |
|Simplified declaration |
|No declaration||4||Simplified declaration (1) |
1)Only the “line number”, “tax value”, “regime” and “EC customer number” need to be filled in.
2)The statistical value, delivery terms, transportation method and département do not need to be filled in.
If you have different obligation levels for arrivals and dispatches, you may choose to comply with only one, the one with most restrictive obligations.
e.g. A company with more than €2,300,000 in dispatches, but very small amounts of arrivals may, for the sake of simplification, prefer to file level 1 declarations uniformly. In this case, all of its declarations must be at the same level.
A company may choose a more restrictive reporting obligation
e.g.: a business with a level 2 reporting obligation may opt for a level 1 obligation.
It must then mention this obligation level on all of its declarations.
-If your arrivals or dispatches increase during the course of the year and exceed a threshold amount, the reporting obligation level shall change as of the month in which the threshold was exceeded.
-A new business does not need to file a declaration, as long as its cumulative arrivals are under €150,000. Once this threshold is reached however, the business must file.
|For dispatches, you must file a goods trade declaration starting with the very first transaction, whatever the amount.|
When do you need to file?
Customs must receive goods trade declarations by the tenth working day after the end of the reference month.
As a general rule, the reference period is the calendar month in which the VAT became due on intra-Community dispatches and arrivals of goods.
Where do you need to send your declaration?
You need to send your declaration to your inter-regional data entry centre (CISD), whether you file online or use paper forms.
Page mise à jour le 01/01/2010 par BIC et Département des statistiques et des études statistiques