5 Questions to Ask Yourself
Tax compliance in France is already complicated. New e-invoicing and e-reporting regulations being introduced by the DGFIP in 2024 will mean companies doing business in the French Republic face some of the most onerous compliance obligations of all VAT jurisdictions.
One significant change for many businesses will be the need to use Partner Dematerialization Platforms, also known as PDPs. The role of a PDP is highly specialised. Indeed, strict legal requirements and technical specifications must be met to become a registered PDP.
The timeline affecting all businesses is clear. However, depending on your industry, you may need to rely on a PDP to ensure you’re fully compliant with the new requirements. Key industries include:
- Any sector with significant supply chains
Companies that need to use a PDP to achieve compliance with the French mandate face an additional, critical decision in what is already a complex new process to navigate. The need for a PDP raises the stakes, making it crucial to have dependable answers to the following:
- Can my PDP support my business from the go-live date and for the long term?
- How can I be sure my PDP meets and keeps up with all our requirements under the French mandate?
- What else do I need to consider to find the solution best-suited to our company?
We’ve created a rundown of key questions to consider when choosing a PDP.
1. Can your PDP cope with the growing compliance obligations of these new e-invoicing processes?
In addition to the existing requirement for B2G invoices (Public Procurement), the French Mandate reform in 2024 will require B2B invoices to be exchanged electronically. As each B2B e-invoice is progressed, its status will shift. There are 14 status possibilities that need to be communicated between trading parties. Of these 14, 4 must also be automatically reported to the tax authority platform. The result will be a huge amount of additional data flowing in multiple directions.
Additionally, the transaction details of B2B cross-border sales and purchases – excluding non-EU imports of goods – and B2C sales and payment data for Services Sales must be reported electronically to the tax authority.
Meeting these processing and capacity demands will be a significant undertaking for solution providers. For context, 100 million B2G e-invoices are processed annually. With the addition of B2B e-invoicing to the French mandate, this number will now be in the billions.
Why does this matter?
You want to be able to trust that your PDP can cope with increased capacity and processing needs as well as evolving compliance requirements. You want to set yourself up for success for France as well as to deal with the growing obligations across Europe and beyond.
2. The only constant is change – is your PDP equipped to handle France’s e-invoicing regulations as these evolve?
The French Mandate is part of a global trend towards tax digitization. E-invoicing mandates are constantly changing, being modified and updated.
Take Italy, for example. Since January 2019, the e-invoicing mandate has been revised over 40 times.
The French tax authority has already released four versions of the upcoming French Mandate 2024 specifications and these will continue to evolve. Will your chosen software solution be robust enough to handle these changes so they don’t negatively impact your business? By asking the right questions, you may find that some aspiring PDPs, who also happen to be existing e-invoicing providers, are out of their depth.
On top of this, there’s the EU-wide VAT in the Digital Age initiative and the changes it will bring. Your future PDP must have the bandwidth and agility to keep up with the inevitability of these future developments. You will also need to consider whether this PDP can take care of your compliance needs beyond France too.
Trust is everything. A seasoned partner with experience navigating and solutioning for diverse e-invoicing obligations is important for your business. As government interest in business data grows, it’s essential to avoid blind spots, often created by complex supply chains, across multiple countries, within and beyond the EU. You’ll need a holistic view of your data that’s broader than e-invoicing and CTCs (continuous transaction controls). Think SAF-T and the other domestic obligations you face, alongside compliance challenges like VAT determination and periodic reporting.
If you’re also doing business beyond France, these need your attention too.
3. Are you aware of the total impact not meeting increasingly strict compliance requirements can have?
Let’s be clear. Despite what you may have heard about France’s e-invoicing mandate, this is not more of the same.
Yes, electronic invoice requirements used to be relatively manageable. They needed to be readable and unalterable, providing clear proof of the original supplier’s identity.
The scheme that will be introduced with France’s 2024 mandate complicates matters, adding requirements for:
- Consistency checks
- Specific formats
- Routing connectivity
Failure to meet the exact stipulations of the reform will result in invalid invoices.
Without legally valid invoices, not just VAT collection and VAT recovery are jeopardised: This would impact your company revenues and your trading partners, creating cash flow and profitability risks.
Make no mistake, the commercial and reputational impact of not meeting these minimum requirements are even more significant than the potential penalties.
4. Are you 100% confident of e-invoicing continuity?
French companies may be used to correcting e-invoice errors at a later date, but soon that will no longer be an option. The mandate ushers in continuous transaction controls, so any data or syntax errors will be glaring. If problems arise with e-invoicing, it won’t be possible to revert to paper or PDFs producing a significant cash flow risk for suppliers. E-invoices must be correct and compliant first time, every time.
Reliance on an experienced and knowledgeable PDP for e-invoicing and associated compliance obligations doesn’t just join the dots in your data. It makes good business sense.
5. Network size will no longer matter – is your would-be PDP saying otherwise?
For traditional e-invoicing, a large business network has been a supply chain advantage. A large network allows any one business to connect with a multitude of suppliers and buyers that choose to automate billing and invoice payments.
However, the interoperability requirements of the upcoming mandate erode the power of network size. Every supplier and buyer will need to connect through France’s e-invoicing system (Portail public de facturation or PPF) either directly, or indirectly through a PDP. Giving you more freedom when selecting the right PDP for your business.
While each registered PDP is required to cover both inbound and outbound invoice flows, they’re not required to cover all 35 specific use cases mentioned in the official documentation so far. Each use case needs an adapted treatment, which creates complexity that PDPs must address.
It’s important to ask any PDP you’re considering about their plans to address these use cases and any future ones that could arise as requirements evolve.
Looking for a PDP you can genuinely trust to take care of the complex obligations you face due to France’s upcoming e-invoice mandate?
Our experts remain close to the requirements of the French Mandate. Especially as these evolve. Make it easy for yourself; connect with us.
Speak to us about our future-proof tax compliance solution, for the French Mandate and beyond, or download our deep dive guide on preparing for France’s mandatory continuous transaction controls in 2024.