France

Welcome to the high-level summary of Covid-19 related actions by the French Government. The details and links below have been split between “Tax Filings Affected”, “Government Employee Wages Benefits Programs” and “Government Loan Programs”; and are extracts from the more detailed information available on the websites of the French Praxity Participant firms’ websites, links to which are available at the bottom of this page. Praxity Participant Firms in France are Mazars and Talenz Axe Conseils

Tax Filing Affected

VAT Measures

  • Payment and declaration of VAT is not postponed.
  • The DGFIP has instructed its departments to accelerate the refund of VAT credits.
  • To simplify the obligations of taxpayers during the containment period, they can declare for March 2020 (VAT return to be filed in April 2020) and April 2020 (VAT return to be filed in May, if the containment period is postponed) 80% of the VAT due in February (50% for taxpayers who are highly impacted by the containment).
  • Regularization of the VAT due will occur after the containment period.

Justification of deductible VAT - Billing terms

  • Paper invoices can be scanned and sent as PDF files without being sent in their paper form. The right to deduct VAT is maintained, even if the scanned invoice received is not an original according to French tax rules.
  • Temporary exemption of customs duties and VAT from certain imports.
  • Medical devices linked to COVID-19 can be imported free of VAT.
  • More broadly, by two decrees dated March 30 and April 6, 2020, the list of goods necessary to rescue populations exempt from customs duties has been extended. This extension concerns in particular hydroalcoholic gels, protective masks, gloves, respirators, etc. These imports are therefore exempt from customs duties, regardless of the status of the importer (public body or private person), for imports occurring since April 1, 2020.
  • Exemption from regularization of deductible VAT on certain donations of sanitary equipment
  • By a ruling decision dated April 7, 2020, the tax authorities admit that donations of sanitary materials for the benefit of health establishments, social and medico-social establishments, health professionals and health services, State and local authorities do not give rise to repayment of the VAT deducted during their acquisition.
  • The sanitary materials targeted are: Masks, Hydroalcoholic gels, Protective clothing, and The respirators.
  • The donation must take place during the period of state of health emergency (fixed, as a reminder, until May 24, 2020 but subject to extension).

Reduced VAT rate on certain goods useful in the fight against COVID 19

  • The second amended 2020 Bill of Finance, adopted on April 23, 2020, published to the official journal April 26, 2020 provides for the application of a VAT rate of 5.5% to intra-community sales and acquisitions of masks and suitable protective gear to control the spread of COVID-19.
  • We understand at this stage that, this reduced VAT rate applies to transactions in which the tax event occurred or will occur between March 16, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
  • Likewise, intra-Community sales and acquisitions of personal care products adapted to the fight against the virus will be subject to a VAT rate of 5.5%. This reduced rate applies to transactions for which the tax event occurred or will occur between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
  • A decree to appear will fix the list and the technical characteristics of the goods concerned.

Wages tax

  • Payment can be postponed for 3 months without justification. A rebate can be obtained upon justification. The limit date to file the returns has not been postponed.

Social solidarity contribution

  • The 2020 campaign to declare the elements serving as a basis for the Social Solidarity Contribution of Societies (C3S) is now open.
  • The deadline for filing the declaration on the net-entreprises.fr website remains 15 May. No exemption from the declaration is planned.
  • Nevertheless, in the event of payment difficulties, companies can contact URSSAF via the contact form accessible via their personal space.

Corporate Income Tax Measures

  • Filling and payment of the balance of 2019 Corporate tax

- Filling and payment of balance of 2019 Corporate tax is postponed to June 30th, 2020 (instead of May 15th, 2020). - For large companies (i.e. with more than 5,000 employees or an annual turnover exceeding EUR 1.5 billion) and groups, the extension of payment limits is conditioned upon the absence of dividend distribution and share buybacks between March 27 and December 31, 2020.

  • Request for tax rebate - Companies may apply for a direct tax rebate. - Such requests for discounts must be justified on a case-by-case basis and may be granted only in the event of specific difficulties which cannot be overcome by deferring payment. - We recommend ensuring that the requested remission is fully substantiated and justified by a statement of the operating context, financial issues and any other elements that may be relevant to support the request. - In practice, the request for remission requires the following information to be provided: o Company name and SIRET number of your company; o Taxes concerned, due dates and amount; o Monthly sales from January to May 2019 and January to May 2020; o Statement of other debts to be honored (nature, amount and due date) ; o Cash flow level of the company; o Other supporting evidence; o List of invoices awaiting payment from utilities (organization, subject of the invoice, amount). - The form should be sent to the tax office to which the company belongs. - For the largest companies or groups (more than 5,000 employees or € 1.5 billion in turnover), the discount is granted subject to the commitment, in the request, not to pay dividends, or to proceed to share buybacks between March 27 and December 31, 2020
  • Request for immediate reimbursement of tax credits - The tax authorities remind that refundable tax credits can be refunded immediately upon request. The procedure to be applied is the normal procedure for claiming refunds of tax credits. - This application involves filing the corporate tax balance statement (No. 2572), accompanied by the declaration(s) relating to the tax credit(s) (mainly declaration 2069-RCI) and the refund application (No. 2573). This filing is made via the professional area of the companies concerned. - CICE and research tax credit receivables that are coming due may also be reimbursed immediately. - Thus, for companies whose fiscal year coincides with the calendar year, these are receivables recognized for the 2016 fiscal year. Furthermore, companies meeting the definition of Community SMEs may also have their research tax credit claim reimbursed before the filing of the tax package.

Option to the Consolidated tax group system

  • The option for the 2020 financial year consolidated tax group system can intervene until May 31st, 2020. Option to the Corporate income tax system
  • No additional due date is granted to companies wishing to opt for corporate tax for the financial year 2020. This option must always be exercised before the end of the third month of the financial year for which the company wishes to be subject to this tax, that is, for a company which opened its financial year on January 1st, 2020, before March 31st, 2020.
  • Deadlines may nevertheless be granted by the Tax Service upon request and upon justification.

Income Tax

  • Companies subjects to income tax - The DGFiP announced a postponement of the deadline to June 30, 2020 for filing specified tax returns (BNC, BIC), including for the returns of civil real estate companies not subject to corporate tax.
  • Self-employed workers

- For self-employed workers, Bercy points out that it is possible to modulate the rate and the advance levies at source at any time. - It is also possible to defer the payment of withholding tax instalments on business income from one month to the next up to three times if the instalments are monthly, or from one quarter to the next if the instalments are quarterly. - All these steps are accessible via the private area on impots.gouv.fr, heading " Gérer mes prélèvements à la source", it being specified that any intervention before the 22nd of the month will be taken into account for the following month.

  • Individuals - The French Tax Administration (FTA) grants an additional period for filing tax returns: - Thus, the online reporting service will be open from Monday 20 April until the following deadlines established by department : Departments 01 to 19 and French nonresident taxpayers: Thursday 4 June 2020 at 11.59 pm; Departments 20 to 54: Monday 8 June 2020 at 11.59 pm; Departments 55 to 976: Thursday 11 June 2020 at 11.59 pm - For paper declarations (exceptional case): receipt of paper declarations (only for taxpayers who declared paper in 2019) from 20 April 2020 until mid-May (depending on postal service) - The deadline is Friday, June 12 at 11:59 pm. - The second amended 2020 Bill of Finance adopted on April 23rd, 2020 (to be published in the Official Journal), provides for various income tax measures: - For the year 2020, the ceiling for exemption from overtime of 5,000 euros is increased to 7,500 euros. Overtime worked outside the period between March 16th, 2020 and the end of the State of health emergency (to date, set for May 24th, 2020) is kept within the limit of the ceiling of 5,000 euros. No conditions related to the sector of activity or the nature of the work performed during these overtime hours are formulated. This measure is therefore general and not limited to sectors directly affected by the COVID 19 epidemic; - The exceptional premium that may be paid by public organizations to agents particularly mobilized during the State of health emergency to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic will be exempt from income tax, social contributions and charges as well as taxes and contributions based on wages. - The ceiling for expenses eligible for a reduction of income tax of 75% of their amount is fixed, for the year 2020, at 1,000 euros per tax household instead of the 552 euros initially planned. As a reminder, this tax reduction is applicable to donations made to non-profit organizations helping people in difficulty (provision of meals and care, housing assistance).

Business added value contribution (CVAE)

  • The deadline for filing the CVAE statement (1329-DEF), as well as the payment of the CVAE 2019 balance, is postponed until June 30th.
  • On the other hand, for companies with credit, that is to say those whose balance statement shows a refund of the credit, the deadline for filing the statement 1329-DEF is fixed for May 5th.
  • No deferral of declaration is planned at this stage regarding the CVAE. Companies required to fill the 1330-CVAE print remain required to do so by May 4 at the latest

Company real estate tax (CET) & Property tax For taxpayers who have opted for a monthly contract for the payment of the Company Real Estate Contribution or Property Tax, payments can be suspended via the tax authorities website or via the Levy Centre. If this option is used, the remaining amount will be deducted from the balance, without penalty Direct Tax Measures

  • Companies can ask the tax authorities to defer without penalty the payment of their next direct tax installments (advance payment of corporation tax, payroll tax, CFE, CVAE).
  • The form should be sent to the tax office to which the company belongs.
  • The deferral shall be granted on request, without justification, for a period of three months. At the end of the three months, the sums must be paid (unless the scheme is extended).
  • With regard to the largest companies or groups (more than 5,000 employees or € 1.5 billion in turnover), the deferral is granted subject to the commitment, in the request, not to pay dividends, nor to repurchase shares between March 27 and December 31, 2020.
  • The possibility of postponement has been extended to April. Nothing is planned yet for May and beyond.

Government Employee Wages Benefits Programs

  • A simplified and reinforced use of the partial activity system open to companies in situation of cyclical economic difficulties. This system, also called partial unemployment, enables companies to receive aid which finances the loss of income caused by the reduction in the working time of the employees concerned. Request form: https://activitepartielle.emploi.gouv.fr/aparts/. Companies have 30 days from the date of cessation of activity to request partial activity; compensation is retroactive
  • The Government has also decided to reinforce compensation paid to employees in a situation of partial activity: the Minister of Labor announced on March 13 that partial unemployment, normally compensated by the State up to the minimum wage, will be fully supported (100%) by the State, up to 4.5 times the minimum wage, as part of the COVID-19 epidemic.
  • Healthcare Professionals- Allows professionals to estimate a theoretical amount of the compensation to which they can claim, and to request a deposit on the basis of the estimate made. This system aims to provide the means to cover expenses throughout the period and thus facilitate the gradual resumption of activity under the best conditions. Beneficiaries include: Doctors (generalists and specialists), Dental surgeons, Midwives, Nurses, Masseurs-physiotherapists, Speech therapists, Orthoptists, and Pharmacists.
  • See member firm articles for further guidance related to HR and Payroll: Mazars, Talenz Axe Conseils

Solitary fund for small enterprises

  • A created a solidarity fund for the smallest businesses affected by the economic consequences of the current epidemic support was implemented by Decree 2020-371 of 30 March 2020. Decree 2020-433 of 16 April 2020 makes further changes.
  • Eligibility to the solidarity fund - This aid is intended for natural and legal persons carrying out an economic activity before 1 February 2020, irrespective of their status or tax regime (small enterprises, the self-employed, the liberal professions, micro-entrepreneurs, etc.), subject to compliance with the following conditions : Have a workforce of 10 employees or less ; Have a turnover of less than € 1 million for the last fiscal year; Have a taxable profit plus any sums paid to the director of less than €60,000 for the last fiscal year ended;
  • The natural persons who are beneficiaries or, in the case of majority managers of legal entities, must not be holders, on 1 March 2020, of a full-time employment contract or an old-age pension and must not have benefited, during the period between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2020, from daily social security benefits in excess of €800.
  • Details: When a company owns related companies, eligibility for the scheme is assessed by aggregating the data of these related companies with the data of the company applying for the aid.
  • Details have been provided by the Ministry of Action and Public Accounts, particularly in the definition of taxable profit.
  • For legal persons subject to corporate tax, the concept of taxable profit means taxable profit before corporate tax (appearing on the declaration 2065) increased by the sums paid to the directors, including social charges if they have been deducted from the taxable profit (TNS or equivalent employee).
  • The solidarity fund was increased for the month of March and will be renewed for the month of April.
  • It was clarified on April 15 that farmers who are members of a joint farming group (GAEC), artist-authors, companies in receivership and in safeguard proceedings can also benefit from the solidarity fund. Conditions for beneficiating the solidarity fund
  • Financial assistance for loss of turnover up to €1,500 will be granted to eligible persons in one of the following two situations:
  • Have been banned from receiving the public by decision of the administration between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2020 (accommodation, catering, cultural and sporting activities, events, fairs and exhibitions, etc.) ;
  • Have suffered a monthly decline in turnover of at least 70% during the period of March 2020, compared to March N-1. The rate is 50% as of April 2th 2020.
  • For companies created after March 2019, the decrease in turnover in March 2020 should be assessed in relation to the average monthly turnover
  • For entrepreneurs and companies employing at least one employee (fixed-term or open-ended contracts as of March 1st, 2020), an additional aid of 2,000 euros (which may soon be increased to 5,000 euros) may be obtained if they are unable to settle their debts due within thirty days and if their request for a cash loan of a reasonable amount made since March 1st, 2020 to their bank has been refused or has remained without a response within ten days. How to benefit from the solidarity fund
  • The request for compensation of 1,500 euros for the month of March must be made no latter that April 30, 2020.
  • After logging in to the special area, the request can be made via the secure messaging system, by selecting the reason "I am requesting help for companies weakened by the COVID 19 epidemic".
  • The request for aid for the month of April is made electronically, by 31 May 2020 at the latest, via a declaration on the impots.gouv.fr website.
  • The second amended 2020 Bill of Finance adopted on April 23rd, 2020 (to be published in the Official Journal provides for exemption from corporate tax, income tax and all social contributions from this aid.

Government Loan and Support Programs

  • In the event of proven difficulty, the State (through Bpifrance) can guarantee up to 90% of the cash loans that companies (SMEs and mid-caps) may need. The President of the Republic announced a state guarantee for bank loans granted to companies up to 300 billion euros.
  • A toll-free number (0 969 370 240) has been operational since March 10 to refer companies to Bpifrance regional offices for issues related to their treasury.
  • Companies can request the support of the State and the Banque de France (credit mediation) in their requests for rescheduling of loans and moratoriums with their banking establishments for the next 6 months. - Contact form for the Credit Mediator: https://mediateur-credit.banque-france.fr/contactez-nous_mediation_credit
  • The Minister of Economy and Finance also announced the creation of a solidarity fund of 1 billion euros minimum "for micro-entrepreneurs, for small businesses, for the self-employed, who have less than one million turnover "and who" lost, between March 2019 and March 2020, 70% of their turnover ".
  • For VSEs and SMEs, invoices (water, gas, rents, electricity) may be temporarily suspended (consultations are carried out by the State with major donors and large supplier companies).
  • Business Mediator (https://www.economie.gouv.fr/mediateur-des-entreprises ) for businesses that face a conflict in their business relationships with customers and / or suppliers. Business Ombudsman contact form: https://www.economie.gouv.fr/mediateur-des-entreprises/contactez-mediateur-des-entreprises
  • For certain sectors (construction, chemicals), an acceleration of the approval procedures for new sources of supply, in order to support the sectors while respecting social, environmental and European standards.
  • The Government has devoted a maximum of 80 million euros to “Frontier Venture” fund to help startups by investing a maximum of 5 million euros or 50% of the equity investment pool.

Links to Our Member Firms

Further Covid-19 advice

Talenz Axe Conseils

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To find more information on other countries

The information contained herein on Covid-19 government measures within the G8, consists solely of information that can be found on the websites of one or more Praxity Participant firms, and has not been written, modified or verified by Praxity, it’s staff, officers or directors.