You may need to have all your invoices and credit notes certified if you’re based in France and have an online store using WooCommerce.
You’re probably asking yourself:
- Why must invoices and credit notes be certified?
- Do these rules apply to me?
- How can I ensure I’m in good standing?
We have answers.
Why do I need to have my invoices certified?
The French VAT Fraud Prevention law – article 88 of the Finance Act n°2015-1785, to be specific – requires certain merchants to use a “secure” cash register system or software.
The goal of this law is to prevent people from hiding income, thereby reducing VAT fraud that amounts to 17 billion euros a year.
What is considered a “cash register system or software”? Here’s the government definition*:
« A cash register software or system is a computer system with cash register functionality, which stores and records payments received in exchange for a sale of goods or services separate from the merchant’s accounts, i.e., the payment does not automatically generate a simultaneous accounting entry. »
Put simply: It’s any software or system that issues sales transaction documents, such as invoices, credit notes, or sales receipts.
To be certified and compliant, a payment register software or system needs to respect these four rules:
- Inalterability: Data from payment operations is recorded, stored, and cannot be modified.
- Security: Data is secured and returned to France’s Administration Fiscale, guaranteed to be in its original state.
- Retention/Conservation: Data must be kept for six years with annual, monthly, and daily closures.
- Archiving: Data is frozen and stored, classified by date, and easily readable by the Administration as part of a control.
Compliance control and sanctions
You need to confirm the compliance of your cash register system with a certification attestation. The Administration Fiscale can check on your systems at any time and without notice.
If you cannot provide a certificate or an attestation, you’ll be fined €7,500 per software/system. You will have 60 days to comply, at which point you’ll again be fined €7,500 if you haven’t done so. The 60-day deadline and fine will repeat until you are certified, so lack of certification can become a pricey proposition.
Who must follow the VAT Fraud Prevention Law?
Let’s start at the beginning. First, you need to know if this law impacts you.
You need to comply if:
- You are subject to VAT.
- You sell products and/or services to customers who are not subject to VAT, such as private individuals.
- You use a cash register system or software.
- You register payment transactions.
- You accept means of payment other than credit card or transfer payment via a credit institution or bank.
It excludes any professional who doesn’t pay VAT, self-entrepreneurs, and micro-companies, as well as B2B companies selling exclusively to professionals. If you have both customers who are subject to VAT and customers who are not, you’re affected.
If you’d like to make absolutely sure that you’re required to comply with the VAT fraud prevention laws, the government offers an online test in French you can use to double check.
Can I comply with the law with WooCommerce?
This anti-fraud law applies to brick-and-mortar stores and eCommerce websites, so you’ll need to certify the credit notes from orders on your WooCommerce site if you meet conditions above.
Thankfully, you can use an extension to maintain compliance while simultaneously improving other areas of your business operations.
VosFactures – AntiFraud Customized Invoices syncs your orders both within and outside of WooCommerce, so no matter how you sell, you can keep track of everything in one central place. Plus, everything is French Anti-Fraud VAT law compliant.
But it’s not just for businesses based in France. If you’re outside of the country, but still subject to the Anti-Fraud law, your business can use it to meet the regulations, too.
While compliance, in this case, is the most important feature of VasFactures, you can also accomplish a lot of other helpful tasks with the extension:
- Keep your branding consistent by modifying one of 19 invoice templates or creating your own from scratch.
- Access invoices from both your WooCommerce dashboard and VosFactures account.
- Decide between sending invoices manually or issuing them automatically based on order status. Plus, choose from a variety of delivery methods for privacy and customization.
- Enjoy seamless integration with a number of popular extensions — it even accounts for orders created automatically with WooCommerce Subscriptions.
- Improve your business operations by using a single program to perform other functions like issuing estimates, submitting client orders, and making delivery notes.
- Send your accountant reports they’ll love — download journals that work with traditional accounting software or in Excel, PDF, XML format, and more.
If you’ve determined that the French VAT Fraud Prevention law applies to you, this extension is a must-have. Follow this guide to get started.
* « boi-tva-decla-30-10-30 – BOFiP – Impots.gouv.fr. » Inquiry date: January 23, 2019. http://bofip.impots.gouv.fr/bofip/10691-PGP.html.