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How to invoice in France: Tips for compliance and efficiency

How to invoice in France: Tips for compliance and efficiency

Master crucial invoicing rules and best practices for French businesses effortlessly. Ensure compliance, streamline financial operations, and boost efficiency.

September 22, 2023

As a business owner, invoicing is an essential part of your daily operations. Invoicing is how you get paid for your goods or services, and it's crucial that you do it correctly to avoid any legal or financial issues. In this article, we'll cover the rules and best practices for invoicing in France.

The basics of invoicing

Before we dive into the rules and best practices, let's cover the basics of invoicing. An invoice is a document that details the goods or services provided by a business to its customers. It includes information such as the date of the transaction, the quantity of goods or services provided, the price, and any taxes or fees.

In France, an invoice must include the following information:

  • The word "facture" (invoice)
  • The date of the invoice
  • The name and address of the business issuing the invoice
  • The name and address of the customer
  • A unique invoice number
  • A detailed description of the goods or services provided
  • The quantity of goods or services provided
  • The price of the goods or services, excluding VAT
  • The VAT rate applied
  • The total amount including VAT
  • The payment terms

Electronic invoicing

Electronic invoicing, or e-invoicing, is becoming increasingly popular in France. E-invoicing is the process of sending invoices electronically, rather than through the mail. It's faster, more efficient, and can save businesses a lot of time and money.

In France, e-invoicing is legal and is subject to the same rules and regulations as paper invoicing. However, there are a few additional requirements for e-invoicing. For example, e-invoices must be sent in a structured electronic format, and they must be authenticated and signed by the sender.

Invoice retention

In France, businesses are required to keep copies of their invoices for at least 10 years. This is to ensure that businesses can provide evidence of their transactions in the event of a tax audit or legal dispute.

In addition to keeping copies of invoices, businesses should also keep track of payment records. This includes keeping records of when invoices were sent, when they were paid, and any payment disputes or issues.

Late payment penalties

Late payment is a common problem for businesses in France. To discourage late payment, the French government has introduced penalties for late payment. These penalties can be significant, and they increase as the payment delay continues.

For example, if a payment is more than 30 days late, the creditor can charge a penalty of 40 euros or more. If the payment is more than 60 days late, the creditor can charge a penalty of 8% of the total amount due, in addition to the initial penalty.

Best practices for invoicing

To ensure that your invoicing process is efficient and effective, here are some best practices to follow:

  • Use an invoicing software: Invoicing software can automate many of the invoicing processes and make it easier to manage invoices and payments.
  • Be clear and concise: Make sure that your invoices are clear and easy to understand. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon.
  • Be timely: Send invoices promptly after the transaction has taken place, and follow up with customers who haven't paid on time.
  • Keep good records: Keep copies of your invoices and payment records for at least 10 years.
  • Be professional: Invoicing is a professional communication, so make sure your invoices are professional-looking and free from errors.


In conclusion, invoicing is a critical aspect of running a business in France, and it's essential that you do it correctly. By following the rules and best practices outlined in this article, you can ensure that your invoices are legal, efficient, and effective. Remember to keep good records, offer multiple payment options, and follow up on overdue payments.

In addition to these best practices, there are a few additional tips that can help you streamline your invoicing process:

  • Offer multiple payment options: Make it easy for customers to pay by offering multiple payment options, such as credit card, PayPal, or bank transfer.
  • Use recurring invoicing: If you have customers who make regular purchases from you, consider setting up recurring invoicing to save time and ensure timely payments.
  • Set clear payment terms: Make sure that your payment terms are clear and easy to understand. Include information such as when payment is due and what penalties will be applied for late payment.
  • Follow up on overdue payments: If a customer hasn't paid on time, don't be afraid to follow up with them. Send them a reminder email or give them a call to discuss the issue.
  • Using OCR invoice processing services : such as those provided by Dataleon, can also help streamline the invoicing process and reduce errors associated with manual data entry. By doing so, you can avoid any legal or financial issues and keep your business running smoothly.

By following these tips and best practices, you can make your invoicing process as efficient and effective as possible. Invoicing may not be the most glamorous part of running a business, but it's essential for keeping your cash flow healthy and your business running smoothly.


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