Claiming VAT from the UK

And why I wish I hadn't bothered

As I said in my previous post, one of the main reasons that I bothered to register for TVA in France is to be able to claim back the VAT that I pay in the UK when over there on business trips.  I've just completed the form to reclaim the VAT for 2018 and my god the paperwork involved is unbelievable!


First, you have to register to do so which I describe in my first post.  When you are finally ready to do your first return, log in, click on "Accéder à mes démarches" and you will be taken the VAT portal where you can start to fill in your claim.  The first part is fairly straight forward, involving picking the country, date etc. and filling in your bank account details for the repayment.  It's when it gets to the actual claim that it gets more laborious.  You have to enter the details shown in the image below for each and every invoice that you want to claim for.  This rapidly convinced me to reduce the claim from 39 items to 21 as the others were so low as not to be worth the time typing them in. 

You can upload a file but it has to be an XSD format XML file.  Call me thick but I couldn't work out how to get my Excel spreadsheet into the right format, so in the end I just gave up and did them individually.  The "code bien ou service" is given to you by a drop down box on the form and isn't too difficult to decide on. 

Once you're finished filling them in, you are given the option of uploading the invoices.  It said you had to if claiming fuel over £200 and I wasn't sure if that was a total or for individual invoices so opted to play safe and scan them into a PDF to attach.  If you are doing the same make sure that you don't have any spaces in the file name as it will be rejected.

Once that had uploaded I pressed send and am now crossing my fingers to see if I managed to get it right!

An update the next day - I have now received notification from HMRC that they have received my application, so at least I know that it has got through, even if they've not yet agreed to pay.