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Guidance: Second-hand goods, works of art, collectibles or antiques – Transactions carried out with countries outside the European Union

Deliveries of second-hand goods, works of art, collectibles or antiques exported to countries or territories outside the tax territory of the European Union are exempt from value added tax (VAT), in application of I of article 262 of the general tax code (CGI) . This exemption concerns the margin or the total price according to the regime applied to the good.

The taxable seller must provide proof of this exemption by means of copy no. 3 of the export declaration filed in his name and stamped by the customs service at the point of exit from the territory of the European Union.

A. Exports by taxable dealers

10

The export of second-hand items by traders gives rise to the right to recovery, under ordinary conditions, of the VAT which has been charged on the acquisition, importation or first use of the item, provided that this tax is shown separately on the invoice (or import notice) relating to this acquisition, or has been paid for self-delivery or intra-Community acquisition.

20

The system of taxation on the difference between the total amount of sales and the total amount of purchases ( III § 250 to 350 of BOI-TVA-SECT-90-20-20 ) does not come up against any particular difficulty of application when all sales of second-hand items are subject to VAT.

On the other hand, when part of these sales escapes taxation, the deduction of the corresponding purchases is no longer justified; this situation arises in particular in the case of export sales of second-hand objects.

It is therefore up to the taxpayers who make such sales and who have chosen the global system to reduce the amount of their deductible purchases from the purchase value of the objects they have exported. This purchase value, when it is not known exactly, can be reconstituted by the interested parties under their own responsibility and subject to the right of control of the administration, by means of coefficients drawn from the accounts.

This rule applies to sales outside the tax territory of the Union of second-hand goods, works of art, collectibles or antiques.

It also applies to deliveries to another State of the European Union when the taxable reseller has opted for the application of the general regime and the delivery is exempt pursuant to I of Article 262 . ter of CGI .

On the other hand, it does not concern sales made to another Member State of the European Union for which the taxable dealer remains subject to VAT on the margin because the exemption provided for in Article 262 ter of CGI is not applicable.

B. Exports by taxable users

30

Exports and deliveries of movable investment property used by liable persons and intended for export, which concern movable investment property used by liable persons, are deemed to be taxed. The transferor is correspondingly exempt from any adjustment and may benefit, if the property has not given rise to a deduction or has given rise to a partial deduction, from an additional deduction calculated according to the rules of common law ( CGI, ann. II, 207 ).

II. Imports

40

Under the terms of 1 of I of article 291 of the CGI , imports of goods are subject to VAT. Imports of second-hand goods, works of art, antiques and collectibles are therefore subject to the tax like imports of new goods.

Subject to the exemptions appearing in II-A § 70 to 100 , imports of second-hand goods, works of art, collectibles or antiques are subject to VAT under the conditions of common law in when the importation is considered to have taken place, regardless of the quality of the importer.

It is recalled that pursuant to 2 of I of article 291 of the CGI, the importation of a good is considered to have been carried out either at the time of the entry into France of these goods, or at the time of their putting in free circulation following one of the suspensive customs regimes referred to in b of article 291 of the CGI. For more details on the determination of the chargeable event and the chargeability of the VAT due on importation, please refer to VII § 240 to 248 of the BOI-TVA-BASE-20-40 .

50

The import tax base is made up of the customs value of the goods plus ancillary costs ( CGI, art. 292 ).

In certain cases, in particular for goods imported with a view to possible sale under the temporary admission regime, the import tax base constituted by the value of the goods on the day of release for free circulation is as follows:

  • if the first purchaser of the goods appears as importer on the customs declaration, the tax base is the price paid by the first purchaser; for public sales carried out by an auctioneer acting as an opaque intermediary, this is the price paid by the auctioneer to his principal, i.e. the hammer price minus the commission and other costs owed by the principal, reduced excluding taxes;
  • if the owner of the goods appears as an importer on the customs declaration, the tax base is the price paid by the first buyer, net of tax.

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Goods placed under the customs procedure of temporary admission with total exemption from duties within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 establishing the Union Customs Code (UCC ) and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 of 24 November 2015 laying down detailed rules for the application of certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Customs Code of the Union are not considered as imported as long as they remain under this regime.

It is recalled that for second-hand goods, the benefit of this regime is limited to imports with a view to public sale.

On importation, without prejudice to the possible application of the exemptions provided for in 8° of II of article 291 of the CGI and in 4° of III of article 291 of the CGI ( II § 110 to 150 ), the tax owed by persons not subject to and not identified with VAT is paid to the customs service. Persons subject or identified to VAT declare and pay VAT on their turnover declaration (CA3) under the conditions of common law ( II-K § 290 to 335 of BOI-TVA-DECLA-20-20-10 -20 ).

A. Exemptions applicable to imports

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Imports of works of art by their author or his successors in title are subject to VAT under the conditions of common law. The same applies to imports made following a direct purchase from the author or his successors in title.

The works may, if necessary, be placed under the temporary admission regime exempt from duties and taxes for exhibition and possible sale ( II § 40 to 150 ).

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Two cases of import exemption are provided for:

  • goods intended for establishments approved by the Minister of Culture;
  • imported goods which are the subject of an intra-Community delivery which is itself exempt from VAT.

1. Special case of goods definitively imported within the framework of Community tax exemptions  

90

Under the terms of 2° of II of article 291 of the CGI , collectibles and works of art of an educational, scientific or cultural nature, not intended for sale and imported by museums, galleries and other establishments approved by the customs administration and indirect rights to receive these exempt items are exempt from VAT. Exemption is only granted when the objects are imported free of charge or when they are imported for payment but are not delivered by a taxable person ( CGI, ann. IV, art. 50 octies, 33° ).

2. Special case of imports made by individuals 

100

Antiques or collectibles and stamps imported by individuals are subject to VAT at their own rate, on the customs value as defined by article 292 of the CGI .

However, the exchanges of stamps between private individuals, carried out without payment, benefit, under certain conditions, from the duty-free import.

B. Goods imported by establishments approved by the Minister of Culture

1. Transactions concerned

110

Under the terms of 8° of II of article 291 of the CGI , the exemption concerns imports of works of art, stamps, collectibles or antiques, made directly by establishments approved by the Minister. in charge of culture.

In accordance with II of article 262 ter of the CGI , the exemption also applies to intra-Community acquisitions of these goods made by these establishments.

120

Benefit from the VAT exemption, provided for in 8° of II of article 291 of the CGI when importing works of art, all national museums, state museums, departments and municipalities that report either to the Minister in charge of Culture, or to the various ministerial departments (National Education, Armed Forces, Economy and Finance, etc.).

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Also benefit from this exemption, the foundations, associations and other establishments which justify, during the importation, of their approval by the Minister of Culture either by the preliminary visa of the attestation, or by a certificate of approval given in general.

2. Conditions of exemption

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For establishments not subject to and not identified with VAT, the exemption is subject to the production, in support of the import declaration, of the certificate provided for in article 50 decies of annex IV to the CGI ( BOI -FORM-000010 ) signed by the director of the beneficiary establishment (curator or qualified representative) and undertaking:

  • not to transfer, free of charge or against payment, except to another beneficiary establishment, the imported objects without having first paid the VAT to the customs service;
  • to provide the customs office of import, within thirty days, with a certificate of acceptance of the objects imported into the inventory of the beneficiary establishment.

Establishments subject or identified to VAT which declare these imports exempt on their declaration of turnover must keep in support of their accounts any element likely to justify the application of the exemption.

C. Imported goods subject to an intra-Community supply exempt from VAT

150

4° of III of article 291 of the CGI exempts from the VAT due on importation the goods sent or transported to another Member State of the European Union, when they are the subject, by the importer, of an intra-Community delivery itself exempt from tax under 1° and 2° of I of article 262 ter of the CGI .

This exemption applies to imports of second-hand goods, works of art, collectibles or antiques which are the subject of an intra-Community delivery following their importation under the general scheme.

III. Franchise purchases

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III of article 275 of the CGI does not allow taxable dealers who submit their deliveries of second-hand goods, works of art, collectibles or antiques to the margin scheme to buy or to import such goods tax-free.

The possibility of using the duty-free purchase regime is therefore limited:

  • to imports of second-hand goods, since the applicable provisions do not allow these goods to then be subject to the margin scheme;
  • purchases, intra-community acquisitions or imports of works of art, collectibles or antiques, when the taxable dealer has not exercised the option provided for in article 297 B of the CGI for subject deliveries of such goods to taxation on the margin;
  • intra-Community purchases or acquisitions of second-hand goods, works of art, collectibles or antiques for which the seller has applied the rules of the general VAT regime (taxation on the total price or intra-Community delivery exempt or export).

170

Goods which have been acquired or imported free of duty must, when resold, be subject to the general VAT regime (taxation on the total price in the event of resale in France). It is therefore up to the taxable dealers who use this possibility to separately track in their accounts the goods acquired or imported duty-free from other goods that may come under the margin scheme.

180

For the calculation of the quota of duty-free purchases, all exports and deliveries made by the taxable dealer according to the rules of the general scheme (exempt deliveries on the basis of I of Article 262 ter of the CGI ).

Source: gouv.fr

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