What is going on ?
The french financial law n° 2017-1837 of December 30th, 2017, so-called law of finances 2018, must be applied from January 1, 2018. It concerns all software called "logiciels de caisse" (cash software). It means software used to record and process sales of goods and services.
The purpose of this law is to combat VAT fraud and oblige French merchants to use, since January 1, 2018, a software that meets the requirements of inalterability, security, preservation and archiving of data for control of the tax administration.
Is my website a "logiciel de caisse" (Cash Software) ?
The problem comes from the interpretation of the term "Cash Software".
Since e-commerce payments are made mainly by cards, which are a very traceable, e-commerce websites could have considered themselves outside the scope of this new law. However, the french tax administration, has different interpretation of this term.
What is exactly a "Logiciel de caisse"?
3° bis Si elle effectue des livraisons de biens et des prestations de services ne donnant pas lieu à facturation conformément à l'article 289 du présent code et enregistre ces opérations au moyen d'un logiciel ou d'un système de caisse, utiliser un logiciel ou un système satisfaisant à des conditions d'inaltérabilité, de sécurisation, de conservation et d'archivage des données en vue du contrôle de l'administration fiscale, attestées par un certificat délivré par un organisme accrédité dans les conditions prévues à l'article L. 433-4 du code de la consommation ou par une attestation individuelle de l'éditeur, conforme à un modèle fixé par l'administration ;
which means that any website delivering non-billable goods or services must use a software
- that satisfies the conditions of inalterability, security, retention and archiving of data for the purpose of auditing by the french tax administration,
- is certified by a certificate issued by an accredited organization (conditions given in Article L. 433 -4 of the code of consumption) or by an individual certificate of the publisher, according to a model set by the administration.
In a FAQ dated July 28, 2017 the french administration also clarified what they mean by "Cash Software" (points 1 and 9) and that an e-commerce website is indeed a "cash register software", even if the e-merchant does not accept cash, and as such it is subject to the law requirements.
You may have read on internet different interpretation of the term "Cash Software", but I do not think there is any doubt. E-commerce websites are concerned by this law.
Note that the blogger Thomas Coëffé has also modified the initial version of his article, after he contacted an advocate.
Is my website concerned by this law?
You are concerned if:
- your company is french,
- your company is subjected to VAT and is not covered by the VAT exemption scheme, or carry out exclusively exempt transactions,
- your website use software - management, accounting or a cash register system - to record sales or service transactions,
- your company sells to individuals, i.e. when the clients are not subjected to VAT. The so called B2C business model; whatever the size of your business, except "auto-entrepreneurs".
You are NOT concerned if:
- your company is NOT french,
- your company is NOT subjected to VAT (auto-entrepreneurs),
- your website only does B2B,
- your website does not produce invoices (using for example an external system).
Is my extension concerned by this law?
If your extension records sales and produces invoices, your extension is concerned by this law when used by a french company.
What are the requirements to my extension to comply to this law?
Your extension must meet those requirements:
- Inalterable data: your extension must keep the data entered in its original state and record any modification operation,
- Security: your extension must secure the data and thus guarantee the return of transaction data in their original state,
- Retention: your extension must have closure-of-accounts exercise - at least annually - and data retention for 6 years. Your extension must also include a daily and monthly closure-of-accounts,
- Archiving: your extension must allow to archive and date the documents and to guarantee easy access to the tax administration. The french tax administration must be able to consult the data, in a tax file format.
Note: I do not know yet what is meant exactly by tax file format.
My extension meets the requirements, what's next ?
The law says that the company using your extension has to obtain a registered certificate or an individual certificate.
In France, two organizations are accredited to deliver registered certificate:
- the AFNOR certification / INFOCERT,
- the National Laboratory of Metrology and Testing (LNE).
Registered certificates are a long and expensive process.
You can also deliver an individual certificate. This certificate must conform to the model provided in BOI-LETTER-000242.
What are the risks if my website not in compliance?
From January 1, 2018 your company is liable of a fine of 7 500 € per management software, accounting or cash system concerned, in case of a control by the DGFIP (Direction générale des Finances publiques). The company then has 60 days to comply, otherwise the fine can be applied again.
The french tax administration will be comprehensive for the next 12 months, ie until 31 December 2018.
What about the 2 ecommerce extensions for Joomla : VirtueMart and Hikashop?
Those 2 major ecommerce extensions for Joomla VirtueMart and Hikashop are aware of this new law, and will comply to it.
You can participate to the discussions on their forums: