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WEU Opex Manager
05 July 2019
Read time
3 minutes

Does your business need to pay the French Eco Tax on EEE?

Not well-known but compulsory, environmental taxes apply to all companies doing business in France.

Companies that fail to pay the relevant ecological taxes in France face an administrative fine from the Ministry of Environment. The amount ranges from €0 to €7,500 per non-declared unit. The fine can double for repeat offenders.

What is the scope of the eco tax on EEE?

The Eco Tax (short for Ecological Taxation) covers the cost of household and industrial waste disposal for electric and electronic goods (EEE). This tax is due in all European Union member states, plus Norway and Switzerland.

Is my company liable for the eco tax on EEE?

If your company is involved in selling EEE into the French market, then yes. This is regardless of whether you are selling to individual consumers or other companies.

Your company is liable for the eco tax on EEE under the following cumulative conditions. 

  • you are a producer or distributor of goods
  • you produce or distribute electric or electronic goods encompassing those powered by electricity or electromagnetic fields (ie. all equipment using electrical outlets, batteries and accumulators)
  • you are the first agent to bring such products to France. 

It’s important to note that the eco tax on EEE applies even to distance sellers of these goods (internet retailers not established in France but selling to French customers).

How do I pay the eco tax on EEE?

The first step is to join a local government-approved eco organisation in charge of EEE collection, cleansing, recycling and collection of the eco tax contributions. The frequency and amount of eco taxation varies across Europe. In France, companies must submit a return annually or twice a year, based on of the number of goods declared. 

Calculation of the eco contribution is based on a fixed amount for each type of product and paid by unit sold (for example: 0.02€/USB keys sold, 0.45€/lamps sold between 3.5kg and 10kg). 

Three pre-payments are due to the French eco organisation. The eco organisation issues an invoice based on an estimation of the figures from the previous year. The last payment is the balance between the estimation and the real sales performed during the year. 

You must display eco tax contributions on your invoices.

Should I engage a tax representative?

A company that is not established in France must appoint a tax representative who will act on its behalf with the eco organisation, submit declarations and transfer payments. A company can appoint only one tax representative for all its French tax obligations. Our office in France is authorised to be a French tax representative. 

What other French environmental taxes do I need to know about?

The household waste contributions or the general tax on polluting activities (TGAP) is due from companies whose operations and products are considered polluting. The amount and rate depends on the categories of activity.

The household waste liability covers the cost of recycling all packages thrown away by individuals and must be paid by companies falling under the following cumulative criteria:

  • the company is an agent bringing goods purchased abroad to the French market
  • the end-user, who will throw the packaging away, is an individual - not a company.

As with the eco tax, the household waste liability applies to distance sellers. 

Talk to us

French environmental taxes can be difficult to navigate, but they are compulsory. Non-compliance comes with significant financial penalties for companies doing business in France. If you need help understanding your obligations in the country or require a tax representative in France, contact us today.

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