LEGAL PRACTICE: INVOICING RULES - FRENCH LAW NO. 2008-776 AUGUST 4, 2008 - AMENDED ARTICLE L. 441-7 COMMERCIAL CODE - NOTION OF “DISTINCT SERVICES” - "DUTREIL LAW" AUGUST 2, 2005 - TAX CODE - VAT DIRECTIVE - LATE PAYMENT INTEREST - ARTICLE L. 441.3

Invoicing rules under the French Modernisation of Economy Law

Law no. 2008-776 dated August 4, 2008 on the modernization of the economy (“LME”) amended article L. 441-7 of the Commercial Code, inter alia by eliminating the notion of “distinct services” that had been introduced by the Dutreil law dated August 2, 2005. Certain consequences ensue from this amendment in terms of invoicing rules as well issues as regards its compatibility with the principles governing invoicing rules such as laid down by the Commercial Code, the General Tax Code and the VAT Directive. The LME has also increased the minimum late payment interest to three times the legal interest rate and introduced the obligation for debtors to pay their invoices within a maximum period computed from the date the invoice was issued. These new provisions, while not amending the letter of article L. 441.3 of the Commercial Code laying down invoicing rules, do have consequences on invoicing rules and some of them substantially modify the invoicing rules laid down by article L. 441-3 of the Commercial Code, thus raising questions about the validity of the new rules introduced by the LME.

I. La facturation des prestations de service relevant de la catégorie des “ex-services distincts” 1. Les modifications apportées par l'article L. 441-7 C. Com. 1. La loi Dutreil du 2 août 2005 a complété le dispositif antérieur résultant notamment de la loi Galland du 1er juillet 1996 et de la loi NRE du 15 mai 2001 en ajoutant une nouvelle catégorie de services susceptibles d'être rendus par le distributeur à son fournisseur, désignés de “services distincts”. Cette catégorie était définie par défaut et recouvrait tout service ne relevant pas des obligations d'achat et de vente et ne répondant pas à la définition de la coopération commerciale. Le législateur a connu un succès inespéré puisque la catégorie des services distincts a enregistré une inflation progressive et est devenue, à l'aube de la loi LME,

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Nathalie Pétrignet, Invoicing rules under the French Modernisation of Economy Law, September 2009, Concurrences Review N° 3-2009, Art. N° 26514, pp. 163-167

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