Request payment and bill a government contract

Verified 08 January 2024 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

The company which has awarded the public contract may request payment of its services only where they have been performed and the public purchaser has established that they are in conformity with the signed contract. Upon receipt of the invoice via the Chorus Pro platform, the public purchaser has a maximum delay to make the payment. If this time limit is exceeded, default interest and a lump sum payment is due.

In the case of public accounts, payment is made once the service has been provided: this is the rule of payment after "service done".

The public purchaser verifies the conformity of what has been delivered or realized (referred to as a service finding). It then attests to the conformity of what has been achieved: it is the certification of the service performed.

The contract holder may then invoice.

All holders of a public contract must send their invoice to the public purchaser in electronic form via the Chorus Pro portal.

Chorus Pro Portal

Several methods of deposit are possible:

  • Portal Mode : allows you to deposit the invoice directly with the buyer in electronic format. This is usually a pdf format.
  • EDI Mode : allows invoices to be transferred via IT flows set up between Chorus Pro and the company information system.
  • Service Mode or API : allows to link directly its information system to Chorus Pro via applications, services offered by the portal.

Please note

France Num details how to submit an electronic invoice via the Chorus Pro portal.

What is an advance?

The advance is the payment of part of the contract amount to the company before the commencement of performance of the contract.

It shall facilitate the performance of the contract by enabling it to meet the costs of performing a public contract. Small companies that do not have sufficient cash can thus pre-finance the start of works, the installation of the construction site, the hiring of staff, the purchase of supplies and materials, etc.

She's obligatory for government and local authority contracts where 2 following conditions the following shall be combined:

  • The initial contract amount is greater than €50,000 HT.
  • The period for performance of the contract shall be longer than two months.

The buyer may provide for the payment of an advance even if it is not compulsory.


Clauses relating to rate and conditions for payment of the advance cannot be changed while running.

How is the amount of the advance calculated?

The amount of the advance depends on the duration of the performance of the public contract (plus or minus 12 months). It also varies whether or not the contract holder is a SMB.

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The amount of the advance shall be calculated by applying a percentage to the total amount of benefits.

Where the holder of the public contract is SMB, the minimum rate of the advance varies according to the market:

  • 30% for public contracts awarded by the State
  • 10% for public contracts awarded by public administrative establishments of the State, other than public health establishments, whose operating expenditure recorded in the financial account for the penultimate financial year is more than €60 million
  • 10% for public contracts awarded by local and regional authorities, their public establishments and groupings, whose actual operating expenditure recorded in the revenue and expenditure account of the main budget for the second-last financial year ended exceeds €60 million

Other companies

For companies other than SMEs, the amount of the advance varies according to the length of the public contract.

Tableau - Arrangements for calculating an advance

Duration of contract

Amount of the advance

Up to 12 months

between 5% and 30% of the original amount of the contract, including VAT

Over 12 months

between 5% and 30% by a sum equal to 12 times the initial value of the contract divided by the duration in months

The buyer may, however, increase the amount of the advance beyond 30%.

Example :

In a contract longer than 12 months, the calculation is as follows:

A wholesale electricity supply contract for a town hall, with an energy business as the market holder.

The value of the contract, including VAT, is €1 200 000 over four years.

The contract provides for an advance of 5%.

Its amount is therefore equal to: €1 200 000 x 12 / 48 months (12 x 4 years) = €300,000 TTC

On the €300,000 TTC, we apply 5% :€300,000 x 5% = €15,000 TTC

So the city council has to pay €15,000as an advance.

Where part of the contract is subcontracted, the advance paid to the contract holder shall be calculated on the basis of the amount of the public contract less the amount of the services entrusted to the subcontractors. For more information, see the fact sheet dedicated to subcontracting.


The special administrative clauses (CCAP) may derogate from these rules by specifying that no advance payment will be made.

How is the advance repaid?

The advance is not a final payment by the public purchaser. She's deducted sums due to the company, at a rate and in a manner determined by the contract. It is either a levy on the advance payment or a final partial settlement or a balance.

In the silence of the market, the repayment of the advance is staggered taking into account its amount and the amounts still outstanding:

  • For advances less than or equal to 30% of the contract amount, the refund beginning when the amount of the services performed reaches 65% of the amount including VAT of the contract.
  • For advances above 30% of the amount including tax, the refund beginning the first payment request.

Where the amount of the advance is less than 80% of the contract value, its repayment must be terminated when the value of the services performed reaches 80% the amount of the contract.

In other cases, the total reimbursement must have been made when the amount of the services performed, including VAT, reaches the amount of the advance paid.

What is a deposit?

The advance payment should not be confused with the advance payment.

The advance is the payment of part of the contract amount to the company before the commencement of performance of the services, while the deposit intervenes only after the commencement of the contract.

The deposit is therefore a interim payment a performance that has begun to be performed.

The payment of a deposit shall entail the presentation of a statement of account and shall correspond to services actually performed.

Only one of buyers the following have the option of making a deposit:

  • State
  • Public establishments other than those of an industrial or commercial nature
  • Local and regional authorities, their public bodies and groupings

How is the deposit amount calculated?

The advance payment may not exceed the amount of the services already performed.

For example, if the company has delivered half of the supplies, it is entitled to a down payment equal to half of their price

The amount of the advance payment may be reduced by the fraction corresponding to the retention of security if the buyer has requested a guarantee in the market.

How are advance payments made?

Deposits must be paid not more than 3 months the contract holder and subcontractors when they can get paid directly.

This periodicity is reduced to 1 month in the following cases:

  • Public works contract, for the following entities:
    • SMB
    • Artisan
    • Cooperative Production business (SCOP)
    • Group of agricultural producers
    • cooperative business of craftsmen
    • cooperative business of artists
    • adapted company
  • Supply and service contract : when requested by the company.


In practice, procurement documents specify that advance payments are made monthly.

The public purchaser must pay the services performed by the company in a maximum delay fixed by law. This period shall run from the date on which the invoice is made available.

What is the applicable deadline?

Payment periods vary depending on the type of public purchaser.

Tableau - Maximum payment periods

Public Buyers

Maximum delay

State, public administrative institution and Epic: titleContent

30 days

Territorial community, their public establishment and their grouping

30 days

Public health institution

50 days

Establishment of the Armed Forces Health Service

50 days

Other public company

60 days


These payment periods are "public order". The public purchaser must respect them. He cannot agree another time limit with the company.

What is the starting point for the payment period?

The starting point for the payment period is the date of receipt of the payment request, i.e. the date of making available of the invoice. It depends on how the public buyer receives the invoice:

  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Mode : for the State, this is the date on which the budgetary and accounting information system of the State dates the arrival of the invoice. For other buyers, this is the date of notification of the e-mail message that the invoice was made available.
  • API (service) or portal modes : This is the date of the e-mail message informing the public purchaser that the invoice has been made available on this portal. This date of dispatch is available in the status history and corresponds to the date of the status “made available to the recipient”.

These different dates are traced and searchable in Chorus Pro. However, Chorus Pro does not calculate the payment term.

Where the contract provides for a procedure for verifying the conformity of services, the time limit for payment provided for in the contract may run from the date on which conformity is established.

If the buyer does not respect the payment deadline to pay his supplier, default interest shall be applied.


In the case of works contracts, the time limit for payment shall run from the date of receipt by the contracting authority of the general and final statement of account drawn up under the conditions laid down in CCAGapplicable to works contracts and to works contracts.

The public purchaser who has exceeded the maximum payment period must pay the following amounts:

  • of default interest the contract holder and the subcontractor if paid directly.
  • one flat-rate recovery fee which is fixed at €40.

Default interest and the lump sum recovery fee shall be paid in a 45-day period after the principal has been paid. If this period of 45 days is exceeded, interest may be paid at the statutory interest rate,

How are default interest calculated?

Default interest shall begin to run on the day following the expiry of the maximum period for payment. They are due automatically and are automatically applied without a reminder.

They shall be calculated on the basis of the number of days overdue and shall be applied to the total amount of the sum due TTC: titleContent.

The calculation formula is as follows:

Amount incl. tax due x (number of days late / 365) x applicable default interest rate.

What is the default interest rate?

The default interest rate shall be equal to interest rate applied by the European Central Bank in force on the first day of the six-month period of the calendar year during which default interest started to accrue, plus 8 percentage points.

A calculation simulator allows companies to assess the amount of default interest due by a buyer who fails to meet the prescribed deadlines:

Calculating default interest on public contracts

Tableau - Calculation and default interest rate

End of payment period

Method of calculating default interest

Default interest rate

Between 1er January 2024 and June 30, 2024

ECB rates (4.5% to 1er January 2024) + 8


Between 1er July 2023 and December 31, 2023

ECB rates (4% to 1er July 2023) + 8


Between 1er January 2023 and June 30, 2023

ECB rates (2.5% to 1er January 2023) + 8


Between 1er July 2022 and December 31, 2022

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er July 2022) + 8


Between 1er January 2022 and June 30, 2022

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er January 2022) + 8


Between 1er July 2021 and December 31, 2021

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er July 2021) + 8


Between 1er January 2021 and June 30, 2021

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er January 2021) + 8


Between 1e july 2020

and 31 December 2020

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er July 2020) + 8


Between 1er january 2020

and 30 June 2020

ECB rates (0.00% to 1erJanuary 2020) + 8


Between 1er July 2019 and December 31, 2019

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er July 2019) + 8


Between 1er January 2019 and June 30, 2019

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er January 2019) + 8


Between 1er July 2018 and December 31, 2018

ECB rates (0.00% to 1er July 2018) + 8


Example :

For a payment period that expires on March 24, the interest due must be calculated from 25 march, depending on the rate in force to 1er January.

For a payment period ending on 24 July, the rate in force on 1er July.

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