TAXATION

Working in Europe | Taxation/salaries | France

Filing a tax return does not necessarily imply that an income tax has to be paid.

 

The need for taxation is asserted in article 13 of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: "For the maintenance of the public force, and for administrative expenses, a general tax is indispensable; it must be equally redistributed among all citizens, in proportion to their ability to pay".

 

How to get a French tax number

To apply for a French tax number you can complete form 2043 available on the French tax authorities’ website and take it to your local tax office (Service des Impôts des Particuliers). It is possible to drop it in the designated letter box outside the tax office or to hand it in to a tax office employee.

Alternatively you can apply online via this link.

On the first page of form 2043 you are asked to fill in your basic personal details. These include your name, address, phone number and Social Security number. If you’re filing jointly, you need to add your spouse’s personal details.

On the second page you must submit information about your taxable household and your children. At the bottom of page 2, if there is a bilateral tax agreement between France and your country, notify it in the information section.

On the third page, you are asked to enter information regarding employment income, rental income, dividends, partnership income, retirement saving plans, maintenance payments etc…,

 

Following your application for a tax number and after your identity has been officially checked, you will receive an email from your local tax office providing you with your tax number and access codes enabling you to create a personal account on the national tax office website.

 

Why it is recommended to apply for a tax number

Having a tax number enables you to register with the online tax portal, submit your French tax return, pay your taxes online and also manage your withholding tax rate.

 

 

A new PAYE tax system was introduced in France on 1st January 2019. The aim of the new withholding tax (Prélèvement à la source) is to eliminate the one-year gap between the collection of income and the payment of tax on this income. This means that every month income tax is now deducted from your salary. However, you are still required to file an income tax return every year for the income you received in the last full calendar year. The income tax return is also used to calculate the local residence tax (taxe d’habitation) that you have to pay if you own or rent the accommodation where you live and to establish if you are required to pay the television licence fee (Contribution à l’audiovisuel public).

 

Tax returns are filed once a year. The tax return season usually takes place between mid-April and early June.

Online filers are granted an extended filing deadline and the closing date each year by which tax returns need to be submitted to the French tax authorities varies by département.

Online filing

It is now compulsory to file tax returns online but some exceptions are allowed. For instance, if you have not previously filed a French income tax return, you may download a paper version online or collect a copy from your local tax office.

 

In order to declare online, you need to connect to impots.gouv.fr and access your personal account.

It is possible to file a tax return online if :

  • you submitted a paper tax return last year
  • you already have a tax number because you have already paid the local residence tax (taxe d’habitation), property ownership tax(taxe foncière) or property wealth tax (Impôt sur la Fortune Immobilière) even though you are filing a tax return in France for the first time.
  • the tax office has sent you a personal tax number
  • you are aged between 20 and 26 and the French tax authorities have sent you your tax number and an access code enabling you to file your tax return online.

 

Filing deadlines :

Tax returns must be submitted during May or early June of the year following the year during which the income was earned. Tax return deadlines are announced in April and it is the taxpayers’ responsibility to find out when they are and to meet them.

 

Who must file an income tax return ?

There are several circumstances under which you have to send a tax declaration:

  • you receive an income from a French source
  • you have a professional activity in France, salaried or not, unless it is a minor activity
  • France is your country of residence (for more than 183 days a year)

 

Failing to file a tax retun will incur sanctions and there are also penalties for late filing.

 

For more information on "le prélèvement à la source"

 

Income not to be declared:

In some cases you are not required to declare your entire income. Tax relief is applied in the following situations :

  • If you are a student under the age of 25 : your income does not need to be declared if altogether it does not exceed 3 times the French minimum wage SMIC) : €4,495. If you have earned more than …., only declare the excess amount. For instance, if you earned €7,500, you must declare € 3,005.
  • If you have done an internship, declaring income known as indemnités de stage below € 18,255* Is not required.

 

Tax treaties :

France has signed tax treaties with many countries to resolve specific cases and/or avoid double taxation. As a researcher your income may be covered by a bilateral tax agreement between your last country of tax residence and France. To find out if this is the case, click here.

If a tax treaty is applicable :

- when filling your tax return, enter 0 in the 1AJ box and in the additonal information section* write « chercheur international dans un institut public exonéré d’impôt sur le revenu pendant … ans au regard de la convention fiscale franco-………, article …. Je suis arrivé.e le ../../20.. et je repars normalement le ../../20... (I am an international researcher in a research institute and according to article … in the tax treaty between France and … I benefit from a tax exemption on my income. I arrived in France on ../../20.. and I am due to leave on ../../20..). Attach a proof of your employment status as a researcher in France such as a copy of your passeport talent chercheur residence permit and a copy of your work contract.

* paper tax return : « Informations » / online tax return : « Mention »

 

 

HOUSING TAX :

Whether you own or rent, you have to pay a tax called taxe d'habitation for your main residence and second home.

The housing tax is a tax collected for the benefit of local authorities.

Its amount varies from one municipality to another and the characteristics of your accommodation (size, number of rooms, etc.) and your personal situation (household income, composition of the household, etc.). The housing tax is established according to your situation on January 1 of the tax year.