Be aware of the ‘500,000’ mistaken French tax declarations

Around 500,000 pre-filled out income tax declarations sent out to taxpayers in France contain an error, it has been announced. And it's up to the taxpayers to fix them.

Be aware of the '500,000' mistaken French tax declarations
Photo: AFP
Hundreds of thousands of pre-filled out income tax declaration forms have been under calculated as a result of a computer bug which hit the software used to produce them in March.
As a result of the computer bug some boxes on the forms have been left empty, according to Le Canard Enchaine newspaper. 
That means that those who use the paper tax forms, which accounts for around 50 percent of taxpayers, could be set for even more of a headache during French tax season this year as they will be responsible for correcting any errors on the forms themselves. 
Unsurprisingly the announcement has prompted outrage.
“They can't be serious!” Olivier Vadebout from the public finances division of the hard left CGT union told Le Parisien. 
“The taxpayers who return the paper version, signing it without really looking, may be punished. And some may not notice the letter of correction from the tax authorities,” he said.
But what exactly happened?
The computer bug which caused the mishap hit the software responsible for sorting the data of the national insurance fund for the elderly (CNAV). 
But it won't only be retirees who are affected. 
It turns out that the same software also collects all of the information on taxpayers including wages and social security contributions.
Until now, companies sent an annual statement regarding the contribution of their employees but this now happens on a monthly basis and it's this switch which is to blame for the bug.
On a positive note for taxpayers, however, these teething problems will hopefully all be for a good cause.
The reason for the change in the system, according to some sources, is the government's plan to finally deduct taxes at source from January 1st 2019.
But when your tax declaration arrives this year, be sure to read through it with an eagle eye. 
For members


Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

Installing a swimming pool, building a garden shed, or adding a conservatory to your French home has become more expensive in 2023.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you are planning a renovation project in 2023 you’re likely looking at rising cost for materials and labour due to inflation – but there is one other cost to consider; taxes. 

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has raised the rate for this.

The taxe d’aménagement, sometimes referred to as the garden shed tax, applies to all property development – construction, reconstruction and extension – of buildings that require planning permission or a building permit.

Garden sheds, swimming pools or extensions with a surface area of more than 5 square metres are subject to the development tax – although a 50 percent reduction is applied to the flat-rate values of certain buildings, particularly the first 100 square metres of main residences.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about installing a swimming pool at your French property

The tax is collected by local councils, who set their own percentage rates for the tax, working off the base rate set by the government.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel set the base figures for 2023 at the following rates: 

  • €1,004 per square metre in Île-de-France (up from €929 per square metre in 2022);
  • €886 per square metre outside Île-de-France (€820 per square metre in 2022).

The flat-rate values per square metre of building space, which constitute the basis for the development tax, are revised on January 1st of each year according to the latest construction cost index published by national statistics body Insee. 

Additionally, specific rates are set for:

  • €250 per square metre  for a swimming pool (up from €200 in 2022);
  • €12 per square metre of ground-fixed solar panels (up from €10 in 2022);
  • €3,000 per wind turbine more than 12 metres high;
  • €3,000 per pitch for tents, caravans and mobile leisure homes;
  • €10,000 per pitch for a holiday chalet or bungalow.

The amount of the tax is calculated according to the following formula: 

(Taxable area multiplied by the government-set base figure) multiplied by the percentage tax rate set by the local authorities. This gives the total to be paid in cents. Bills are rounded down.

So, the tax for a 30 square metre extension in an area where the combined local and departmental tax rates total 6.25 percent would be calculated like this:

30 (the size of the development) x 886 (the base tax rate outside Ile-de-France) = 26,580

6.25 (local and departmental tax) x 26,580 = 166,125 cents, more usually expressed as €1,661. 

If the total payable is less than €1,500, you will receive a bill in the six months after planning permission was granted, with details of how to pay.

Otherwise, it is paid in two instalments, 12 months and 24 months after authorisation, with a 10 percent surcharge applied in cases of late payments.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France