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CHANGES

What changes about life in France in May 2019

At the beginning of each new month in France there are many changes. Here is an overview of what is coming into effect this May.

What changes about life in France in May 2019
Photo: AFP
Gas prices 
 
Gas prices in France are set to drop by an average of 0.6 percent from Wednesday, May 1st. 
 
Prices also dropped in April by 1.91 percent and in February by 0.73 percent. 
 
Those who use gas for cooking will see a drop of 0.2 percent, households that use gas for cooking and hot water will see a price drop of 0.4 percent and those who use it for heating as well will see a drop of 0.7 percent. 
 
The government has requested that there is no increase in the price of gas until the end of June 2019. 
 
However customers who have purchased a fixed-price contract are not affected by prices changes to the regulated rate during their contract.
 
 
Taxes
 
This might be something you'd rather forget… but the deadline for submitting your income tax is looming.
 
Tax declarations must be made this year even though France has introduced taxing at the source. 
 
Online declarations opened on April 10th and paper declarations opened the week before.
 
The deadline to have the paper form completed and submitted is May 16th. The deadline for online forms varies in different areas, if you live in départements 1 to 19 it's May 21st, for départements  20 to 49 it's May 28th and for départements 50 plus the deadline is June 4th.
 
Despite the fact that you need to file your tax return, 2018 has been dubbed a “white year” which means that in order to avoid paying twice the taxes in 2019, the French taxpayer gets to skip 2018 except on “exceptional” income. 
 
“Exceptional” income are sums that are likely to be one-offs for 2018, such as compensation for breach of contract (in cases where the amount qualifies as taxable), one-off retirement allowances, income from stakes or profit-sharing schemes that aren't part of an employee savings scheme and capital gains on movable or immovable assets. 
 
For more information on this year's tax season read: The essential information about this year's French tax declarations
 
 

 
Changes to tax on oil products
 
The tax on domestic consumption of oil products or the ecological tax (known as the TICPE) will be regionalised. This means that the fuel prices could be affected in your depending on where you live in France. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
CSG “social charges”
 
Following French president Emmanuel Macron's announcement in December, the CSG “social charges” will decline from 8.3 percent to 6.6 percent for pensioners receiving between €1,200 and €2,000 euros each month.
 
The move exempts them from the rise in the cost of these “social charges” that came into effect in 2018. 
 
In total, the change will affect concerns 3.5 million households, with the pensioners concerned set to receive a back payment to cover the first six months of the year.
 
New €100 and €200 banknotes
 
These new notes will enter circulation in the euro zone from Tuesday May 28th.
 
It has been said that the new versions are slightly more tasteful than the ones currently in use and have new innovative security, including a satellite hologram.
 
The new €100 notes have a green background while the €200 notes are yellow. 
 
The older €100 and €200 notes, which were put into circulation in January 2002, will retain their value however they will be gradually replaced by the new versions. 
 
The new euro banknotes. Photo: AFP
 
Student housing
 
Students have until May 15th to apply for an online bursary and social housing for the next academic year (2019/2020).
 
Carnivorous fish
 
If you fancy trying your hand at catching some carnivorous varieties of fish in France, now's your chance. 
 
Initially scheduled to open on May 1st, the carnivorous fishing season opened last weekend and if you have a fishing card (€75) you can try catching species such as pike and zander. 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

What’s changing about life in France in June 2019

At the beginning of each month, there are many changes in France. Here is an overview of what is coming into effect this June.

What’s changing about life in France in June 2019
Photos: AFP
Electricity prices going up
 
EDF (électricité de France) will be increasing electricity prices by 5.9 percent starting June 1st.
 
For the average household, this means that the cost of energy will increase around €85 per year, according to EDF estimations.
 
 
Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP
 
The increase was proposed on February 7th by the CRE (commission de régulation d'énergie) in order to cover rising costs, but the government decided to wait until the end of winter to apply the price hike. Several news organisations (France Info, BFMTV) also cite the role of the ‘Yellow Vest’ protests in delaying the measure.
 
Gas prices continue to fall
 
Gas prices will continue to decrease slight, by 0.45 percent, in the month of June. The reduction is part of measures taken in January to placate the 'yellow vests'. June, however, is the last month that these reductions are to be applied.
 
 
Photo: Philippe HUGUEN / AFP
 
Last chance to file taxes
 
Those living in départements numbered 50 through 976 have until midnight on Tuesday, June 4th to file their tax declaration online (everyone else should have filed already).
 
Reminder: despite the fact that it’s still necessary to file a tax return, 2018 is a “white year”, which means that, in order to avoid paying double the taxes in 2019, French taxpayers are allowed to skip 2018 except on “exceptional” income. 
 
“Exceptional” income are sums that are likely to be one-offs for 2018, like compensation for breach of contract (if the amount qualifies as taxable), one-time retirement allowances, income from stakes or profit-sharing schemes that are not part of an employee savings program and capital gains on movable or immovable assets. 
 
For more information, read our article on this year’s tax declarations in France.
 
Summer sales
 
The summer soldes (sales) will take place from Tuesday, June 26th through Tuesday, August 6th in most of France, and July 3rd through August 13th in the Alpes-Maritimes and Pyrénées-Orientales. Dates also vary slightly in overseas territories, and can be found here.
 
The dates and conduct of sales in France are strictly controlled by the Code de commerce, which permits these promotions twice a year – once in January-February, after the holidays, and once in summer. These are the only times when French retailers are allowed to sell at a loss, according to specific rules laid out by the Code de commerce.
 
 
Photo: Philippe HUGUEN / AFP
 
Consultation regarding fixed-line telephone numbers
 
The Arcep (Autorité de régulation des communications électroniques et des postes) is holding an online survey now through June 7th to ask users whether they want to be able to keep their landline telephone numbers, even when they move to a different region.
 
Currently, landline telephone users are obligated to change their numbers when the moving elsewhere in France, because these numbers are organised by region of residence (01 for Ile-de-France, 02 for the north west, etc.). Fixed-line users will now have a chance to make themselves heard on the subject.
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