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TAXES

What happens if I’ve missed the deadline for my French tax return?

The deadline for filing your French income tax return has already been and gone, and if you haven't already sent yours in it's going to cost you. Here's what you need to know.

What happens if I've missed the deadline for my French tax return?
Photo: AFP
The good news is that you can still file your tax return, but the bad news is that you'll have to pay a fine. 
 
Filing your tax return late in France means your tax bill will jump by at least 10 percent but this will go up the longer you leave it, so you should act sooner rather than later. 
 
Here's how much you can expect to pay, depending on how late you file:
 
10 percent if you make your declaration before receiving formal notice from the tax office
20 percent if you make your declaration within 30 days of the formal notice
40 percent if you do not make a declaration within 30 days of the formal notice
80 percent if the tax office discovers that you are doing undeclared work or illegal activity, with no formal notice.
 
On top of that you may also be expected to pay late interest on your tax bill. Since January 1st 2018, this has amounted to 0.2 percent for every month you are late with your declaration. These interests apply until the last day of the month in which the return is filed.
 
If you do not have to pay income tax, you are still expected to make a declaration that will allow you to obtain a notice of non-taxation, which can be useful for certain administrative procedures. However you will not be subjected to the fines for making a delayed declaration.
 
Finally, here's a reminder of the 2019 deadlines… 
 
The paper form should have been completed and submitted by May 16th while the deadline for online forms varied in different areas. If you live in départements 1 to 19 it was May 21st, for départements  20 to 49 it was May 28th and for départements 50 plus the deadline was June 4th.
 
READ ALSO:

Here's how the new French income tax cuts will affect YOUPhoto: AFP

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EDUCATION

Fees to class sizes – what you need to know about private schools in France

In many countries, private schools are the preserve of the wealthy elite, but France has a wide network of private schools that are well within the financial reach of ordinary families - James Harrington explains more.

Fees to class sizes - what you need to know about private schools in France

The education system in France has its problems – at the start of the new school year some 4,000 teaching posts were unfilled and the government has launched an ‘emergency plan’ for English language lessons – but there’s no doubting there are wonderful schools and wonderful teachers making every effort to ensure children from aged three to 18 get the education they deserve.

However the country also has a sizeable network of private schools and around 15 percent of French children go to a private school. While some are undoubtedly expensive and elite, others are surprisingly affordable and provide an extra option for parents when deciding on  a school for their children.

Here’s what you need to know; 

Different types

There are two types of private school – sous contrat and hors contrat.

Sous contrat schools, of which there are about 7,500 in France, are part-funded by the state – teachers are paid by the Department of Education, for example – but also charge fees. France’s numerous Catholic schools, or regional language schools are usually sous contrat.

Hors contrat schools – which number about 2,500 – must still meet general education requirements but can choose their teaching methods and have no state funding. Private international schools found in most big cities, such as the American School of Paris, are hors contrat, but still follow mainstream teaching methods.

For comparison, there are around 60,000 state schools in France.

Prices

Yes, there are expensive private schools in France. Sending your child to the exclusive Ecole des Roches Private Boarding School, for example, will set you back more than €12,000 a term – not quite Eton or Winchester-level fees, but still well out of the reach of a large portion of the population. But, like Eton and Winchester, they’re not the norm. 

On average, fees for a day pupil – one who goes home at the end of the school day, rather than one who boards at the school – are in the region of around €2,250 a year. Meals are not included, and are generally charged at a slightly higher daily price than at state schools.

Financial aid, including scholarships, may be available for less well-off families.

READ ALSO French school canteens to cut cheese course as inflation bites

Boarding and hours

A large number of state and private schools offer Monday-Thursday boarding. It is not uncommon for pupils who excel at certain subjects or sports to attend collèges or lycées some distance from home, and board during the week.

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Daily school hours, meanwhile, are broadly similar, with children generally starting their school day at around 8am and finishing soon after 4pm on school days. Collège and lycée pupils also go into school on Wednesday mornings, and some may have classes on a Saturday, too.

Popularity

Smaller class sizes and a reputation for “better” results means that private schools are increasingly popular. The number of French private schools has increased steadily over the last decade, and now 15-20 percent of pupils go to a private establishment of some form. 

On the whole, private schools tend to do better in results league tables – perhaps in part because of the additional investment from parents, but also because class sizes tend to be smaller, which allows for more one-to-one education. Smaller class sizes and more individual attention mean they may also be a better option for children who struggle in big schools.

READ ALSO What kind of school in France is best for my kids?

Qualifications

State schools and sous contrat schools teach to the national curriculum, which leads, in turn, to brevet and baccalaureate qualifications.

In contrast, some hors contrat private schools offer different qualifications, including American High School Diplomas and SATs, British GCSEs and A-Levels, or the international baccalaureate.

Religion

Although many sous contrat schools are Catholic, most readily accept non-Catholic children and are not allowed to indoctrinate the Catholic faith. Hors contrat schools, on the other hand, may include a religious element to their teaching.

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