SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

TAXES

Why is the French tax man sending out bills for €0?

Demands from the tax man usually involve paying hefty sums of money - so if you get a bill asking you for pay nothing at all is it a mistake or a cause for celebration?

Why is the French tax man sending out bills for €0?
Photo: AFP

If you file your tax return online you will have already got your bill this year and there's a high chance that the tax man is asking you to pay nothing at all.

Is it a mistake?

No, the good news is that if you get a bill for €0 then that's likely to be exactly what you owe.

READ ALSO

Why is it zero?

The reason for this is the change in the tax at source (impôt à la source) system that was introduced at the start of this year for all salaried workers. From the start of this year, anyone who is employed will have been having their tax deducted straight from their wages at source, bringing France in line with many other countries that already operate the tax-at-source system.

Until this year, everyone living in France was required to file an annual return and then pay their taxes for the previous year, either as a lump sum or over three or 10 months, whereas now their salary is taxed at source.

However the public are still forced to make their annual tax declarations.

To avoid people paying both at source in 2019 and on their previous year's revenue 2018 was declared an année blanche fiscale or tax holiday year.

“With the introduction of the tax-at-source on January 1st 2019, your tax on non-recurring income in 2018 is cancelled,” explains the Director General for Public Finance.

Eventually, the government says, the yearly declaration will be phased out altogether for salaried employees, but for the moment people must continue to file.

Do I need to do anything?

Firstly you need to check your avis d'imposition to make sure all the details are correct regarding your personal situation in particular.

If they're not, you still have time to change them and you are unlikely to be fined for it since the 'right to make mistakes' was introduced in 2018. Under the new rules, anyone who makes an honest mistake while filling in their tax form can change the details later.

So if you've forgotten that you've got married (or rather forgotten to tell the tax man about it), divorced, had a child or entered into a civil partnership or had any other changes in your personal circumstances, now is the time to amend the details on your tax return. Changes can be made from mid-August by going to your personal tax section impots.gouv.fr

If you have filed on paper you need to file a new return, together with a letter informing the tax office that these details supercede the ones you gave when you filled out the form in spring.

Anything else I should know?

Remember that it's only your basic salary that is taxed at source, so if you have received any additional cash such as severance or redundancy pay or retirement benefits then these will have to be declared and tax paid on them. 

And if I do have anything to pay?

You will need to pay it before September 15th or risk incurring a late payment fine. Although the bill comes as one lump sum you do have the option of paying in installments if you need to.

 

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

LIVING IN FRANCE

Property bargains, energy prices, and myth-busting: 6 essential articles for life in France

Where you could bag a property bargain in France, how energy prices aren’t soaring in France, and why the leaves are falling earlier than usual - plus a couple of myths well and truly busted - here are six essential articles for life in France.

Property bargains, energy prices, and myth-busting: 6 essential articles for life in France

While French cities such as Paris are notoriously expensive, there are many areas outside the cities where it is still possible to buy spacious homes for less than €100,000 – particularly if you don’t mind a bit of renovation.

MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

Speaking of property – here’s some potential good news for some second-home owners; the French government has put in place a new online process for regular visitors in France to get a carte de séjour – here’s who is eligible for this and how to apply.

Can second-home owners in France get a carte de séjour?

Reasons to be cheerful about living in France: as energy prices soar around Europe, France is the notable exception where most people have seen no significant rise in their gas or electricity bills – so what lies behind this policy?

And no, it’s not because the French would riot if their bills exploded, or not entirely, anyway.

EXPLAINED: Why are French energy prices capped?

It might look like autumn outside in certain parts of France, but it certainly feels like summer.

So, why are the leaves falling from the trees? And what does that mean for your garden?

Reader question: Why are the leaves falling in summer and does that mean my garden is dead?

The Da Vinci Code starts here – with the legend of a penniless priest who once stumbled upon gold hidden in the French countryside. It’s a story that still inspires treasure-hunters.

We look deeper into the myth – and help you decide if you should stock up on a shovel and a metal detector.

French history myths: There is buried treasure in Rennes-le-Château

Speaking of myths, apparently, kids and long train journeys do mix…

Hoping to do his bit for the planet, perhaps save some money and avoid spending any time at Charles de Gaulle airport, The Local’s Europe editor Ben McPartland decided to travel 2,000km with his family from Paris to southern Portugal by train rather than plane.

Here’s what he had to say about the experience.

Yes, train travel from France across Europe is far better than flying – even with kids

SHOW COMMENTS