What changes about life in France in September 2019

What changes about life in France in September 2019
All photos: AFP
Each new month in France means changes, so here's an overview of what comes into effect on September 1st.

Lower gas tariffs

French energy provider Engie will see its regulated tariffs on gas drop by 0.9 percent in September, compared to the scale in place in August. 

So what does that mean for your upcoming gas bills?

If you only use gas for cooking, you will only notice a decrease of 0.2 percent. This will go up to 0.5 percent for those who use gas for cooking and hot water.

But this drop will be most noticeable for people who rely on gas heating as fall approaches, with a decrease approaching one percent. 

'Pay-as-you-earn' rate update

Based on the 2019 tax return you completed last spring – which related to your 2018 income – the French financial administration will update your taux de prélèvement à la source, or 'pay-as-you-earn' rate.

So far, the rate will have been applied according to your 2017 income. However, if you reported a change in family situation such as a divorce, or a revenue decline earlier this year, your rate will remain unchanged for the rest of 2019.

Any updates will be automatic: your employer will transfer your rate to the tax authorities.

When receiving your pay stub this September, you should double-check your rate is accurate by checking the section impôt sur le revenu prélevé towards the bottom of the page.

Unless any errors are reported to the tax authorities, this new rate will be applied until the next update, in September 2020.

Tougher requirements for car 'conversion premium'

From September 1st, 2019, any diesel car registered before September 2019 will not be eligible for la prime à la conversion, or conversion premium.

This financial support was given to low-earning car owners in order to encourage them to switch old cars for a less polluting one.

Back in August, requirements to receive the financial aid were toughened. The policy, in force since January 2018, has cost the state around €900 million, well above the €600 million initially budgeted.

For more details about the stricter requirements to receive la prime à la conversion, you can click here.

Education compulsory from three years of age

Ever since 1882, education has been compulsory for French children from the age of six. From September 1st, 2019, this age will be lowered to three years old. 

In practice, this change may not affect many parents, since it has been relatively unusual for children to start school at six, even if it was legal.

But from now on, parents who wish to keep their child out of preschool should beforehand apply for special permission from an inspecteur de l'Éducation Nationale – a National Education inspector.

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