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Everything that changes about life in France in December 2019

The Local France
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Everything that changes about life in France in December 2019
Keep an eye out for local train timetable changes starting December 15th. Photo: AFP

So strikes are dominating the news agenda, but there are some other things happening in France in December, from gas prices going up to tax changes and - of course - Christmas. Here's what you need to know.


December strikes 

The strikes starting on December 5th are predicted to be very disruptive, partly paralysing the country’s public transport systems. Public rail operators will publish timetables a couple of days before the strike. 

SNCF has said it will publish a revised timetable on December 3rd, once it knows how many employees will be joining the strike. Other transport operators are expected to publish their timetables at around the same time. 

READ ALSO: 'Unlimited' December strikes in France: What you need to know

TER timetables 

Starting December 15th, the SNCF is changing its regional train (TER) timetables. Remember that the SNCF is runs regionally, so changes may vary depending on where in France you live. In Hauts-de-France for example, 80 more TERs will be running daily.

Consult your local timetable to see what changes in your area.

Gas prices

Tax prices will increase for the second month in a row, this time by 0.6 percent starting December 1st. France’s regulated gas tariffs Engie gas sales increased prices by 3 percent in November, following months of decreases.

According to France’s Regulatory Energy Commission (CRE), the increase will be 0.1 percent for customers who use gas for cooking, 0.3 percent for those who have a dual use, cooking and hot water, and 0.6 percent for gas heated homes.

Last chance to change your tax declaration

If you think you made a mistake on your tax declaration, you may make amendments until December 17th.

Go to where you can log in with your tax number and password and click on "Correct / My Online Return 2019".

.. and your income tax rate

Taxpayers who wish to make changes to their income tax rate can do this until December 7th. Otherwise the 2018 tax declaration will count until August 2020.

Those who themselves modified their income tax rate in the course of 2019 and wish to keep this rate in 2020 also need to alert the government before the 7th. 

Other tax deadlines 

If your income has changed in a way you believe could affect the taxe d'habitation (the tax householders pay), you can make changes on your personal account until December 15th. Changes made later than the 15th will be taken into account from February 1st. 

Remember that the tax d’habitation is being phased out, meaning most people will be exempt from paying the it starting January 2020. Read about the tax d’habitation here.

As for the taxe foncière (the tax you pay if you own property in France), many people will have seen their bills rise quite sharply this year, you have until December 31st to send in a complaint if you think the government has made a mistake on your tax notice.

READ MORE: What is the taxe foncière and do I have to pay it?

Public holiday

Christmas Day (25th) is the one public holiday in France in December. Remember that unlike many other countries, Boxing Day is not a public holiday in France. 

All French schools go on holiday from December 21st until January 6th 2020 - for more on holiday dates and the days the roads are likely to be busy, click here.

Parisians get €500 off their electric bikes

Starting December 1st, those living in the Île-de-France region will get a €500 financial discount if they purchase an electric bike. 

Originally planned for February, the measure was fast-forwarded to help people get around during the strikes.

READ ALSO: Paris on the road to become a world-capital for cyclists

Tighter rules on Airbnb rentals

A new law that was passed in October entered in the force on December 1st, requiring people who rent out apartments in certain cities to provide detailed breakdowns to authorities. People cities such as Paris are already required to register with authorities if they use Airbnb to rent out a house or building.

But the new law provides more detail and allows local authorities to ask for a detailed annual breakdown on exactly how many days the building has been rented for. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has vowed a clampdown on Airbnb, which she says is pricing locals out of the rental market.

Potential clarity on Brexit

The Brits are heading to the polls on December 12th to vote in a General Election that could solve the current Brexit deadlock. 

If you're British and live in France, visit our Brexit section to find out what you need to be doing to prepare.



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