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Brits in France: What you need to know about 2023 French tax declarations

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Brits in France: What you need to know about 2023 French tax declarations
It's tax time! Photo: AFP

French tax season is fast approaching - and between new requirements and some post-Brexit changes, there are some things that Brits need to be aware of this year.

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Tax declarations in 2023 open on April 13th, and you have until late May or early June (depending on where you live) to complete the declaration.

Do I have to do it?

Probably, yes. France's tax system has everyone declare their taxes in the spring for the previous year.

That means that your 2023 tax declaration is based on your 2022 income - the French tax year runs from January 1st to December 31st. So if you were either living in France or had income in France during that period, then you will almost certainly have to complete the declaration.

Previously everyone resident in France had to fill in the income tax declaration (déclaration des revenus) but that has recently begun to change, following the introduction of 'taxing at source' for employees. However, this only affects employees, not self-employed or retired people, and only a few categories are concerned - if this affects you, you will receive a notification by email, or been exempt from last year's declaration.

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If you belong to this group but something has changed since your last fiscal declaration (anything at all - income levels, address or other) you will still need to declare your taxes.

Everyone else needs to fill in a declaration, even if you don't earn any income in France (for example a UK pension).

READ ALSO: What the French government doesn't tell you about filing taxes

If you're not a resident in France but do own property here (eg second home owners) then you probably won't have to complete the income tax declaration - although you do need to do the property tax declaration (see below for details on that).

If, however, you rent out of your second home then you may need to complete the French declaration, depending on how you rent out your second home (eg long-term let, holiday rentals etc) - if you're unsure on this you should take professional advice from someone with knowledge of both the French and UK tax systems.

Property tax declaration

Please note that the income tax declaration - déclaration des revenus - is not the same thing as the property tax declaration - déclaration d'occupation. The property tax declaration is a one-off form that must be filled in in 2023 by everyone who owns property in France, including those who live in another country. 

Find full details on the property tax declaration HERE.

When is the deadline?

Income tax declarations will open on April 13th 2023.

The deadline to have the return completed depends on where you live;

  • 11.59pm on May 25th for non-residents and people who live in départements 1-19
  • 11.59pm on June 1st for people who live in départements 20-54
  • 11.59pm on June 8th for people who live in départements 55-96 and France's overseas territories

Can I only do it online?

The government has vowed to render tax declarations paperless, although if you are filing a declaration for the first time you may have to do it on paper.

Exemptions for online filing include groups like the elderly and people without internet access - for example those living in so-called 'white zones' - who may make their declarations on paper and send them in by post.

You can get your tax form at your local tax office, or download it and print it from the tax site.

If you are having trouble you may call 0809 401 401 for help.

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What do I need to declare?

Everything, basically.

People often assume that anything they have already declared to the tax authorities in their home country does not need to be included on the French tax form, but this is not the case.

The French taxman is asking for all of your assets, which includes income from rental properties in another country and income on financial products such as shares or ISAs in the UK.

All bank accounts must also be declared, even if they are dormant. New information-sharing rules between international banks mean that your bank can and will tell the French taxman what accounts you have in your home country, and if that information doesn't match what is on your French declaration you could find yourself in trouble. 

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Tax credits are available against tax you have already paid in another country - so you don't end up paying twice on the same income - but you must still declare it.

International tax specialist Jason Porter explains more here.

Income from the UK

If you live in France but have income in the UK - eg a pension, rental income from property or income from investments or shares - you must declare it in France.

Double tax treaties between France and the UK mean that if you have already paid tax on income in the UK, you won't have to pay it again in France.

However, you may have to pay social contributions - and here we see a Brexit-related change.

There are two types of deductions on income in France - taxes (impots) and social charges (prélèvements sociaux), these social charges cover things like healthcare and unemployment benefits (so are roughly similar to National Insurance) but also pension contributions.

Prior to Brexit, social charges for Brits were set at 7.5 percent (the rate for income coming from an EU country), but post-Brexit, Brits must pay the non-EU rate which is 17.2 percent - which explains why many people saw a jump in their bill last year.

Not everyone has to pay the social charges on UK income, however. Broadly - it depends on whether you are covered by the social and health system of France or the UK.

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So someone living and working in France (as either a salaried employee or self-employed) would likely have to pay social charges on extra income from the UK (eg rental income) because they are covered by the French health and social security system and already pay French social contributions on their salary in France.

However, someone who either lives full-time in the UK, or who lives in France on a UK pension and has their healthcare paid for by the UK under the S1 rule, is likely not to have to pay the French social charges. Social charges are not levied on income from a pension.

If your financial affairs are complicated, however, it's best to seek individual financial advice.

What about the conversion rate?

If you have income in pounds (or other non-euro currencies) you will need to convert the amounts into euros for your French tax form. The tax office doesn't provide a currency converter, so you will need to do this yourself.

The easiest way is to use an online currency converter like Xe - keep a note of the original amounts in pounds, the euro amount it converted into, the converter tool you used and the date of the conversion, just in case this is questioned later (this is pretty unlikely for individuals, but it's better to be safe than sorry).

First time declaring?

If this is your first year filing a tax declaration in France, you will first need to get a tax number (numéro fiscal) and then set up an online account on the tax website of impots.gouv.fr.

READ ALSO How to get a numéro fiscale

Once you have received the number, you then need to register with the tax website.

If you are already registered online for property taxes such as the taxe d'habitation, you use the same site.

Visit the site impots.gouv.fr and go to the section that says "votre espace particulier".

This is where your recent declarations and tax bills will be found. You'll need three pieces of information to set up your account: your tax number, your online access number and your reference tax income (votre numéro fiscal, votre numéro d’accès en ligne et votre revenu fiscal de référence).

If you are not registered, you first need to set up your online account - head to impots.gouv.fr and click on votre espace particulier, if you have not created an account previously you will be given the option to set one up by entering details such as your name, address and social security number.

Once registered, head to the blue button 'Accéder à la déclaration en ligne' to begin filling in the online form.

READ ALSO Ask the expert - what to put in each section of the French tax declaration

What if I forget something?

If you realise too late that you have made a mistake on your tax declaration, you have until mid December 2023 to correct it on the government's website, impots.gouv.fr.

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Taxed as a household 

In France you are taxed by household. So if you are a married couple or if you are pacsé (in a civil partnership) then you should make one joint declaration rather than two. If you got married halfway through the year you can now declare one common declaration for the whole year.
 
And if you have any children living with you that are earning then you'll need to declare their earnings too...and that includes any summer jobs. 

Tax deductibles

There are some professionals, including journalists, who receive tax breaks from the French government. 

The French can also claim tax breaks for house improvements, child care and gifting so it's worth asking if you think you might be able to benefit.  Find out more about the deductions available here.

Visit the English page of the tax authority's website

The tax section is less labyrinthine than some French government websites, and there is a section in English.

This can be found here.  

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Comments (3)

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Anonymous 2021/04/09 22:58
What sterling - euro exchange rate should we use for 2020 tax year?
Anonymous 2021/03/23 23:02
I have the same question.
Anonymous 2020/04/13 21:33
What if I move to france in the middle of the tax year? Do I have to declare income before I arrive?

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