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The French tax calendar for 2020 – what taxes are due and when?

The French tax calendar for 2020 - what taxes are due and when?
Photo: AFP
They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. There's not much anyone can do about the first, but we can at least help you make sure you don't get caught out by the second - here's the 2020 schedule of tax payment dates in France.

France is the most highly taxed country in Europe (although with the country's high quality public services and strong social protections it could also be argued that you get a lot for your money) so if you live here you'll certainly need to pay some tax.

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


Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

To help ensure that you don't get on the wrong side of the French taxman here is the schedule of what is due and when:

April 20th – opening of the tax declaration period (pushed back by 11 days due to the coronavirus epidemic). This relates to taxes owed for 2019 and anyone resident in France from April 2019 and onwards needs to fill in a return.

June 12th – closing date for tax declarations done on paper. 

June 4th – closing date for online tax declarations if you live in départements 1 to 19

June 8th – closing date for online tax declarations if you live in départements 20 to 54

June 11th – closing date for online tax declarations if you live in départements 55 to 976

Over the summer you will then receive by mail or email (depending on how you filed the return) a bill telling you how much tax you owe. This bill could be €0.

June 30th – deadline to declare you wish to pay your taxes in installments.

July 31st – by the end of July you will receive information on any tax credits and deductions you are entitled to (for example for childcare costs) plus the payment of the second half of any tax credits you received in 2019. The first half was paid on January 15th.

August 24th – charges are set for the year's taxe foncière

September 30th – payments open for taxe foncière

October 1st – bills calculated for the taxe d'habitation

October 15th – deadline to pay taxe foncière by mail

October 21st – deadline to pay taxe foncière online

October 31st – deadline to register to pay taxe d'habitation and redevance audiovisuelle (the French TV licence) by monthly installments

November 16th – deadline to pay taxe d'habitation by mail

November 20th – deadline to pay taxe d'habitation online

Mid December – the cutoff point to correct errors in your online tax declaration. French taxpayer's recently won the 'right to make mistakes' so if you have forgotten to add something or made a mistake in your calculations in your declaration you can go online and correct it without attracting a penalty.

So what are all these taxes?

Taxe d'habitation – this one is in the process of being phased out for most people, so it may no longer apply to you. The tax was paid by the person who lived in the property, rather than the person who owned it. Emmanuel Macron decided to phase out the tax for everyone apart from high earners and only around 20 percent of people are still paying it this year. Bad news for second home owners though – the tax is still due on second homes regardless of whether you are a high earner or not.

Taxe foncière – this is the tax paid by the owner of a property, so if you live in a home you own you would – if applicable – pay both the taxe d'habitation and the taxe foncière. This one is not being phased out and in fact for many people has been rising quite steeply.

READ ALSO What is taxe foncière and do I have to pay it?

Redevance audiovisuelle – this is the French equivalent of a TV licence and is paid by almost everyone, even if you don't watch French TV.

Avis d'impot – this is your yearly tax return and is the cause of quite a lot of confusion among foreign residents but in fact the rule is simple – if your main residence is in France you must fill in a tax return.

Many people assume that if their income all comes from another country then they don't need to file a tax return but this is not the case. France has double taxation agreements with most countries, so if you have already paid tax on – for example – income from a rental property in the UK you will not be liable for more tax in France on the same income, but you must still tell the French taxman about it.

READ ALSO What exactly do I need to tell the French taxman about?

All income must be declared, as well as all bank accounts in other countries even if they are dormant.

The French tax system has been undergoing some big changes and from January 2019 employees had their income tax deducted at source for the first time. This would seem to make the annual declaration irrelevant for a lot of people, but for the moment at least it is still a legal requirement.

There are actually quite a lot of tax deductions available, especially for families, so filling in the return could see you getting money back instead of a bill.

READ ALSO These are the French tax breaks you don't want to miss out on

 


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