SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

TAX

EXPLAINED: Who has to make a tax declaration in France in 2022?

Deadlines are approaching for the 2022 tax declaration, so here's who needs to complete one.

EXPLAINED: Who has to make a tax declaration in France in 2022?
Photo: AFP

It’s no-one’s favourite job – a lengthy and complicated form covering your finances for the previous year – but for most people the annual déclaration des revenues remains compulsory.

Here’s who needs to fill one in and who is exempt in 2022:

Residents in France

If France is your full-time residence then you will most likely need to fill in the declaration.

Many people assume that if you have no income in France then you don’t have to make a declaration, but in fact this is not the case.

France has dual-taxation arrangements in place with a large number of countries including the UK, USA, Canada and Australia so if all your income comes from abroad – for example if you have a pension paid from the UK – then you will not be taxed on it again in France, but you still need to fill out the declaration.

If you’re feeling daunted by the task, check out our section-by-section guide to filling in the form.

People who are salaried employees and have their income tax deducted at source also sometimes assume that they don’t need to fill in the declaration, but for most people this is not the case. If your only income in France is your salary and your taxes have already been deducted then you won’t have to pay any extra, but you still need to fill in the form.

If you think this sounds totally crazy, it’s because France is in the middle of a major reorganisation of its tax system and income tax only began being deducted at source in 2019 – before that employees only had social charges deducted from their salary and then got an annual bill for income tax.

The new system is known as prélèvement à la source, which is sometimes confusingly translated as ‘withholding tax’ but it means pay-as-you-earn.

READ ALSO How to understand your French payslip

The eventual plan is that declarations for employees will be scrapped, but at present most people still need to fill one in.

Exemptions – as mentioned, France is in the middle of a major shift in tax declarations and some employees whose only income is their salary were in 2020 or 2021 moved on to ‘automatic declarations’ where you simply declare that all the information you supplied last year is still correct. 

This is being extended to more employees this year – if you are eligible you will receive an email from the tax office or a message via your online tax portal, if you are not contacted, assume you need to complete the declaration as normal.

Rebates – for some people filling in a tax declaration might result in the French government giving you money, rather than the other way round.

There are a lot of tax rebates available in France, from specific professions who are exempt from income tax on a proportion of their salaries due to historic union agreements to deductions available for parents on costs like childcare and domestic help.

If you have been working from home over the past two years, as many people did during the pandemic, there are also tax breaks you can claim.

READ ALSO The French tax breaks you don’t want to miss out on

Second-home owners

For most second-home owners who keep their main residence in another country, a tax declaration will not be necessary in France, but if you rent out your French home and therefore have income in France you may need to fill in the declaration. Find out more at the French government’s international taxpayers section HERE (in English).

If you own property in France you will be liable for two types of property tax – the property owners’ tax taxe foncière and the householders tax taxe d’habitation – but these are billed separately from the annual declaration which is concerned with income.

Working in France

If you are working in France but not living here you may also have to make a declaration, depending on your status.

Cross border workers – people who live in another country but cross the border daily to work in France are mostly covered by treaties.

France has signed treaties with Germany, Belgium, Spain and Italy that states that salaries are taxable in the worker’s country of residence, even if the wages are earned elsewhere. Eight Swiss cantons have similar agreements with France, but not the Canton of Geneva (although the great majority of cross border-workers there are working in Switzerland and living in France rather than the other way round). Find out more HERE.

French employer – if you live outside France but have done paid work in France for a French company you may need to fill in a French tax declaration, even if your salary has had tax deducted at source. Find out more HERE.

Make the declaration

Declarations opened on April 7th and covers the time period January 2021 to December 2021.

If you live in France you need to declare all your income, wherever it comes from (although if you have already been taxed on it in another country you won’t need to pay more tax in France). This includes income from renting out a property in another country, pension income and income from shares and dividends.

You also need to declare all non-French bank accounts on your declaration – even if they are dormant and empty.

If this is your first year declaring tax in France you need to register first and you may need to make the declaration on paper – everyone else can declare online.

Find out in more detail how it works HERE and HERE.

The deadline to have your declaration completed is late May/early June depending on where you live and whether you are filing on paper or online – full details here.

Member comments

  1. It says the declaration is “due in April” but that’s not the case. The online declaration forms will become available starting on April 14. The due dates vary depending on department, and whether you are filing electronically or with paper. They range from May 18 to June 2.

  2. If I didn’t move to France until August of 2021, do I file the declaration for 2021 or do I wait until I’ve been in country for the full tax year?

  3. I imagine this year there will be a number of new “residents” in France, with those British individuals who have received their carte de séjour as a result of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. If they’ve retained their UK home and do not reside in France for all 365 days a year, even though they may well own a second home in France, I wonder where would that leave them with regard to making a declaration.

  4. I imagine there will be many new “residents” in France this year, with those who have completed the application for a carte de séjour under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. It’s possible that not all of these are living full-time, 365 days a year, in France. Many may still have a U.K. home that is considered their main residence. I wonder where that leaves such people with regard to filling out a tax form, especially if they have a home in France.

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

MONEY

How to avoid huge ‘roaming’ phone bills while visiting France

Ever wondered how to avoid paying exorbitant roaming fees when travelling in France? There are ways to keep your internet access while avoiding being hit by a big bill.

How to avoid huge 'roaming' phone bills while visiting France

Travelling without access to the internet is almost impossible these days. We use our phones for mapping applications, contacting the Airbnb, even scanning the QR code for the restaurant menu.

If you’re lucky enough to have a phone registered in an EU country than you don’t need to worry, thanks to the EU’s cap on charges for people travelling, but non-Europeans need to be careful with their phone use abroad.

First things first, if you are looking to avoid roaming charges, be sure to go into your settings and turn off “data roaming.” Do it right before your plane lands or your train arrives – you don’t want to risk the phone company in your home country starting the clock on ‘one day of roaming fees’ without knowing it.

But these days travelling without internet access can be difficult and annoying, especially as a growing number of tourist attractions require booking in advance online, while restaurants often display their menus on a QR code.

So here are some techniques to keep the bills low.

Check your phone company’s roaming plan

Before leaving home, check to see what your phone plan offers for pre-paid roaming deals.

For Brits, if you have a phone plan with “Three” for example, you can ask about their “Go Roam” plan for add-on allowance. You can choose to pay monthly or as you go. Vodafone offers eight day and 15 day passes that are available for £1 a day.

For Americans, T-Mobile offers you to add an “international pass” which will charge you $5 per day. Verizon and AT&T’s roaming plans will charge you $10 per day. For AT&T, you are automatically opted into this as soon as your phone tries to access data abroad.

These all allow you to retain your normal phone number and plan.

Beware that these prices are only available if you sign up in advance, otherwise you will likely be facing a much bigger bill for using mobile data in France. 

Buy a pre-paid SIM card

However, if you are travelling for a longer period of time it might work out cheaper to turn off your phone data and buy a pre-paid SIM card in France.

In order to get a pre-paid SIM card, you will need your passport or proof of identity (drivers’ licences do not count).

Keep in mind that you will not be able to use your normal phone number with the new SIM card in, but will be able to access your internet enabled messaging services, like WhatsApp, Facebook and iMessage. Your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ (ask your carrier about whether yours is) in order to put a new SIM card in.

Here are some of the plans you can choose from:

Orange Holiday

This is one of France’s largest and most reputable telephone companies. The “Orange Holiday” SIM card exists specifically for tourists. At €39.99, you will get a SIM card that will enable you to make and receive calls and texts from a French phone number. You will have unlimited calls and texts within Europe, as well as two hours of calls and 1000 texts outside of Europe (for messaging people at home, for example). You will also have access to 30GB of data in Europe. 

The initial plan is valid for 14 days, and begins as soon as you begin calling, texting, or surfing the web. In order to get this SIM card, you can go into any Orange store and request it. Some supermarkets and airport kiosks might also carry this SIM card.

SFR

SFR is another well-known French phone company. Their pre-paid SIM card is called “La Carte,” and they offer several different options based on how much internet, calling, and texting you want access to. The basic plan is for 30 days and starts at €9.99 a month, which includes a €10 credit. Once the card is in your cellphone, you can add on a top-up option as needed.

You can buy this SIM card either online or in an SFR store. 

La Poste Mobile

This is the French phone company that operates in conjunction to the post office. What is especially convenient about this SIM card is that you should be able to get it at any post office in France. Plans range from €5 to €30 based on the number of days and the amount of calling, texting, and internet you are looking for. 

Bouygues Telecom

Finally, Bouygues Telecom also has some offers for prepaid SIM cards. Their plan, the “My European SIM” is especially made for tourists. It costs €39.90 and allows you unlimited calling and texting in France and Europe. The plan offers 20Gb of data. You can plan ahead for your trip by ordering this card online, but you can only activate it once you arrive in France.

The card actually comes along with a tourist guide (offered in 10 languages) and a map of Paris Metro.

Contract

Though buying a pre-paid SIM card is a very useful option for visitors spending a decent amount of time in France, it is important to be sure you are buying a pre-paid SIM, rather than accidentally signing up for a monthly plan.

Some mobile phone carriers offer very affordable monthly plans, which might look appealing to tourists. However, these plans will continue charging you after your vacation has ended, and many involve complex processes, including sending a registered cancellation letter (in French), in order to cancel the plan.

UK contracts

If you have a UK-registered mobile phone, check your plan carefully before travelling. Before Brexit, Brits benefited from the EU cap on roaming charges, but this no longer applies.

Some phone companies have announced the return of roaming charges, while others have not, or only apply roaming charges only on certain contracts.

In short, check before you set off and don’t assume that because you have never been charged extra before, you won’t be this time.

SHOW COMMENTS