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TAXES

The French tax calendar for 2021 – which taxes are due when?

The French government has released the tax deadlines for 2021. These are the dates to keep in mind.

The French tax calendar for 2021 - which taxes are due when?
Most tax payers in France will fill out their forms online this year, but those living in remote areas with poor internet access may still do it on paper. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

Last year, the government decided to push back the tax deadline dates because of the strict Covid-19 lockdown, but this year the normal timeframe remains in place.

People who live in France or own property here generally have to pay at least some tax as – in return for its robust welfare state –  France is the most highly taxed country in Europe. 

The big one is the annual déclaration des revenues, which this year opened on Thursday, April 8th.

Almost everyone who lives in France has to fill in the annual declaration and non-residents may have to if they have an income in France. Second-home owners usually won’t have to do the annual declaration but they are liable for property taxes.

Find out HERE who has to make the declaration, how to do it and some handy vocab to use.

EXPLAINED: Who has to make a tax declaration in France in 2021?

These are the key dates to keep in mind.

May 20th – closing date for the annual tax declarations done on paper. The French government asks everyone who can to declare their taxes online. However first time tax payers and people living in areas with poor internet access may use the paper version of the tax forms.

READ ALSO: How to file your 2021 French tax declaration

May 26th – closing date for online tax declarations for inhabitants of départements 1 to 19, as well as people who live outside France

June 1st – closing date for online tax declarations for inhabitants of départements 20 to 54

June 8th – closing date for online tax declarations for inhabitants of 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 or the government could even give you money.

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

As well as the annual declaration, people who own property in France also pay property taxes, and unfortunately these are still due even for people who have been unable to visit their French properties due to Covid-related travel restrictions.

October 15th – deadline to pay taxe foncière by mail

October 20th – 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 instalments

November 15th – deadline to pay taxe d’habitation by mail

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

Mid December – the deadline to correct errors in your online tax declaration. 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 – the housing tax paid by those living in a property, not the owner, is in the process of being phased out and most people won’t have to pay it this year. However second home owners are excluded from the phasing out and still have to pay it, bar a few exceptions.

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners in France claim tax rebates for 2020?

Taxe foncière – this is the tax for property owners, second home owners pay both this and the taxe d’habitation. The tax on property owners has risen in many areas over the past couple of years.

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. You pay it if you have a TV in your property, even if you don’t watch French TV.

Avis d’impôt/déclaration des revenues – 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.

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For members

TRAVEL

Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

Ever seen those drivers who avoid the queues at toll booths and driving straight through? Here's how they do it.

Driving in France: What is télépéage and how does it work?

If you’re driving on French autoroutes one of the things you need to know is that they are not free – you will have to pay regular tolls, payable at toll booths known as péage.

Usually, drivers pick up a ticket from a booth at the start of their journey, then pay the required amount at a booth at the end of it – or when they move onto a different section of autoroute – based on the distance they have travelled.

But the toll booths themselves can be busy, especially during the summer, and long queues sometimes build up.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

This is where automated pay systems – known as télépéage – come in, especially for those who use the motorway network regularly.

As well as allowing you to pass straight through péages without stopping for payment, it’s also very useful for owners of right-hand drive vehicles, who may otherwise find that they’re sitting on the wrong side for easy and speedy payment.

Here’s how it works

Order your télépéage badge online

Click on the Bip&Go website here and follow the instructions to order a scannable personalised device (up to a maximum of two per account for private users). You will need to set up an account to arrange electronic payment of charges.

The website is available in English, French, German or Dutch.

You will need to supply bank details (IBAN number), address (for delivery), mobile phone number (to activate your account) and the vehicle’s registration details.

Your badge will be dispatched to your address within 48 hours from the opening of your online account. You can have the device sent to addresses outside France, but allow longer for it to arrive. 

If you’re in France, you can also pick up the device at one of Bip&Go’s stores, if you prefer – you will need need your bank details, proof of identity and a mobile phone.

Attach your badge 

Place your device on on the windscreen to the right of the rearview mirror. It is activated and ready to go. Then, simply, drive.

At the péage

All toll booths are equipped with the sensors that recognise that the vehicle is carrying the necessary device. At most, you will have to stop briefly for the device to be recognised and the barrier to lift.

You will also be able to drive through certain booth areas without stopping. These are indicated by an orange t symbol on the overhead signs. The maximum speed you can pass through these booths is 30kph.

Payments

Payments are processed automatically. You can monitor the amounts you have to pay on an app.

Do I need separate badges for motorway networks run by different companies?

No. The badge allows holders to travel on the entire French motorway network, no matter which company manages the motorway, and you can also use it to cross a number of toll structures in France such as the Millau Viaduct, the Tancarville Bridge or the Normandie Bridge, and pay to park in more than 450 car parks. 

Is it only valid in France?

No, with certain packages, you can also as easily travel on motorways in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and use a number of compatible car parks. You can even use them on Italian ferries.

Okay, but how much does it cost?

Subscriptions to the Bip&Go service depend on what type of service you want. A fixed price rolling subscription is €16 a year – plus toll charges – but assumes you’re a regular user of French motorways. 

A pay-as-you-go subscription is €1.70 for every month the badge is in use – plus toll charges – and carries a €10 additional fee if the badge is not used in a 12-month period.

How much are the toll charges?

They depend on the road you’re on, how far you travel along it, and the vehicle you’re driving.

Heading from Toulouse to Biarritz along the A64 will cost a total €23 in fees for a private car and if you’re driving all the way from Calais down to the Mediterranean coast expect to pay around €70 once you add up the various tolls along the way.

You can find out tariffs for autoroutes on the website of France’s official autoroute body AFSA – where you can also calculate the cost of your journey – including fuel.

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