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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

LIVING IN FRANCE

How and when to send Christmas presents from France

If you want to send Christmas presents to friends and family overseas you need to know the deadline dates and how to avoid being hit with extra charges - here's what you need to know.

How and when to send Christmas presents from France

Deadlines

First things first, you need to make sure your parcel arrives in time for Christmas, which means sending it before the deadline.

The French postal service La Poste has the following deadlines;

In Europe

If you’re sending a parcel within France, the deadline to have it delivered by Christmas is December 23rd. 

If you’re sending to the UK or Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spanish islands (eg Tenerife), Croatia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Malta, Norway, Portuguese islands (eg Madeira) or Romania you have until December 16th.

If you’re sending to Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden or Switzerland you have until December 17th.

If you’re sending to Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Portugal you have until December 19th.

Outside Europe

If you’re sending to the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand or Hong Kong you have until December 10th. Likewise if you’re sending to most French overseas territories, the deadline is December 10th.

For most other countries the deadline is December 3rd, but you can find the full list here

Private couriers like Fed-Ex and DPD have their own deadlines, although they are broadly in line with La Poste, and if you’re buying online each company has its own deadline on when it can guarantee a Christmas delivery.

Fees and customs declarations

If you’re sending parcels to another EU country then it’s pretty straightforward – just pay the delivery cost (you can check how much it will be to send via La Poste here) and make sure you send it before the deadline.

If, however, you are sending to a country outside the EU (which of course now includes the UK) then you will need to fill out a customs declaration form explaining what is in your parcel and whether it is a gift or not.

In addition to standard postal charges, you may also need to pay customs duties, depending on the value or your parcel and whether it is a gift or not. 

Find full details on customs duty rules HERE.

Banned items

And there are some items that are banned from the post – if you’re sending parcels to the US be aware that you cannot send alcohol through the mail as a private individual, so don’t try a ship some nice French wine or a bottle of your local liqueur. 

Most countries ban firearms and fireworks, not unreasonably, although be aware that this includes items like sparklers.

Sending food and plants is also often restricted with countries including Canada and Australia having strict rules and most other countries imposing restrictions on what you can send.

This also applies the other way and France bans any foodstuffs containing animal products (eg chocolate) sent from outside the EU. 

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