Why millions of workers in France are getting extra tax bills

Why millions of workers in France are getting extra tax bills
Photo: Philippe HUGUEN / AFP.
If you pay income tax in France you could be in for a nasty surprise as 10.8 million households will have to pay extra after taxes were deducted at a rate too low in 2020.

Almost a third of the 34.5 million households which declared taxes in France for 2020 will have to pay extra. The total amount owed comes to €16.3 billion, and tax authorities will deduct it directly from people’s bank accounts on Monday.

In January 2019, France introduced prélèvement à la source – income tax deducted at the source, meaning it comes directly out of your monthly pay check. However, this is only an estimation. It was only after tax declarations were submitted in May and June that tax authorities were able to calculate the actual amount owed for 2020.

The Ministry of Public Action and Accounts announced in July that 12.7 million households would be reimbursed part of what they’d already paid – €10.4 billion was paid out in July and August. 14.4 million households paid the correct amount of tax last year, but 10.8 million owe money to the state.

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“It could be because, for example, your income increased last year and you did not flag it up in your account on impots.gouv.fr, or you benefited from reductions or tax credits that were too high in January 2021 in relation to your actual expenditure,” the ministry said.

If the money owed is less than or equal to €300, the full sum will be deducted automatically from your bank account on September 27th. If it comes to more than €300, it will be deducted in four installments: on September 27th, October 25th, November 25th and December 27th.

French tax assessments were uploaded to impots.gouv.fr starting from July 26th, and you should by now have received an email informing you that the document is available to consult, or received your tax assessment through the post if you requested a paper copy.

If your situation changes, and you don’t want to be hit with a bad surprise this time next year, you can notify the tax authorities through the “Gérer mon prélèvement à la source” function online. Changes to your salary or family situation, including marriage, Pacs (civil partnership) or the birth of a child, could have an effect on the amount of tax you owe each month.

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