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MAP: Where to find the cheapest fuel in France

In common with many countries, France is seeing soaring prices of petrol and diesel as a result of the war in Ukraine - prices at the pump have already reached €2 a litre in many areas and are set to go higher.

Fuel prices in France are reaching record highs
Fuel prices in France are reaching record highs. Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP

The government is working on a plan to ‘protect’ French residents from the price rises resulting from the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions on Russia, but while we wait, here are some tips on finding cheaper fuel.

Autoroutes

Unsurprisingly, the highest prices are at service stations on the autoroutes so heading into a town to fill up instead will save you money.

Make sure you know where you are going though. Many supermarkets place signposts next to highway exits, but once you have turned off the signs often trail out leaving you lost in a strange city.

If you end up driving the entire circumference of the city of Tours while having a blazing row with your partner – to quote a completely random example from no-one we know – it rather nullifies any saving you might make on fuel prices.

Supermarkets

Supermarkets usually come out top of most price comparison sites, as the chains sell fuel at very little profit, but use the filling station as a way of luring the customer into the main store to spend money.

Map

The French government hosts this helpful little interactive map that lists the current price of fuel at filling stations across the country.

If you’re in a town it can provide a price comparison, or for long journeys help you plan your route via the cheapest filling points. Click HERE for the full map.

Map: gouv.fr

There are also apps that do roughly the same thing, including Carbu.com, Essence&Co and Fuel Flash.

Government help

While no governments enjoy presiding over fuel price rises, in France this has a particular political resonance as the ‘yellow vest’ protests that rocked the country back in 2018 and 2019 began as a protest over the cost of motoring.

At that time petrol was around €1.60 a litre, significantly lower than the current cost.

Keenly aware of this, the French government also already brought in two measures to protect motorists – a tax break for people who use their cars to commute and a one-off payment of €100 to those on lower incomes.

These measures are likely to be repeated in some form in the Ukraine plan.

French vocab

La station service – filling station

Les carburants – fuel (petrol/gas and diesel)

L’essence – petrol/gas

Gazole – diesel

Sans plomb quatre-vingt-quinze (or SP95) – standard unleaded petrol/gas

Sans plomb quatre-vingt-dix-huit (SP98) – higher octane unleaded petrol/gas

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MONEY

Do you pay tax on cryptocurrency in France and if so, how much?

Cryptocurrency is big business in France but the rules on the taxation of income from the currency differ to other countries.

Do you pay tax on cryptocurrency in France and if so, how much?

Bitcoin. Ethereum. Tether. Mining. Binance. To the uninitiated, cryptocurrency can sound like a different language. But, in France, it’s big business, with an estimated 3.4 million people reportedly holding at least some “crypto”.

In May, France became the first major European nation to give approval for cryptocurrency exchange Binance to operate in the country.

But this does not mean the country is operating a light touch on cryptocurrency regulations – a fact Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO and founder, recognised at an event in Paris in April to launch a government-backed programme for “Web3” start-ups.

As cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, more and more people may be looking to get on board. But, is it taxable? How is it taxable, and how much tax do you have to pay?

First things first: yes, cryptocurrency income is taxed. It’s income. It’s taxable.

The tax rate applicable for capital gains and income from crypto assets depends on whether you’re a professional trader, an occasional investor or a miner.

France’s Direction Générale des Finances Publiques (DGFiP) says that capital gains from the sale of crypto assets like bitcoins are currently taxed at the following rates:

Occasional investors – flat tax rate of 30 percent, made up of 12.8% income tax and 17.2% for social security contributions

Professional traders – BIC tax regime of 0-45 percent.

Crypto Miners – BNC tax regime of 0-45 percent.

The flat rate for occasional investors applies to individuals with financial investments in crypto assets, and other investment income like dividends and life insurance, not to professional traders. 

The DGFiP will only tax capital gains from crypto when crypto is converted into euros or any other fiat currency, if the total capital gain exceeds 305€ per year.

That means those who only dabble in crypto pay less than those who make their living from it.

The difference between an occasional investor and professional trader lies in how often you “dabble”. 

The more you play the crypto market, the more likely you are to be regarded as a professional trader – in which case the variable rate of 0 percent to 45 percent applies.

The point at which an occasional investor and professional trader isn’t obvious – that decision is made on a case-by-case basis – but the DGFiP’s working out on this calculation is based on the total investment amount, trade volumes, and how often you sell cryptocurrency. 

The more often you do this, the more likely you are to be considered a trader.

Mining, meanwhile, falls under the non-commercial profits regime of the general tax code. For more details, click on the government website, here.

As for declaring any crypto accounts you may have, there’s a special section on your annual French income tax declaration. Transfers into legal tender currency (but not another cryptocurrency), as well as purchases of goods or services using crypto, are taxable.

The overall amount of the capital gain (or loss) for the year must be entered in the annual income tax return, along with the details of the transactions

Fines for failure to declare a single bank account or investment scheme are hefty – from €1,500 to €10,000, with €3,000 being a fairly common penalty. These amounts are applied to each account you fail to declare.

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