Taxes, savings, and hunting rules: 6 essential articles for life in France

Taxes coming your way if you plan to extend your home, or if you merely live in a particular area of the country, why a Livret A savings account might be a good idea, EU support, and the government’s 14-point hunting plan all feature in this week’s round-up of The Local’s essential articles

Taxes, savings, and hunting rules: 6 essential articles for life in France
(Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

If you live in particular areas of southwest France, and we know there are a fair few English speakers in that neck of the woods, there’s something you need to know, because households in the area face an extra property tax in 2023, in order to fund the new high-speed rail line.

Here are the details of the new tax and who will be affected by it.

Homeowners in south west France to pay extra property taxes to fund new rail line

Speaking of taxes… Are you planning to build an extension or get a swimming pool installed in your French home? If you are, you’re likely looking at rising costs for materials and labour due to inflation – and taxes.

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has just raised the rate. We explain here.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you open a French bank account, you may also be offered a Livret A saving’s account – here’s what that means and why it might be a good time to open one, with interest rates expected to rise in February.

What is a Livret A and should foreigners living in France open one?

Changing the subject a bit, there has been a significant decline in support for leaving the European Union within all member states following the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote, according to a new survey by the European Social Survey.

Public support in Europe for leaving EU collapses since Brexit, new survey shows

You may have heard that France is braced for a spot of “social unrest” in early 2023 as president Emmanuel Macron vows to push ahead with highly unpopular pension reforms – but just how good do the French have it when it comes to pensions?

How does France’s pension age of 62 compare to the rest of Europe?

With the stated goal of “zero hunting accidents,” France’s junior environment minister, Bérangère Couillard, has unveiled 14 measures the country plans to take in order to make hunting safer for the more-than one million people who take part in hunts every year in France – and the rest of us.

Alcohol limits, training days and an app: How France plans to make hunting safer

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Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.