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Taxes For Members

Everything you need to know about your 2023 French tax declaration

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Everything you need to know about your 2023 French tax declaration
Photo by Fred TANNEAU / AFP

It's tax declaration season, the most wonderful time of the year (as nobody said, ever). But love it or hate it, tax declarations are compulsory for almost everyone in France, so here's everything you need to know about this year's process.

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Dates

Tax declarations are now open - and you have until either May or June to complete yours, depending on where you live.

  • May 22nd - deadline for people who do their declaration on paper (for most people, declarations can now only be done online)
  • May 25th, 11.59pm – closing date for online tax declarations for inhabitants of départements 1 to 19, as well as people who live outside France;
  • June 1st, 11.59pm – closing date for online tax declarations for inhabitants of départements 20 to 54;
  • June 8th, 11.59pm – closing date for online tax declarations for inhabitants of départements 55 to 96, and France's overseas départements.

Over the summer, you will then get your tax statement, telling you whether you have any outstanding taxes to pay or, if applicable, the size of your tax rebate.

If you don't think the bill is correct - here's how to challenge it.

Who has to make the declaration?

Almost everyone living in France must complete the annual income tax declaration - even if you're an employee and your taxes have already been deducted at source, or if you have no income in France (eg retirees living on a pension from another country).

If you don't live in France but you have income here (which potentially includes second-home owners who rent out their property for part of the year) you will also have to complete the declaration.

You can find the full list of who is required to declare HERE

This declaration relates to people who were resident in France between January 1st and December 31st, 2022. 

What's new this year?

If you have been in France for some years you will already be used to this annual task, but there are some changes to be aware of this year.

The first is for Brits - if you have any income from the UK (excluding pensions) you will now pay social charges on it at the non-EU rate of 17.2 percent, rather than the EU rate of 7.5 percent. Yes, this is a Brexit-related change. Social charges are applied even on income that is exempt from taxes (eg if you have already paid tax on it in the UK) - more details here.

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The second relates to property owners - all property owners in France (including non-resident second-home owners) must this year fill in the new property tax declaration. Full details HERE.

First timers

If this is your first year doing the declaration in France, the first thing to do is request a tax number (numéro fiscale) and set up an account on the tax website - find the full guide to doing that HERE.

You then fill in the declaration either online or on a paper form (after the first year, everyone must do their declarations online). You can find a complete guide to the form and how you fill it in HERE.

In good news, the first year is the hardest - once you have filed online once, the website remembers your previous answers, so filling in the next declaration becomes a lot quicker and simpler.

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If you are having difficulties with any aspect of the process, you can contact the tax office helpline on 08 09 40 14 01, or visit your local tax office. Believe it or not, most tax office employees are pretty friendly and helpful and at this time of year are well used to assisting people with their declarations.

If you visit close to deadline day, however, it's likely to be busy, so take a good book to read while you wait.

READ ALSO 5 top tips for dealing with the French tax office

Traps for unwary foreigners

There are few things that reliably catch out foreigners in France every year.

One of these is that you must declare all non-French bank accounts. This is the rule for everyone, but it's common for foreigners to have at least one bank account left in their home country and these must be declared at tax time, even if they’re dormant or have no money in them.

This bit of the tax form is quite easy to miss, it’s buried in with income from stocks and shares and other financial products which you might think doesn’t apply to you, but failure to declare a foreign account attracts a fee of between €1,500 and €10,000 per account - €3,000 is average for individuals.

If you're investing in cryptocurrency, this too must be declared.

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Likewise all non-French income must be declared. If you have already paid tax on it in your home country you likely won’t have to pay more tax in France if your country has a dual taxation agreement - which most do - but you still have to declare it. This includes pensions, income from rental property and dividends from shares or other financial products.

You declare as a household in France - so if you are a married couple or living together you file a single declaration. Likewise if you have any adult children or other family members living with you, they go on your declaration.

Get help

Daunted by the idea? The declaration is not actually that difficult - and is designed to be used by individuals - but if your financial affairs are complicated, you don't feel that your French is up to the task or you just can't face more forms, then help is available.

Here's how to find an English-speaking accountant in France, and what you should look for when you're selecting someone to help with your declaration. 

French vocab

Déclaration des revenues - income tax declaration

Numéro fiscale - your individual tax number. This is not the same as your social security number

Impôt sur les revenues - income tax

Prélèvements sociaux - social charges 

Revenus fonciers - income from property

Foyer fiscale - tax household. In France, couples and families make a single declaration that covers their household

Centre des finances publiques - tax office. To find your local tax office, Google 'centre des finances publiques' plus the name of your commune

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