If you’ve been resident in France for any length of time you’ll probably be aware that May and June marks the annual French income tax return season. Filing an income tax return is mandatory for every French resident whether you actually earned any income or not and every non-French resident with earnings in France.
You may be comfortable submitting your form yourself. If you're employed, are already registered with the tax authorities and pay your income tax as-you-earn, your form will be pre-populated with the required information and all you have to do is review and submit it. Simple.
However, if you:
are a new French resident;
are newly self employed;
have a rental property in France;
have income overseas;
are retired in France and receive a UK pension;
have had a change in circumstances in the last year; and/or
the fear takes hold and you break out in a cold sweat as soon the word ‘tax’ is mentioned…
…then you may need some help completing your declaration. That’s where Aster can help. We have the knowledge and experience to help you prepare your tax return ready for submission.
French Income Tax Return FAQ
What are the French tax year dates?
The French tax year runs the calendar year from 1st January to 31st December. Each June you declare your income from the previous full tax year.
What is the submission date?
The date will be communicated to you by the tax authority and varies by region but is generally early to mid-June.
When will the form become available?
You'll receive your form from mid-May. If it’s your first time, you’ll receive a hard-copy in the post. After that, you'll complete and submit your form on impots.gouv.fr.
Beware! It's your responsibility to complete the form and submit it. So, if your address has changed or you aren’t yet registered as a taxpayer, make a note to access the form yourself as you may not receive it automatically (here’s a link to the form).
Do I have to declare income from overseas?
Yes. You must declare all worldwide income from the previous tax year and let them know of any money you have sitting in accounts overseas.
What if I make a mistake on my tax return?
The French authorities allow you ‘le droit à l’erreur’ -the right to make a mistake- which means you're able to correct your error up to a certain date post-submission, so don’t stress!
What if I miss the deadline?
There are financial penalties (fines) for late submission so don’t put it off!
How much tax will I have to pay?
Obviously the amount due varies based on your income and circumstances however, if you were on a short contract (CDD) last year, you may have paid too much tax and be due a rebate.
Income tax is calculated on the taxable table. Here is the 2021 taxable table for a single person. If you earn below €15,225, only €5K is taxed at 11%.
Do I have to pay for a TV license?
There is a section on your tax return regarding TV licenses. you're required to pay for a TV license if you have a TV screen in your house/apartment, regardless of whether or not it receives French television.
License fees are charged to a household and don't depend on the number of residents, i.e. only one person should pay the license fee (which was €138 in 2021).
Where can I get more information?
Connexion France releases an article each year with guidance on how to complete your tax return.
I’m married with children, how does this affect my tax return?
Married couples only complete one income tax return for the household. Unmarried, cohabiting couples must complete an income tax submission each and any children are fiscally linked to one parent or the other. If you have two children, you can link one to each account. If one parent is below the tax threshold and the other over, it's more beneficial to add the child to the parent with the higher earnings as it will reduce their income tax.
I’ve paid tax on my income overseas, do I still have to pay tax?
If you’ve earned income and paid taxes abroad and there’s a double taxation agreement between France and that country (which there is between most EU countries and the UK), you won’t be taxed on the income twice. That said, you do still need to declare your income in France.