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Financial update May 2024 – France

By Katriona Murray-Platon
This article is published on: 3rd May 2024

Tax season is in full swing at the moment and as with every year I have been getting lots of questions and queries relating to tax matters in France.

Over the April holidays I did sit down to do our own tax return and therefore was able to see whether there were any new aspects in the online declaration. I’m one of those people who prefers to know rather than waiting for surprises and this particularly applies to tax returns. Either we will have more to pay in which case it would be best to be prepared or we have less to pay in which case I want to know how much the tax refund will be. Because of the increase in the tax bands, if your income was comparatively the same in 2023 and in 2022, then you should have less tax to pay this year. In spite of my many years of experience of doing tax returns, I am not infallible and I did actually have to go back into our tax return to correct it. So based on my own mistakes I thought I would give you some tips about what to do and what not to do!

Tax time in France
  1. COLLECT YOUR FIGURES – Make sure that you know what kinds of income you and your partner received and what the figures are whether they are taken off a bank statement or a certificate. If you have foreign income you will also need to know the exchange rate on the date on which you received the income or the average Bank of France rate for 2023.
  2. CHECK THE FIGURES ALREADY ENTERED ON THE TAX FORM – if you or someone in your tax household has received income from a French source (pension, salary, French bank income etc) then this should already be entered on the tax form. Nonetheless it is still worth checking that these figures correspond with any certificates issued by the relevant body or the December 2023 payslip. Even though my husband works for a French public body they don’t always communicate the right figures to the French tax office so I have learnt that it is worth checking and querying any differences.
  3. CHECK THAT ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INCOME ARE TICKED – Before you get to actually declaring the income you need to tick the boxes of which type of income you will be declaring. Some may already be ticked from previous years but others may not be even though you have been declaring the same type of income for years. If you have received another source of income then you need to tick the box for this new category of income. If you are declaring online not all the pages and the boxes will appear and it is easy to overlook something.
  4. REMEMBER THE ANNEX FORMS – in particular the 2047 for foreign income and the 3916 for foreign bank accounts. Regarding the latter, your information from the previous year should already be entered so you only have to carry over this information from last year but if you have opened or closed an account in 2023 or one is not mentioned on the form you will have to fill in the details. You will also have to declare the value as at 1st January 2024 of any foreign assurance vies. For the 2047 you may need to swap between this form and the main 2042 form to check that all the income is correctly entered and carried over onto the 2042.
  5. DON’T FORGET YOUR TAX CREDITS – We have had a piano teacher paid via CESU and the amounts declared were already entered on the tax form however the amounts paid to our cleaning company were not. So if you have had any home help (cleaners; gardeners, lessons etc) they should have sent you a tax certificate for last year so you will need to enter that amount in the tax credit section.
  6. RETIREMENT CONTRIBUTIONS – more and more of us work in France and contribute to some sort of retirement (PERP or PER). This was where I made a mistake this year because whereas the amount showed on the form, it is not deducted from your tax until you reenter these amounts in the correct box. Given that this is a deductible expense from your income it can amount to a significant tax reduction, so it is important to make sure that it is is correctly entered.
  7. CHARITABLE DONATIONS – this is another one often overlooked. Normally any charity you donate to should have sent you a tax certificate and you will need this document to claim the tax deduction. If you know you have made a donation make sure that you find the tax certificate or request it from them if they haven’t already sent it.
  8. NOBODY IS PERFECT – you can start your declaration and go back to it. You can do one version and then go back and change it. Once you get to the signature page which shows the tax due (this won’t appear if you have foreign income that will receive a tax credit) if something seems wrong you can go back and amend it. You can do this as many times as you like until the official deadline without it generating separate tax bills and even after the deadline provided you have submitted something before the deadline. If it gets close to the deadline it is better to declare something and sign the tax return and then correct it at a later date rather than incur a fine for late submission.

The tax filing deadlines are as announced in my previous Ezine however the deadline for filing the paper return is Tuesday 21st May before midnight.

You need to get it into the post box before this time even if it will be collected the next day.

If you haven’t already engaged a tax lawyer or accounting firm to help you out with your tax return then it is too late to do so as they will be too busy at this time of year. Therefore you need to get something onto the tax form and get it submitted by the deadline. It doesn’t matter if it is incorrect you can always amend this year’s tax return at a later date.

If you have any questions on your taxes or finances in France please do send me an email and I would be happy to arrange a time to speak to you.

Article by Katriona Murray-Platon

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