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Tax Returns, Pensions & Seminars

By Spectrum IFA
This article is published on: 28th April 2014

What do the above have in common? Well nothing really except they are all topical now! Let’s start with tax returns ……..

I was really surprised to receive the French tax forms so early this year and then I realised why. The date for submission of paper returns has been brought forward to 20th May or if you submit your declaration over the net, then you have until 27th May to do this. Does this mean that we are going to get our tax demands a week or two earlier this year and perhaps with an earlier deadline date for payment? Well I guess that we will just have to wait and see.

No-one should ever try to second guess the Fisc or think that they can out-manoeuvre this government department. I hear some interesting stories of people being contacted and questioned about why they are not registered in the French tax system. You would be amazed at what is used to check – telephone bills, utility bills, etc., etc. How long will it be before our use of cash machines and our bank and credit card transactions in shops might be used to verify how much time we spend in France? Scary thought and actually they probably don’t need to go that far, as we can be tracked through our mobile phones and probably also our internet use.

Are you convinced now to register in the system? You’re still not sure if you are resident? OK, call me and with just a few questions, I will be able to tell you.

For those of you completing French income tax returns, don’t forget to include a list of foreign bank accounts and life assurance policies. You don’t have to declare amounts (unless you are subject to wealth tax), only the existence of the accounts and policies. If you don’t, the penalty is at least €1,500 per undisclosed account/policy or €10,000 if the bank account is in one of those uncooperative States or territories that have not concluded an agreement with France to exchange information. So even if it is an account that does not pay interest and there is very little in the account, declare the existence or risk the penalty!

Moving on to the other ‘hot topic’ of the day ……… I am already hearing about lots of people who are being cold-called about the UK pension reform. Apparently, these calls are being made by people operating from Spain or Cyprus or perhaps some other place. Typically, they are offering to liberate your UK pension plans now. What do these people know about the French tax system and the implications for you? For that matter, do they even understand the UK tax implications for you?

Rob and I have both written articles on this subject and I hope that we are sending out a strong message of the need to exercise caution. Every case will need to be considered on its own merits – there will be no ‘one size fits all’. Anyway being able to cash in large pension pots is only a proposal at the moment. We will have to wait for the result of the consultation and then probably a few months more to know the outcome. So if you get any of those calls coming from outside of France, my advice is to tell them not to waste your time!

The final thing that I want to mention is our client seminars – Le Tour de Finance. This is a tour that travels around France, where we bring ‘experts to expats’ and we are now taking bookings for the Spring tour for which there will be presentations on the following subjects:

  • Assurance Vie (two of our favoured providers will be presenting)
  • QROPS & Pension Investing (very topical)
  • Currency Exchange (is this a good time to exchange Sterling to Euros?)
  • Health Insurance (are you affected if the UK stop issuing S1s to early retirees?)
  • Wills in France & UK (are you affected by the EU succession rules from 2015?)
  • International Banking (do your current bankers meet your needs?)
  • Tax Advice in France (do you need help with those tax returns?)

Spectrum advisers will also be on hand at all events to answer questions. Maybe you need to have a more in-depth review of your financial situation. If so, we can arrange this with you.

As always, there is no charge for any of our seminars and the speakers’ presentations are followed by a buffet lunch/refreshments. The dates for the local events are:

  • 21st May – Hotel La Villa Duflot, 66000 Perpignan
  • 21st May – Hotel Abbaye École de Sorèze, 81540 Sorèze
  • 22nd May – Côté Mas, 34530 Montagnac
  • 23rd May – Montpellier Massane Golf & Spa Hotel, 34670 Baillargues

Each event starts at 10.00 am with a welcome coffee and ends at 2.00 pm after a buffet lunch, with the exception of Sorèze, which starts at 5.30 pm, finishes at 9.00 pm and refreshments will be served. The seminars are always very popular and so early booking is recommended.

If you would like to attend one of the seminars or you would like to have a confidential discussion on your financial situation, please contact me by telephone on 04 68 20 30 17 or by e-mail at

The above outline is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute advice or a recommendation from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action on the subject of investment of financial assets or the mitigation of taxes.

Article by Spectrum IFA

The Spectrum IFA Group is committed to providing a professional financial advice to the expat community in Europe. The Spectrum IFA Group operates in a number of jurisdictions with 12 offices in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malta and Portugal with over 50 advisers.

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