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French Taxes on a low income


the gardon hunter
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We are a couple who purchased a property in 2005 then moved to France in April 2006 and we live here permanently.  We have no ties in the UK so do not intend returning to live there.  So - the husband has no income and still has 3.5 years to state pension age, and the wife receives her state pension and 3 small occupational pensions (where tax is deducted at source in the UK) and these total  c11000 euros pa.  

We have paid our fonciere and habitation taxes for the past two years so we are in some sort of  'tax system' but have not yet received any personal tax forms. 

We're not being lazy but we're afraid it's not as simple as going down to the tax offices to ask the questions as our command of the French language is very limited indeed.

So we have a few queries that someone on the forum may be able to help us with. 

  • Firstly, how do we get the forms
  • When we receive them, are they completed by us as a couple or do we complete one form each
  • If we complete as a couple, is the 11,000 euro annual income classed as being joint income and would we be considered as being on a low income
  • Because we are on a low income, are we liable for any reduction in the habitation tax
  • Are there any other 'benefits' we could receive (e.g. free TV licence)

Any replies and advice would be most welcome. 

 

 

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You should have gone to your tax office in January and asked for your tax forms.  You must declare your income from the moment you arrive, in the following year, and your tax return for 2006 should have been in this spring. Do this now because the penalties for late declarations are severe, but you may get away with this if you "play innocent" - no guarantees of course, it depends so much upon the person locally whom you end up dealing with.  In France, you are obliged to take care of these things youself and - amazingly! - a poor command of the language isn't normally accepted as a good excuse.  Yes, you complete the return as a  couple and the total amount of tax which you owe is worked out on the basis that your joint income is divided in half and any allowances are applied to each half.

If your pensions in the UK are private (ie not public sector - civil service, police, armed forces etc) then you should not be paying tax in the UK, but here, so you need to inform the UK tax authorities that you have moved, so that you can discontinue paying tax in the UK, and get a rebate on any tax you have paid since your move.

Once you are in the French tax system then any reductions in tax d'habitation etc will come through automatically, I think but somebody will know. I don't know about the TV license.

Make sure that you have sorted out your healthcare because if the wife's E121 does not include dependents, then you will possibly have to pay for full private healthcare for the husband once the E106 runs out and until the E121 kicks in.  You have no doubt noticed the number of threads on this subject at present.

 

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And perhaps hence the reason for the French change in health care entitlement.

 

You need to go to the tax office and get a tax form  that is a legal obligation not being able to speak French is not a defence if you want to live in a country learn the language

You complete them as a couple

Your joint income is taxable

You will not get a reduction in tax

And why do you think that you should get any other benefit

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Firstly, how do we get the forms

go to your local Centre des Impots (you should have done this in Jan

07). If you don't tell them you live here, how are they to know? Paying

the local taxes does not class you residents.

When we receive them, are they completed by us as a couple or do we complete one form each?

You will be taxed as a couple unless you are not married to each other.

If we complete as a couple, is the

11,000 euro annual income classed as being joint income and would we be

considered as being on a low income?

see above

Because we are on a low income, are we liable for any reduction in the habitation tax?

declare your income first, they will decide if you are liable for any reduction

Are there any other 'benefits' we could receive (e.g. free TV licence)
?

see above
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You will need to go to the tax office for the forms. Try to find someone to go with you who speaks a bit of french. Otherwise you might find someone at the office who speaks a bit of english. You fill in one set of forms for a couple. Probably the tax officer will help you to fill them in if you provide the figures, converted to euros. As you only arrived last April you only need to declare the 8 months of income. The french tax year runs from Jan. to Jan. Probably you won't have to pay any tax in France but need to declare your income. Not sure about the minimum figure for reduction of taxes Hab. and Fonc.but think you may be just too high. Someone else should add to this. Good luck. ps we are in a similar situation and  I have now been told - after 5 years- that my govt. oap should be taxed in France so I'm in the process of arranging that. ( I wrote this then delayed posting it because of a phone call so repeats some of what others are saying. )

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tgh ............

All this advice is completely correct, though BaF's parting comment is a little harsh!  You'll be aware that most are feeling somewhat bruised at the moment.

If you have a genuinely low worldwide income, then you have (potentially) a low exposure to income tax, but your TdH and TF are linked to your property and location and thus irreduceable unless you are 65+ and on a low income (and less than that which you have indicated).

Putting it bluntly, you need to get your act together, but this needn't be as hard as you fear. Go to the Impots, take all your supporting income documentation and explain (as best you can) your dilemma.  They'll probably arrange a meeting for a few days hence and take you through the process. 

PM me for more detailed info if you wish.   

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[quote user="Gardian"]

If you have a genuinely low worldwide income, then you have (potentially) a low exposure to income tax, but your TdH and TF are linked to your property and location and thus irreduceable unless you are 65+ and on a low income (and less than that which you have indicated).

[/quote]

This is not true, TDH can be reduced for people on low income.

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I wouldn't worry too much about being a bit late with your tax forms. Out of ignorance we didn't fill in a form until our 3rd year here, when they sent us a letter. We thought like many others that as we paid tax in UK that was it. All that happened was that we had to start from there. Unless things have tightenedup from then.
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Hello to everyone who answered our email.  With the exception of one unncecessary remark, thank you all for your constructive comments and advice.  We emailed  HMRC Residency and downloaded Form FD5 which we completed.  We then took all the relevant information and went to the local tax office and we were seen immediately by an official who offered to help us complete the forms and within 10 minutes, everything was finished.  No worries after all.  So it seemed we had got ourselves in a flap over nothing and we have no tax to pay, no penalties for late submission and it looks very promising for a reduction in our habitation tax.  We are all legal and above board now, including driving on French plates so what one of the members was getting at, we're not quite sure.

Anyway, thanks again everyone and next year we hope to complete the forms online.

 

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Gardian has a point!  I've been paying taxes in both countries for ages now, thanks to the sloth of the UK tax people.  I'm hoping the rebate will fund our private health insurance for a year or two.

Glad you got sorted.  However, I hope you heeded my little note re the health cover.  Make sure you're aware of what's going to happen to you in this regard.

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An income of 11,000 euros for a couple with no dependant children is not considered low enough to qualify for exemption in your habitation tax. (There is no such thing as a reduction).

You would have to be under the current ceiling for RMI, currently 661.29 euros per month.

Sorry, but in France you income would be considered perfectly adequate.

Aly

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[quote]

An income of 11,000 euros for a couple with no dependant children is not considered low enough to qualify for exemption in your habitation tax. (There is no such thing as a reduction).

You would have to be under the current ceiling for RMI, currently 661.29 euros per month.

Sorry, but in France you income would be considered perfectly adequate.

Aly

[/quote]

Are you sure about that?  I'm pretty sure that the years where I

only worked part-time, our taxe d'habitation was "allégée" because my

annual income was fairly low...

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Sam de B - you are right, we did get some "degrevement" on our taxe d'habitation, the percentage was different every year, paying maybe one-third of the full taxe d'hab. There is a sliding scale according to your "revenu fiscal de reference". If a couple is over 60 and has a revenu fiscal de reference (as indicated in the letter from the tax office) which is below roughly 7,500 euros for the year it refers to, then the taxe d'habitation is waived, and so is the TV licence.
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Hello

The reduction in Tax D'hab comes up on here about every 6 months on average, you do get a reduction if your revenu fiscal de reference is low what ever your age.  Ours was pretty much nothing for the last 2 years because our RfR was really low due to a large tax allowance against renovations carried out in 2005. 

So the answer is yes T d'Hab can be reduced in cases of a low RfdR, this figure is shown on your Avis D'Impots.

Panda

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Exactly, 5-element,

As I said, the level of RMI as quoted above. You do not have to be over 60 to qualify for exemption for the TV licence, just on a low income.  The wording on the forms is very misleading. (I know this from personal expereince)

I've never heard of anyone having their Tax Habitation reduced, only waived and  I stand corrected. At what point is it reduced? I ask because this year I have had a low income and wonder if I might be so lucky.

Aly

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[quote]

I've never heard of anyone having their Tax Habitation reduced, only waived and  I stand corrected. At what point is it reduced? I ask because this year I have had a low income and wonder if I might be so lucky.

Aly

[/quote]

From what I understand, your region, department and/or commune can all decide (or not) to reduce their portion of the taxe d'hab for those with low-incomes.  I believe they also set the level of what is considered to be a low-income, so it's definitely not something that will be the same across the board for France (but then again, when is anything ever? *S*)

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I have no personal experience but the previous tenant of the house we rent - when asked by me about taxes due on the house - explained to me that the amount of taxe d'hab due would depend on the total household income, the number of inhabitants and the income tax paid. The lady renter in question worked part-time and her husband worked for FT.

Sue

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The French [url=http://www.impots.gouv.fr/portal/dgi/public/particuliers.impot;jsessionid=N1J3ZGBPTZIVLQFIEMQSFFWAVARXAIV1?pageId=part_taxe_habitation&espId=1&impot=TH&sfid=50]impots website[/url] has all the information about reductions/exoneration from tax d'habitation.  Click on 'reductions' for details.

 

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