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French Tax FAQs


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French Tax Return FAQs

(Updated 15/05/2011)

Every

year at around this time, we start to see questions about French tax

return forms being asked on the forum.  Many of the same

questions get asked, and answered, each year.  This FAQ has been

compiled by Sunday Driver, Cooperlola and Ron Avery (thanks guys)

with reference to the relevant tax guidance notes published by

the French Impôts   It is by nature, a brief outline of

the tax procedures, further details of which can be found at

www.impots.gouv.fr.

We can’t

hope to cover every possible permutation here, and some things will

naturally be outside the scope of this FAQ, so we have focused on

simple affairs like pensions and savings which address the most

frequently asked questions (like it says on the box).

~*~

Q:

Who needs to fill out a tax return in France?

A:Everyone

living in France permanently (eg, your main home is here or your

family live here or your centre of economic interest is here) needs

to fill in a French Tax return, even if none of their income is

generated in France. This includes income from pensions, house

rentals, investments and savings, wherever in the world they are

located.

 Liability

for paying tax in France for permanent residents begins on the day of

arrival in France.  French taxes are due each year on income

earned in the preceding tax year (Jan-Dec) so for your first

declaration, it's income from the date of your arrival to 31

December.   The forms are usually available in the

following April, for completion and return in late May (slightly

later if filing the form online).  The actual dates vary from

year to year, but can be found
HERE

~*~

Q:

But I have never been sent a French tax return form, who should I ask

for one?

A:

If this is your first tax return in France you will need to contact

your local Centre des Impôts to ask them to send you the forms. The

forms are also available to download online
HERE.  

A first tax return will need to be manually submitted to your local

tax office. Once you are in the tax system, you'll automatically

receive your future tax forms through the post.

~*~

Q:

I already have a tax number, and have would like to do my tax return

online (and take advantage of the later return-due-by date). 

What is the URL for the website?

A:

If you have already submitted a tax return in France, subsequent tax

returns may be completed and filed online,
HERE.

~*~

Q:

How do I find out where my local tax office is, or their phone

number?

A:

Contact details for your local tax office can be found HERE.

~*~

Q:

Does everyone living in my household have to fill in a separate tax

return?

A:

No, usually family members of households are all taxed together on

the same tax form.

~*~

Q:

Which forms do I need?

A:

There are three basic tax forms, all of which, and more, are

available for download
HERE.

  • Form 2047 is a sort

    of work sheet for preliminary calculations before completing the

    main tax declaration.

  • Form 2042 is the main tax

    declaration form:

    • enter your personal details on page

      1,

    • tick the box for your married

      status and enter your respective years of birth (these are important

      because they determine the way your tax is calculated. 

    • There are several versions of form

      2042, some are simplified and do not contain all of fields necessary

      for residents with income that has been generated in the UK. 

      Depending on your personal circumstances, you may need to download

      other versions. 

  • Form 3916 is used to

    list each foreign bank account that you have. This form must be

    completed for all accounts held outside France that were in

    existence at any time during the tax year, even if if you did not

    receive any income from them.

~*~

Q:

I assume I have to declare my income in Euros - anything else I need

to know?

A:

Yes, all the figures should be in Euros and gross of any UK

income tax paid.

~*~

Q:

Is this whole thing easy thing to do, or do I have to gather

loads of documents, birth certificates, bank statements, etc and take

them to the tax office?

A:

No, it's relatively straightforward - as you'll see, the forms are

quite brief! All you have to do is complete the three of them, sign

them, then post them off to your local tax office.  You should

keep a file containing copies of the forms together with of all

your supporting financial documents, bank statements, etc in

case the tax office query anything.  Because you are declaring

your affairs 'on trust', the tax office reserve the right to subject

you to a tax audit at any time, so if you're organised, this will be

no problem. 

~*~

Q:

If I’m paying tax in France, how do I inform the UK authorities

that I have moved, and reclaim the tax I’m now paying in both

countries?

 A:

As soon as you move, you should fill in form

P85
, which is

available to download,
HERE.

When you submit

your first French tax return, you must also fill in HMRC

France Individual form

(available
HERE) and

hand this to your Centre des Impôts along with the rest of your

forms. Your local office will then sign this to confirm that you are

now paying tax in France, and will forward it to the UK, via Paris. 

Eventually
(and

this can take a little time), the tax office in the UK will refund

any overpayment, and remove you from the British tax system (unless,

of course, your tax is payable in the UK – see above).

~*~

Pensions

Q:

I receive a UK pension, do I need to declare it in France?

A:

If you live in France, you are taxed in France, unless your pension

is a public sector one (Police, Civil Service, Forces, Local

Authority etc) in which case you are taxed in the UK.  No matter

what, if you live here, you must complete a French tax return

even if you have already paid the tax on your pension in the UK. 

~*~

Q:

I have a UK non-public sector pension - how do I declare this?

A:

Company pensions and the UK old age state pension are entered

(gross) on form 2047 section I. PENSIONS,

RETRAITES, RENTES
.  The totals then go across to box AS/BS

on the 2042
.  

Finally, if your

French healthcare cover is courtesy of an E-form, then you are exempt

from social charges (contributions sociales) on your UK

company and old age pensions.  So, on

form 2047 section VIII  REVENUS DE

SOURCE ÉTRANGÈRE SOUMIS EN FRANCE À L’IMPÔT SUR LE REVENU ET

IMPOSABLES À LA CONTRIBUTION POUR LE REMBOURSEMENT DE LA DETTE

SOCIALE (C.R.D.S.)
- just write in

'Titulaire de formulaire E121

(or whichever E-form you have)
,

donc je ne suis pas a la charge de l'assurance maladie
'

and leave the amount box blank.

However, if your

heathcare cover is under couverture maladie universelle (CMU) and you

are paying your quarterly 8% health contributions, then your pension

will be subject to social charges. If this is the case, then as well

as entering your pension(s) in box AS/BS on form 2042, you

additionally need to enter the amount of your pension in section

VIII of form 2047
and transfer the total to box TL

(page 4, section 8) on form 2042.

That's

it for private company and old age pensions.

~*~

Q:

What if I can't find box TL on my 2042 form?

A:

It may be that you have been sent a simplified form, 2042-K. 

You will need to download the full 2042 form, available
HERE.

~*~ 

Q:

What about pensions based on an annuity - is this going to be a

problem?

A:

Pensions provided through UK annuities may not necessarily

qualify for the same treatment as old age or final salary

(defined benefit) pensions, so you should obtain advice

on your own specific circumstances in writing from your local

tax office.  Some background on this is available
HERE.

That's

it for annuity based pensions.

~*~

Q:

But I'm still paying tax on my UK pension - what do I do about that?

A:

You need to notify HMRC that you are now living and being taxed

abroad so they can adjust your UK tax code to zero and

refund you any tax paid since the date of your arrival in France. 

You just ask them for a
HMRC

France Individual form
(available HERE) which you complete

and hand in to your French tax office with your first tax

declaration.  They will stamp it to certify you are now a

French taxpayer and send it back to the UK.

~*~

Q:

As a retired teacher, I have a government pension which is taxed at

source in the UK. As I have already paid the tax on it in the UK, do

I really need to declare it in France?

A:

Yes, ‘government’ pensions such as those paid to teachers, civil

servants, police and armed forces remain taxable in the UK but they

have to be declared in France because the income is taken into

account for determining which tax band your other French taxable

income falls into. Having declared the pension here, you are then

entitled to a corresponding French tax credit so you don’t end up

paying tax twice over.

So, on form 2047, your

gross pension goes in section I PENSIONS, RETRAITES, RENTES.

The total then go across to box 1AS (or box 1BS if it’s

your wife’s pension) on the form 2042. Then to get the tax

credit, you enter the gross amount of the pension on form

2047 section VI REVENUS IMPOSABLES DE SOURCE ETRANGER OUVRANT DROIT A

UN CREDIT D’IMPOT EGAL AU MONTANT DE L’IMPOT FRANCAIS

CORRESPONDANT A CES REVENUS
then transfer the total across to box

8TK
on the form 2042.

That's

it for your ‘government’ pension.

~*~

Rental Income

from UK Property

Q:

I have a house in the UK that I rent out.  Tax is deducted from

the rent in the UK, do I need to fill out a French tax return?

A:

UK property rental income is covered by the UK/France Dual Taxation

Treaty in the same way as public sector pensions mentioned above, so

whilst it is taxed in the UK, it still needs to be declared in

France because it's taken into account for determining your overall

French tax rate.

So, on form

2047, your gross rental income goes in section VII. REVENUS

EXONÉRÉS PRIS EN COMPTE POUR LE CALCUL DU TAUX EFFECTIF

- the form explains which figures go where.  
You

then transfer the total to box TI on your form 2042.

Note that income

taxed in the UK under the Dual Taxation Treaty is not subject to

French social charges.

~*~

Savings Interest and Dividends

Q:

I receive interest on savings that I have in the UK, do I need to

declare this on my French tax return?

 A:

Yes. For interest from savings in the UK, or anywhere else in

the world outside France. As you'll have gathered by now, start by

entering your gross interest on form 2047,

section IV.
REVENUS DES VALEURS ET CAPITAUX

MOBILIERS ET REVENUS ASSIMILÉS  2 - REVENUS DES VALEURS

MOBILIÈRES ÉTRANGÈRES ET REVENUS ASSIMILÉS

Put the gross figure in Column 5 under Royaume

Uni
, then transfer the total across to box TS on the form

2042

Note that there

appear to be two types of form 2047 (2047

and 2047K).  On form

2047K, there is no

separate column in section 2 for Royame Uni; for this form you will

need to enter the country in column 1 of the table in section

2B

Although there is

a table on page 3 to calculate the total to enter in Column 5 under

INTERETS for different countries, MONTANTS NET ENCASSE EN EURO,

 for UK derived income, no calculation is necessary and you

then take that total to box TS.

You can now

contact your UK bank/building society to ask them to pay your future

interest gross.  If they refuse, then you can claim a

refund of the UK tax each year via HMRC. 

~*~

Q:

We have French Livret savings accounts, on which any interest is

tax free.  Do we need to declare interest gained on these

accounts in our gross figure?  How else will the French tax

authority know that this particular interest is tax free?

A:

If you have any declarable accounts, these will be listed on the

imprimé fiscal

that you will receive from your bank, including which 'box'

on the 2042 you have to complete.

The following are

the only tax-free saving accounts which you do not need to mention on

your tax declaration, as they are not subject to social tax

(
prélèvements sociaux):

  • Livret

    A

  • Livret

    d'Epargne Populaire

  • Livret

    Jeune

  • Livret

    de Dévelopement Durable (ex Codevi)

~*~

Q:

On the form 2047-K there is a line TA for the credit d'impot on

dividends. I know that I need to carry it forward to line TA on

section 8 of my Declaration des Revenues (in my case

2042K). However, there is no line TA on that form, where should I

record this?

A:

2042-K is a simplified form, you will need to download the

supplementary form 2042-C, available
HERE

That's

it for the savings interest and dividends.

~*~

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