4.1. Who Must Make an Income Tax Return?
If you are resident in France you are obliged to submit a income tax return (déclaration des revenues). That is to say, each household must submit a tax return, assuming they are taxed as a single tax unit.
If you live as an unmarried couple with no civil partnership you are each required to complete a tax return.
If during the year you become married or separated you can opt to make one or two tax declarations.
In the event of the death of one person in a marriage two tax declarations need to be made covering the periods before and after death.
You are also obliged to submit a return if you are non-resident but have earnings from France.
This rule applies even though you may be below the income threshold for liability to French income tax.
Nevertheless, since 2020 for employees in France, and for those only in receipt of a French pension, there has no longer been a requirement to make a return, due to deduction at source by the employer or pension fund. Those who are exempt will be notified by the tax authority. It is estimated this new measure affects around 12 million households.
There are no concessions if you later claim to the French tax authority that you did not submit a tax return because you were not sent one!
4.1.1. Obtaining a Tax Number
In your first year, you will need to submit a paper tax declaration, which you can get at Déclaration des revenus.
A tax number is not, however, necessary for the first year declaration so the following process is not obligatory. Your tax number will be given to you in your first tax notice.
To obtain a tax number you need to go to the tax authority website at Impots.gouv.fr.
For residents, go to 'Contact' and then go to 'Vous n’avez pas encore de numéro fiscal. You will then need to complete some details about yourself.
For non-residents, you need to complete Formulaire-de-creation-dacces-lespace-particulier-non-residents although we have received many reports the link and process is temperamental. A French mobile or fixed line number is required. Use this link if you are having problems, to report it to them. You will need to supply copy passport. Once your identity has been verified, an email will be sent to you, indicating that you can create your own space by entering your tax number and your date of birth, from the page 'Connexion ou création de votre espace'.
You will then need to enter your email address and a password that you have chosen. You will then receive an email containing a link on which you must click, within 24 hours, to confirm access to your private space.
4.1.2. On-Line Tax Declaration
In the second year you will need to declare on-line, although those without an internet connection or who otherwise consider themselves incapable through age or disability of making a declaration on-line can continue to make a paper declaration.
In order to declare on-line you will need to connect to Impots.gouv.fr and click on 'Votre Espace Particulier' and create an account with 'Création de mon espace particuliere.'
You will need to obtain from your first tax notice (avis d'imposition) your:
Numéro d'accès en ligne;
Revenu fiscal de référence.
It is possible to connect to your secure space on the website via FranceConnect, a government platform that allows you to access the on-line services of several public agencies using the same identifiers. However, you will need to be known to the French authorities, either with a social security number or a tax number, before you can use it. To use FranceConnect to connect to your private area on the tax website, click on the corresponding icon on the access portal dedicated to private individuals and choose the service you require.
In your first year, those relocating to France from the UK should complete the HM Revenue Form 85, which advises the UK tax authority that you are moving abroad, and will enable you to reclaim any overpaid tax.
When you complete your first French tax return UK former residents should also complete the Form FD5, which the French tax authority then use to confirm to the UK authority that you are French tax resident. The French tax authority need to sign it, but as the form is not in French we are aware of some local tax offices who refuse to do so. The only solution is to ask if they would accept an accredited translation of part or all of the form.
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