The date for submitting your French tax return this year may well have passed, but it is still not too late to change it.
Each year in France a great deal of fuss is made about the deadline for making your income tax declaration due to the penalties that apply if you are late. This year the final date was 17th May.
However, if you are pushed for time, then one solution is simply to get a basic declaration submitted and later make changes to it. You can do so without any penalty.
The approach you need to take depends on the how you submitted your tax declaration.
i. Paper Declaration
If you were one of the increasingly small number of households still entitled to submit a paper return then you need to restart the process.
To obtain new forms you need to go on-line at www.impots.gouv.fr. You can also pick up the forms from the local tax office.
You should either send in an accompanying letter explaining your new declaration, headed 'déclaration corrigée', or write on the first page of Form 2042 'déclaration rectificative, annule et replace'.
ii. On-Line Declaration
If you declared on-line then the rectification process is easier as you simply need to amend the figures initially submitted.
However, the on-line rectification service is temporarily suspended for a few weeks around mid-July each year, but re-opens again between August and the end of December, when it is possible for you to resubmit your return, even though you may have received your tax notice.
Indeed, receipt of the tax notice is frequently the occasion when many realise that they have incorrectly completed the application, an increasing problem with the change from paper based to on-line declarations.
There is a section on the tax declaration (Informations - Mention Expresse) where it is possible to provide an explanation of any correction(s) you have made.
However, if you wish to declare a change in your family circumstances
(marriage, death, divorce), which you had omitted on the initial
declaration, then on-line rectification is not possible; you will need
to submit a paper return, together with a letter of explanation and appropriate evidence.
Beyond the 31st December of the tax year it is still possible to modify your tax declaration for up to three years, but you need to do so by a paper based submission. Thus, for your 2018 tax declaration, on 2017 income, you can still modify your tax return up to 31st Dec 2020.
A small interest charge may be payable if your changes result in an increased tax liability, but unless the tax authority had commenced a recovery procedure against you no penalty would be imposed.
A revised tax notice will be issued to you.