As French tax notices start to arrive on the doorstep a number of you are reporting that, far from receiving a bill, you have been granted a surprising tax rebate!
Those who are benefiting from these rebates are small business owners, often auto-entrepreneurs, who have been granted a working tax credit, which is payable on the basis of a means tested assessment.
Employees in France on a low wage are also eligible for a support payment.
The tax credit is called la prime pour l'emploi (PPE), granted automatically to those who meet the eligibility criteria.
Entitlement is subject to at least one member of the household running a business or in salaried employment, with the net total income of the household below a certain threshold.
Pension income and rental and investment income are not taken into account in calculating the level of the tax credit, although in order to be eligible your total income cannot exceed a certain threshold.
As is usual with French social security and tax benefits the calculation of the tax credit is complex, but the amount varies according to the composition of your family and your business/salaried income.
The level of the tax credit is then proportional to the level of the business/salaried income.
By way of example a single person with net income from a business of €10,000 would be entitled to €779; a couple with two children, each earning €13,000 net income from a business would be entitled to €1,790 a year.
To have been eligible in 2014 your total net income (revenu fiscal de référence) for income earned in 2013 must not have exceeded:
€16,251 or single, widowed or divorced persons;
€32,498 for married couples or those in a civil partnership.
These amounts are increased by €4,490 for every child (or more precisely, every half 'part') in the family.
If you meet this criterion then another income threshold is used to obtain the amount of your tax credit.
This threshold is the level of your salaried or business income, which cannot be lower than €3,743 pa and no higher than a ceiling calculated according to your family circumstance.
In the case of a single, widowed, or divorced person this maximum is €17,451 pa, while in the case of a couple where one is working the figure is €26,572 pa. A single person with children is also granted the same later threshold.
Where the employment or business is only on a part-time basis then these thresholds are pro-rata.
For 2015 the government are considering some changes to the regulations concerning entitlement to this working tax credit, involving the possible merger with the another employment support subsidy, called Revenu de Solidarité Active (RSA). The details and implications of this change have yet to be made clear.