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Filing French taxes is not just a responsibility of French citizens and/or those working in France. It’s an obligation for those who simply live here as well! If France is your country of residence, here are a few quick tips and requirements you need to know about French income taxes.
Please note that this blog post is based on my personal experience and does not constitute legal advice. I cannot advise you on how to file your taxes in France. Please contact the French tax office or a tax professional if you have any questions regarding your specific tax situation.
1. All French residents are required to file a tax return.
Generally speaking, if you live in France, regardless of your employment status or income, you are expected to file an annual tax return in France starting the year after your arrival. Unlike in the United States, there is no minimum income threshold. This information can come as quite a shock, especially to those who are living in France on a visitor visa!
To reiterate, even if you have very low or no earnings, you still need to make a personal tax declaration using Formulaire n°2042. If you are exempt from paying taxes, you’ll receive un avis de situation (formerly called un avis de non-imposition) which states your tax assessment situation and may grant you access to certain social services and benefits.
2. France taxes its residents on their worldwide income.
All earnings must be declared if you reside in France. This is a fairly standard practice in many countries throughout the world. Whoever is hosting your butt generally gets the first piece of the pie!
Of course, if you are taxed in a different country for earnings in that country, you may be able to get tax credits in France and avoid double taxation.
3. You must declare all of your foreign bank accounts.
All of your international bank accounts need to be declared at the same time as your annual income tax declaration. It’s your responsibility to fill out and submit a bank declaration form (Formulaire n°3916). Fortunately, once you’ve filled in all your bank details once, the online portal saves your information for the following year!
⚠️ Careful! Even PayPal and Wise accounts can be subjected to this declaration. The Facebook group, Strictly Fiscal France, is a great resource to stay up to date on the latest regulations and changes regarding tax laws in France.
4. Filing your taxes online is mandatory in France.
You should be filing your tax declaration through the online portal… unless you are without Internet access or you are filing for the very first time and do not yet have a French tax identification number (numéro fiscal). In these cases, you can mail in a paper tax declaration.
Well, there are always exceptions, aren’t there? 😜
5. If you are married or have a PACS, a joint tax return is required.
Aside from the first year of your union, filing single is not an option. It is required that you and your partner file a joint tax return if you have a legal union such as a marriage or a PACS. This is generally more beneficial for you anyways since your combined income will be considered together as a household (un foyer). Filing a joint tax return often translates into a reduction in taxes owed.
Related: How to Get Your Numéro Fiscal as the Spouse of a French Citizen
6. French tax deadlines depend on where you live.
The tax filing portal generally opens in April every year. If you are declaring your income electronically, the deadline for filing depends on which department in France you live in. The deadlines span a few weeks, from the end of May to the beginning of June.
Was this guide a good resource for you? Say thanks with a cup of coffee!
Need more information about French income taxes? Check out the international section of the French tax website.
P.S. You know that as an American citizen, even though you’re living abroad, you have a tax filing obligation to the United States as well, right??