New Tax Declarant - now what? Advice needed please

My wife and I completed our first Tax Declaration recently, at least the friendly woman official in the local tax office did it for us, after we supplied our P60s for last year and our DWP pension details. It was pretty painless, yet rather hurried (late afternoon).

I declared my DWP pension which is paid directly into my French bank, and two occupational pensions: one being a Teachers’ Pension, the other being a supplementary teacher’s pension paid by Essex County Council when I retired as an Essex university lecturer. The fonctionnaire declared these two last pensions to be “Pensions gouvernmentes” and I take it that, in France at least, her decision on that is authoritative.

Now in UK these last two pensions attracted tax at the standard rate. Am I right to assume they will continue to be taxed in UK? I’ve read somewhere that the French Finance Ministry will use a Form FD5 to inform UK Excise that I am now liable to French tax, and/or that I need to inform the UK tax authorities that we are now resident in France. How far as these propositions valid?

Can I make a case for the two occupational pensions to be taxed here in France rather than in UK? I have a vague idea that pensions attract a lower tax here in France than in UK. I was 79 last birthday. My wife is 74. She has a DWP pension and a small NHS pension, added together they are below the level at which they would attract tax in UK.

Lastly, shall we be taxed as a married couple (we signed separate declarations although the fonctionnaire confirmed we are married)? Shall we get any kind of written confirmation of our French income tax liabilities before this time next year?

We have no other incomes at all besides our pensions’

If the matter is reasonably straightforward, and on the understanding that any advice is not be taken as authoritative, can anyone help me get my head straight here?

Sorry for being a nincompoop in this area…:sweat::confused:

Peter… no need to apologise… sounds like you’ve got a good grip on things so far… and I’m sure someone will chime in with the extra info you need…:grinning:

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Hanging on by my fingernails, Stella…:sweat_smile:

Use super glue as well… :wink:

For the first time…making a separate declaration each, makes good sense…as there is (or can be) a lot of info required by the Tax Official. The information you each provided will set the scene for the following years.

After that first declaration…I think it is standard for married couples to go on the same Revenue Declaration, where each Declarant has his/her own column to complete…and yes, you will be taxed as a couple.

Of course, next year you will be declaring on-line (don’t panic Captain Mainwaring)… It will be straightforward, the details you have given will show on-screen… with just the new figures needing to be entered. (well, more or less ).

(Essex University … I watched that being built… :relaxed:) small world…

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A couple of random comments:

No, the tax treaty specifies where each type of pension must be taxed, you don’t get any choice in the matter. If a pension is taxable in the UK then you won’t also be taxed on it in France (it’s a bit more complicated than that, but that’s the gist), however it will still be included in calculating your total household income, which may affect which tax band you fall into. But most people find that they pay less tax overall in France than they did in the UK, the allowances here are quite generous.

I wasn’t aware that a married couple could be taxed separately except in special circumstances. Normally you are taxed as a household.

I believe you should have completed a form to tell HMRC you are now resident in France, this page may help

Don’t worry, the tax office are there to help and I’ve always found the fisc far easier to deal with than HMRC - things are a lot more transparent here.


Thank you again, Stella, it’s all very reassuring. I don’t know what I expected at the Ministry of Finance, but it was quite jolly in the waiting room with everyman and everywoman, clutching our little pink numbers (sounds a bit rude :blush:) and waiting for ours to be called. In UK it’s usual to deal with officialdom through a security hatch, but it’s cosier here, with the staff standing beside older compatriots helping them to enter their details on to the computer screen.

BTW I taught at Anglia Ruskin University not Essex Uni, the latter has more kudos, the former being Chelmsford Institute of Higher Education for yonks, then tarted up in the 1990s with a new riverside campus and a campus in Cambridge. I was senior lecturer in Mental Health and Counselling Studies, retiring from academia in 1993, but carried worked in mental heath until I was 74. Mad as the proverbial hatter too…:imp:!


Thanks very much, Anna. Between you and Stella you are dissipating the swirling mists for Berlina and me. Overall, it has all been much simpler than we thought, SF is really a first-class resource for newcomers, demystifying and supporting us with never a hint of condescension or ennuie.

We have indeed notified HMRC of our change of residential status. The Government Gateway does offer a stripped-down and user-friendly service to people who are reasonably comfortable on-line. I was amazed to see my 45 year history of National Insurance contributions listed, in fact it’s quite spooky! I started ‘paying the stamp’ in 1956 and ‘cashed-in’ all my contributions in 1969, when I emigrated to Africa to work. 1956, that’s when they actually stuck a lick-on insurance stamp on your NI card every pay-day. Anybody else out there remember that :astonished:?

Anna and Stella , while we’re still ‘hooked up’, and you both obviously know lots about fiscal affairs, can I ask if there are any abatements available on Tax Fonciere or Tax Habitation for elderly married owner-occupier couples (aged 79 and 74). We live in a rather large property in town, and both taxes are fairly steep. If there’s any possibility of successfully requesting abatement we’d be interested to learn how that works, to whom, and how to apply. Or is it something the ‘fisc’ has in hand automatically once one is registered as a taxpayer?

Thanks in advance of a possible response.

Morning Peter…

Ha ha… so you have been “mental” for some years :wink: very useful attribute for settling down here…:grinning:

Reference rebates: Taxe d’Habitation … An exoneration, if due, will be applied automatically by the Powers that Be…from the info on the Declarations you made at the Tax Offices… in cases where the Income is low, but not low enough… a discount can be applied… again, this will be automatic. As it says on the Government website… you need do nothing (except cross your fingers).

The Owners’ Tax - Taxe Foncière - I think this has to be paid no matter what… (unless over 70 ish and handicapped or in receipt of Social Security)… but someone may have indepth knowledge on this.

Yes, as Stella says, residents do benefit from various age- and/or income-related exemptions/reductions, particularly on the taxe d’habitation, and these are applied automatically by the tax office. Things tend to change slightly each year but you’ll find it all on the govt website.
For TdH (click on qui est concerné, then on Vous avez plus de 60 ans, then presumably on Autre cas, and it will give you the income limits below which pay no TdH which in fact is 16426 for a couple)
For TF (again, click on the relevant sections to see what applies to you)

Is that as a result of completing the France Individual form or just telling them of a new address? The former is essential, the latter less so. As you are of UK pensionable age, do you also get UK State Pensions? If so, the UK State pension is not taxable in the UK (even if the UK Govt pensions are) and so the France Individual form is essential in this respect. The form is in two parts - one French the other English. The French tax office keeps the French version and stamps the other which you then send to HMRC. In response, HMRC will provide you with an S1 which is given by you to your health caisse (CPAM, RSI or whoever you are affiliated to).

On the French Tax forms, there are places to indicate income from UK Govt sources (taxed as per treaty by HMG) and state pension which is not.

If your pensions are being paid directly to your French bank account, then keep a note of the amounts in Euro you actually receive as this will in all probability be less than taking the Sterling amount and using one of the (many) methods of converting Sterling to Euro. In your case (as in ours) it may be academic anyway as the total amount of Euro declared amounts to less than the combined threshold for your household (foyer) but best to not tempt providence, as it were. The fisc will automatically add a further 10% allowance to your pension incomes which is where the attractiveness of the French tax system for pensioners arises. If you pay no tax, you may also be entitled automatically to a free TV licence (automatically noted on your TdH demand) and it will also entitle you to a better rate of interest on savings in an LEP account - max 7,700€ each.

Welcome to France!

Yes indeed, the avis d’imposition are sent out quite quickly. I’ve been informed mine will be ready by 24th July.
With an RFR comrpising two state pensions and four occupational pensions between you I don’t think you can necessarily assume you will be non imposable. However, if you want to know in advance what to expect, just ask at the tax office they will quickly input the relevant figures, press a button and tell you on the spot whether you’re “imposable” or not, and if you are, what the figure will be. At least my tax office used to do that for me - took a few seconds and seemed to be a very routine procedure, they never looked at all surprised when I asked them to do it. Now that I declare on line it automatically flashes up a provisional result as soon as I submit everything. They understand that people don’t want to be left wondering what to expect.

You can also go to a website to do this:

Many thanks to all contributors who have helped me to manage my concerns. It’s this kind of tailored response that has made SF a must-go-to destination for me, a wide variety of topics covered, lots of wry comment and spicey humour, and people of all stripes and spots ready to dish it out but also suck it up as the occasion demands:confounded:

See y’all again soon :innocent:

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Hello Peter

Have been offline for a few days so apologies if you already know this but, all Civil Service or Local Authority pensions have to be paid in the UK. The UK Govt insists and there is nothing you can do about it. It does sound as though your local tax lady understands this. DWP pension is taxed in France. Darn nuisance but nothing any of us can do about it.

Best of luck to you

Norah Baxter

Thanks for this additional briefing, Norah, it helps me to understand what I may be taxed on here, and what in UK.

Now, in UK my DWP pension absorbs most of my personal allowance, the small amount of left-over personal allowance (£1,200) is applied to my two ‘government occupational pensions’, with the remainder being taxed at the standard rate.

If my DWP pension is to be taxed here in France (it’s about 9,800 euros), does that mean that my UK personal allowance will be transferred to the other pensions, thus reducing my liability for UK tax on them?

If I shall have to pay French tax on my DWP pension (about 9,800 euros), will this come within any personal allowance attributed by the fisc, or will my personal allowance be based on all my income, all of which is from the pension sources mentioned.

I’m sorry if this sounds convoluted :confused:, if I need to explain it further please let me know!

In France your total worldwide income is taken into account to calculate your household taxable income (called your révenu fiscal de référence or RFR), and your tax “band” is based on that. See tax “barème” here

  • as you can see, you pay 0% tax if your RFR is below the threshold (9710 for a single person, but on top of that there can be extra allowances), then a progressively greater percentage on each successive “tranche” of income.

I don’t know how it works the UK end.

Peter… I have sent you a private message… :slight_smile:

Sorry to be so late in replying Peter,. Hope it is not too late for you. We moved! I declare my UK Pension on my French tax form. They understand it is a Government Pension. Like you my DWP pension is included with this and the lot taxed by the Government Pensions Pay Department. I get a 0 liability on my French tax form when it is returned. I do think I pay a little more in my habitation but they do not tax me on my pension. However, one small problem we have recently had was that as soon as my husband received his occupational pension we were hit with social charges. I understand that local tax offices have been charged (within the last year) with ensuring social charges (which do not seem to have been regularly collected in the past) are now collected. Nothing you can do about that - unless you are alone in collecting a pension (and perhaps have a “dependent”, ie. partner).

Hi Peter - not knowing all the french tax rules & implication, I have engaged an English speaking French Tax agent. He is a switched on fellow and replies immediately and his charges are very reasonable compared with Australian Accountant’s. I have attached his link, in case you may require his service or at least ask him any questions. - cheers - his # is +33 6 41 02 65 56 & his name is Solenne. Tell him I referred him to you & he will look after you. cheers Peter