Registering for Tax in France

Well, we have got over our first ‘hump’ with the help of Survive France and are now two months in of arriving on our long stay visa, bought a house, ready to sign the compomis etc… Now the next bit… how and when do we make our first tax return? I am so keen to do everything correctly. Husband and I are both on UK State Pensions and he has a Local Government Pension also… Currently we are still using our English banks as that is where the proceeds from our house sale are… Been down to Credit Agricole this morning and have opened up a few accounts also, (Joint, Single, Livret A… etc)… Next question … what are the pros and cons of having DWP sending money directly to France rather than directly into UK banks and us transferring… Any advice would be gratefully received… Thanks… (my next questions on importing vehicles will be forthecoming!!)

Hi @janewalker55

Re DWP…
This has been discussed and thrashed about… and, in the end, you make your own choices.

Personally, we have our DWP Pensions plop into Credit Agricole every 4 weeks.

Others like to keep it in UK and wait for high exchange rates, before pulling whatever amount here into France.

Must confess we both have a tiny monthly income which does go into UK bank.
We just let that mount up for family expenses/gifts/whatever for spending as and when in ££££.

Re Tax (Declaration of worldwide income)
The French Tax Year runs from Jan-Dec… so this year’s W/Wide Income will be Declared next year… so no rush.
Usually around April (I think) the documents are available to complete and the Tax Folk will be very helpful for all, but especially First-Timers…

There’ll be loads of info here on the forum, with all sorts of suggestions…

Thank you Stella, that’s reassuring… at least I can put it off for a bit…

just make sure you keep all financial docs… France does love paperwork and you might need to produce “proof” of figures.

You may find this topic helpful:

There are some things that are best done before the tax round begins.

If you want to take advantage of the Double Taxation Treaty (particularly useful for you as your Local Govt Pension should only be taxed in UK) you will need to complete the Form France-Individual and this can only be done once you have a French TIN which I believe you can now get by registering for Tax on line (which will allow you to make your first submission on line too).
The website to visit to achieve this is Particulier | impots.gouv.fr or you can visit your local tax office. Tax officials in France are a world apart from HMRC and are generally found to be most engaging and willing to help.

Your UK State Pension income will be taxed in France as will the interest from the proceeds of your UK house sale but with an S1 you should avoid paying cotisations.

You should be aware that you will declare all your income in Euro and you can use the ECB rate to convert from GBP to EUR (or use the rate published by the Banque de France) which is generally the same. There are a number of mechanisms to employ to this end dependant on your circumstances. You can either just convert the whole amount in GBP to EUR at the average rate from 31st December in the prior year to 31st December in the current tax year in view and/or use the actual sums received in EUR if that is to your advantage. Be sure to keep records of income in both GBP and EUR for use in the event that you are challenged later to justify your figures (mostly unlikely).
Each year in the lead up to the tax round, there is usually a topic to outline the procedures to be taken. This is the topic generated by me for 2022 and there will likely be one for 2023 so keep an eye out for it.

As @Stella usefully alluded to :arrow_up: many people do ask the DWP to pay their pension in EUR. This is useful for a number of reasons.

  • The UK Govt usually purchase EUR in advance and there are no fees for the transfer.
  • Banks are often more content when they see a regular amount being posted to the account.

Your choice of course but for the other reason mentioned bt Stella, you might wish to keep the Local Govt pension being paid in GBP to your UK account.

There is a link in the topic title bar to Revolut which many members use for currency exchange from GBP to EUR. If you don’t already have the means to efficiently convert Sterling to EUR, you might wish to consider that option.
When it comes time to transfer a substantial amount of GBP from the proceeds of your UK house to EUR, you might wish to consider TorFX as a currency broker who will be better placed to conduct all the money laundering requirements for you effortlessly.

I hope that these comments are of some help in the meantime.

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Just to say my understanding is the first declaration (2 forms) still have to be on the paper forms?

I did ask at the tax office a few weeks ago when chasing Mme’s first Avis (well second as they lost the 2020 form) if we could open an online account and they did say wait for the Avis.

We do now have a tax number for her though with the emailed declaration of fiscal revenue!

Amazingly helpful, thank you all so much…

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I’m sure that used to be the case but I do seem to recall that someone on SF in one of the tax declaration topics did mention that they were successful in obtaining a TIN by first registering online and then were able to submit on line thereafter for their 1st declaration.

yes I recall something too but also was it part of a discussion about whether it was for second home taxes for non France tax payers residing abroad…?

Well, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating!

My tax inspector did ask specifically last year with the DTT forms that we were resident in France - I flourished my CDS then and this year both CDS pre-emptively - he noted they were at the same address as the Impot has.

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@Mat_Davies are you able to confirm that please Mat?

Before Covid hit the fan… my local Tax Office told me that they liked to see Newcomers in person for the first Declaration… to identify them as “real people” and get all the details straight…
She asked me to pass the word to local Brits, which I faithfully did for a number of years…

Whilst I agree with you that visiting the tax office is a great idea (I mentioned that in my post) when possible, each tax office is different and essentially autonomous so what may be found in one, may not necessarily be the wider experience.
The Fisc are clearly looking now for people to register and perform these tasks on line where possible and the machine of Govt has put all sorts of facilities in place to facilitate this such as France Services where the French-service staff are trained to provide responses tailored to each individual situation as local as possible to the point of required contact.

My first return was online, I didn’t do a paper one first. It was a few years ago - I was able to do the submission online after exchanging emails with my local tax office - responses were within a couple of hours which wasn’t expected.

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As I have said… my local Tax Office had asked me to pass the word, which I did… and (also as I said) this was before Covid… which has also made things very difficult face-to-face.

Every area is different and, certainly here, there are moves to reduce the number of folk actually working in the Tax Offices.

I enjoy going to see my Tax Lady and will continue to do so… until she retires.

The numbers of folk queueing at the Tax Office this year… was surprising (during Covid) … but they were all given personal interviews and can’t have all been First-timers (I wouldn’t have thought).

I had an email exchange with my local tax office earlier this year, before first time filing, to check that I had all the admin steps necessary to file. I didn’t want a last minute ’ you can’t file as you’re missing form XYZ’ type of ‘surprise’. The tax office replied that of course I could file online as I already had an espace particulier, tax ID number etc.

And yet come the day to do my online return, I found the ‘you have to file on paper as a first time filer’ type of message… I immediately contacted the tax office, attaching the recent exchange saying there should be no issue with online filing. They replied that there had been a late change of policy (hinting it was as much of a surprise to them as me) and I had to paper file.

I think it was allowed last year 2021 (ie 2020 declaration made in 2021) for first timers to file online. But defo not this year (2022 declaration for 2021).

I suspect it was such a fiasco that they firmly stopped it happening this year. Even with the help of the local Treasury the systems simply didn’t work for it in 2021 IME. Some may have made it work but I suspect many others found it impossible like me.