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2017 Income Tax Returns in France

The income tax return is a form (paper or online) on which you provide details of your taxable income and, where applicable, capital gains or claim tax reliefs.

The French tax authorities through public finance centers issue you a tax return every year between mid-April and early May.The tax year in France runs from January to December of the calendar year.

If you receive a tax return, the law stipulates that you must complete it. The French tax administration uses information on your tax return to calculate your tax bill or determine if you are entitled to a tax refund.

All French taxable persons, with the exception of adults who are attached to the tax residence of their parents. All economic agents (persons participating in the economic activity) have to pay taxes in France. Economic agents paying taxes are called taxpayers.

In 2018, the French tax administration will introduce the pay as you earn system, which aims to adapt the collection of the tax to the events of life without modifying the rules of calculation.

The principle of the pay as you earn tax system is to deduct the amount of tax directly from the taxable income. Deductions from wages, pensions and other similar income (unemployment, retirement, etc.) will therefore be handled by a third-party payer at the time of payment. This role of collector will be ensured by the employer (company or association) for the employees, by the pension funds, Pôle Emploi and the Primary health insurance fund for the beneficiaries of replacement income (retirement, unemployment benefit, Etc.).

However, the tax authorities will issue annual income tax returns if you:
- Are self-employed
- Are business leaders
- Have rental income or other property income
- Have other income that is not taxed before you get it and the tax can not be collected by the pay as you earn system.
- If you are retired: you must complete and send your tax returns.

Non-residents: It should be noted that if persons not domiciled in France have income from French sources or at least one residence in France, they must also file an income tax return. (Learn more about taxation of non-residents here)

You are responsible for informing the tax administration that you have received income on which the tax is payable. You must do so as soon as possible after the filing of the tax returns for the year in question.
If you have not received an income tax return, but feel you need to fill out a tax return, contact the local public finance office and ask for a return to receive one. Do not wait for the tax administration to contact you. If you are sending the late tax return, you will be charged 10% penalties and late payments.

You can consult all the tax news on the site http://www.impot.gouv.fr/ at the address: http://www.impot.gouv.fr/

You can fill out your tax return on paper or online at impots.gouv.fr. In 2017, some tax filers are required to file a return on the internet. Users who opt or who have to go for the Internet filing have an additional time limit with respect to the paper filing deadline.

• As long as you send your paper return by the deadline, the tax authority will guarantee you to calculate your tax bill and report the result to you before the payment date of the tax year. The tax authority calculates the tax bill for each income tax return it processes. However, if you file a late return, you are no longer assured of receiving the return on time.

You can declare online from any computer or tablet by logging on to the official tax website impots.gouv.fr and then visiting your private account.

You can also declare from your account opened on mon.service-public.fr. Simply create an “account link” that allows you to switch to your personal tax space. Then, you can access your return from your My-Public account without re-entering your credentials. If you do not have any changes or additions to your return, you can declare via the Internet in three clicks.

In this case, you can also send your declaration by smartphone, by downloading free the application “taxes.gouv”. It also allows you to pay your taxes and change your due dates.

Your tax bill will be calculated automatically and you will receive an acknowledgment of receipt of your income tax return.

There are different dates for sending paper and tax returns online. These dates are called the filing dates. This year, taxpayers will have until May 17, 2017 to send their paper return to the tax authorities.

Those who need or want to register online have an additional time period depending on their department of residence. Taxable persons in zone 1 (departments 01 to 19 and non-residents) must report before midnight on 23 May 2017. Taxpayers in Zone 2 (Departments 20 to 49) will have until midnight on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 and taxable persons in Zone 3 (Departments 50 to 974/976) will be able to report their income until midnight on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.

Note that this year, if you have an Internet connection and your 2015 reference tax income exceeds 28,000 euros, you will not be able to complete a paper return and will be forced to fill in the online form.

There are penalties for sending a late tax return. Penalties and increases related to overtime without reporting. After the deadline for filing the return, you are subject to a 10% markup applied to the tax you will have to pay. This shall be increased to 40% if the declaration has not been filed within 30 days of the first formal notice by the tax authorities and 80% if the situation has not been regularized within 30 days of the second warning.

If you are having difficulty completing your tax return, contact a professionnal to do that.

Published May 23rd, 2017 by Totouom Ezechiel
Posted to Expat Blog

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