If there’s one topic you can rely on to provoke a heated debate among residents of France, it is taxes. You could even go as far as calling it France’s national sport, given the constant search by the whole population for ways to reduce their tax burden! You can always expect a lively conversation when the topic comes up (though, of course, it is the height of bad manners to discuss how much tax each person owes, or their salaries for that matter!) To join in the discourse, and more importantly to get your taxes in order, the first thing you’ll need to understand is how the French tax calendar works.

Thanks to our expert partner Daniel Butcher, managing director of DTB Wealth Management, we’re going to help you decode the different French income tax seasons and ensure you have stayed on the right side of Monsieur Taxman.

Who is required to complete a tax return in France?

Quite simply if you are a French resident or have an income source in France, you must complete a tax return, even if your earnings are under the threshold.

What are the dates of the French tax year?

The French financial year runs from January to December, along with the calendar year. This means in 2019 you will be filing returns for the financial year that ran from January 1st 2018 to December 31st 2018.

The first key date in the French tax calendar falls in early summer. This is the date upon which you are expected to file your tax declarations.

While the exact date varies by department and whether you file your returns online or on paper, the dates typically fall from May 16th to June 4th. Please note that most households will be required to file online returns, and exceptions to this are granted on a case-by-case basis. Failure to file before the deadline can result in hefty fines, but helpfully you may still amend any errors after that date.

Once you have completed your tax return you will receive your Avis de Situation Déclarative à l’Impôt sur le Revenu (ASDIR). This serves as confirmation that your declaration has been received.

Between the 24th July and 3rd September you will receive l’avis des impôts sur le revenu, which informs you of how much tax, if any, you are liable for. This is the point at which many people realise they’ve made a mistake on their original return and seek to amend it.

How can I make sure I’m not paying too much tax in France?

While this all sounds fairly simple there are, of course, intricacies at play which can be difficult to decipher. That’s why a wealth management expert is invaluable. Speak to DTB Wealth Management today to find out how you can make the most of the French tax system and take part in the French national pastime.