Where & How to Get Help Filling in Your French Tax Return


Essential Reading

Where & How to Get Help Filling in Your French Tax Return

Filing your annual French tax return can be a stressful undertaking, especially if you have foreign income or pensions to declare, or if French isn’t your first language. So, where should you turn if you have questions regarding your French tax declaration? Here’s where and how to get help filling in your tax return in France.

Send a message from your tax account online

The first port of call if you have a question regarding your French income tax declaration (well, after checking out FrenchEntrée’s tax guides, of course!) is to use the online messaging service accessed through your personal space at impots.gouv.fr. Not only is this messaging service linked directly to your tax account, but replies typically receive a quick response (often within 48 hours, even during peak tax season).

The advantage of this is that you can not only take the time to explain your problem and translate the response if required, but you also have a written record of any questions asked. The downside is that you will need a numéro fiscal (tax number) and an online account in order to use this function, so it is not available to those filing a tax return for the first time.

When to use it: This is ideal for more general questions or receiving confirmation on whether or not you have filled in a certain section correctly. However, for more complicated or nuanced questions, you may find you need to contact your tax office.

Visit your local tax office

The next step is to visit your local tax office or Centre des finances publiques. You can locate your local centre using the interactive map here. Many centres allow drop-ins, but some may require appointments (especially for business taxes or other specific areas of expertise), so check the listed details and opening hours, or call ahead to check if unsure (especially if you have a greater distance to travel).

Take all your official documents and relevant accounts and records with you, and consider bringing along a trusted French friend or translator if you are worried about your French.

When to use it: For all and any query regarding French taxes and tax returns – if they don’t know the answer on the spot, they should be able to find out for you. However, remember this isn’t the place to receive personal tax or financial planning advice –they are only there to advise you of your tax responsibilities and help you with the formalities of filling in your return.

Call the English-speaking helpline

If you aren’t able to visit your local tax office, there is also an English-speaking helpline available: + 33 1 72 95 20 42. This helpline is mostly designed for non-residents, and wait times can be long, so we’d definitely recommend using this as a last resort. Visiting your tax office is likely to yield much quicker results.

When to use it: If you are outside of France and aren’t able to use either of the above-mentioned options.

Visit a France Services office

France Services offices are public service offices found all over the country in mairies, tax offices and town centres. Experts are on hand to help you complete your tax return and carry out other French administration processes. They also organise seminars and live Q&A sessions in some areas, so keep a lookout in your local region.

When to use it: This is a great first stop for general tax advice, especially if you are new to France, are unsure of your tax liabilities and responsibilities in France, or want to do your homework prior to tax season.

Seek professional tax advice

If you need help with your tax return or personalised tax advice that goes above and beyond what the tax office provides, you’ll need to hire a professional tax accountant or tax advisor. In France, this is typically an expert-comptable (a tax accountant) – these are the only professionals that can legally advise you on filling in your personal tax return. For most businesses, having an expert-comptable will be essential, but as an individual, you may or may not require their services depending upon your individual circumstances.

There are also tax-specialist lawyers, known as fiscalistes, in France who can also advise you on tax, legal, and financial issues. Finally, you might want to consult an international tax advisor who specialises in cross-border tax planning.

You can search for an expert-comptable here, and you can also use the search function to search for English-speaking accountants or to check that your chosen expert-comptable is, in fact, registered (and if they aren’t, you should probably report them to the authorities).

When to use it: If you want someone else to take care of your French tax return for you or you need personalised professional advice regarding your tax liabilities or tax planning. If you have worldwide assets, income, and investments, own a business or conduct business in France, or have questions concerning matters pertaining to international tax liabilities, it’s highly recommended to consult a professional.

Paying Your Taxes in France

Whether you are moving to France, own French property, or have business interests, assets, or investments in France—FrenchEntrée is here to help with all your tax questions. Our Essential Reading articles are designed to give you an overview of the basics, from income tax and social charges to wealth tax and property taxes. However, tax laws and rates are always subject to change, and international tax liabilities can be especially complicated, so if in doubt, we always advise discussing your personal situation with one of our recommended financial or tax advisors.

Disclaimer: This guide is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice regarding any aspect of your tax planning or tax liabilities in France. FrenchEntrée cannot be held responsible for the consequences of decisions or actions you may choose to take in connection with French tax declarations or tax liabilities.

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