News Digest: Tax Return Deadlines, Digital Driving Licences & British Expats Regain Voting Rights



News Digest: Tax Return Deadlines, Digital Driving Licences & British Expats Regain Voting Rights

If you live in departements 1-19, you have until this Thursday to file your French tax return, plus all the details of France’s new digital driving licences, and there’s still one more bank holiday on the way! Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.

1. Don’t miss your French tax return deadline

Last week (Monday, May 22nd) marked the first of the 2023 French tax deadlines, with all paper returns (submitted by those filling out their tax return for the first time in France) due on this date. This week, it’s the first of the three deadlines for income tax returns submitted online, and the applicable deadline depends on the French department in which you reside or file your tax return.

The first online deadline is May 25th, 2023, this Thursday, and concerns all residents from French départements 1-19.

If you still need to fill in your tax return, we’ve put together a series of handy guides to help you along the way, which we’ll be continuing over the next few weeks. Be sure to check out our 2023 French Tax Calendar for the rest of the deadlines, which vary depending on the French department in which you live.

2. Are French driving licences going digital?

ANTS, the French government agency that issues driving licences, announced last week that digital versions of French driving licences will be rolled out across the country from “early 2024” (an exact date hasn’t yet been given). The digital version will be an official, certified copy, and while it won’t replace the paper/photocard licence, it will serve as a legal copy, meaning that you won’t need to present the original for most administrative purposes.

Digital copies will be optional, and being in possession of a photocard/paper licence will remain mandatory, but the idea is to simplify and streamline driver ID checks, allowing easy access to your licence on your smartphone. The digital driving licence will be accessible via the France Identité app.

The venture will be trialled in three French departements (Rhone, Hauts-de-Seine, and Eure-et-Loir) towards the end of 2023.

3. British expats to regain UK voting rights

There’s good news for British expats who have been living in France (or any other non-UK country) for more than 15 years – a detail that previously prevented them from voting in UK elections (and controversially, prevented many Brits residing in EU countries from voting on the Brexit referendum). As of January, 2024, these expats will once again have the right to vote in UK elections.

If this applies to you, you will need to re-register to vote (details of how to do this are still to be released), but it is expected that this will possible prior to the next general election in the UK (expected in 2024). You can read the official statement here.

4. Another holiday weekend!

If you’ve been wondering how on earth anyone has managed to get any work done at all this month, being as almost every weekend has included a bank holiday, well, it’s not quite over yet—there’s another one this week! Monday, May 29th is the Christian celebration of Pentecost or Whit Monday, and it’s a public holiday throughout France.

There is a twist to the proceedings this time, however – in France, Pentecost is known as a “journée de solidarité” meaning that some workers get the day off, while others work the day without getting paid! Their wages instead go to a special government solidarity fund. Rest assured, banks, public services, and schools will still be closed for the day.

This is the fourth and final bank holiday of May 2023, so make it count! The next jour férié isn’t until Bastille Day on July 14th.

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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  •  Harold Seeley
    2023-05-23 07:08:33
    Harold Seeley
    I have a question regarding French drivers license. We are in the process of purchasing a house in France. While we currently have no plans to live in France full time (US citizens). We do plan on purchasing a vehicle and leave it at the residence for our use. Can we obtain French drivers licenses if not a full time resident, since we will have a local address? thanks Harold


    • Zoë Smith
      2023-05-27 13:08:38
      Zoë Smith
      Hi Harold, Applying for a French driving licence is only possible (and only required) for French residents - as visitors, you will be able to drive either using your foreign licence (if it's accepted in France) or by applying for an International Driving Licence. Best regards, Zoe