Earlier last year I wrote about France’s plans to bring in a PAYE system as from 1st January 2019. Now that we are in January, we can see the effects of this new system. French pensioners and employees may have had the tax deducted from their salaries/pensions in December 2018 if the payment was made 1st January but for many people the effects of this new system will appear by the end of this month. Self-employed business owners, landlords and those with foreign sourced income will have to make monthly or quarterly tax payments. The difference with the previous system is that last year your quarterly or monthly payment was to pay towards your income tax for 2017 paid in 2018 whereas this year the payments are not for the 2018 tax but for the 2019 tax only.
If you go onto your account at impots.gouv.fr you can go into the menu for “gerer mon prélévement à la source”. This will show you your joint rate, if you and your partner chose one, or your individual rates. For those receiving French pensions and on French payroll, you will see a percentage of how much will be deducted from the income after social charges (so the “net imposable”). Going forward you will be able to see how much and when the tax was deducted. The applicable rate already takes into consideration the 10% tax abatement on salaries and pensions.
The main advantage of this new system is to allow the tax payer to inform the tax office of any changes to his personal situation such as a wedding, a divorce, a birth or death. In the “Gerer mon prélevement à la source page” you can declare any changes to your personal situation, change your tax rate or increase your tax payments. For those paying tax monthly or quarterly, you can change the frequency of your payments to monthly (if you paid quarterly) or to quarterly.
If your income has significantly decreased or the applicable rate is too high you can easily inform the tax office via the website. For French pensions and salaries, if the tax is reduced by more than 10% or 200 euros per year, the tax office will change your tax rate and inform your employer or pension provider within 1-2 months. The rate for income that is not taxed at source was calculated on the income declared for 2017. This amount, after the applicable abatement, was then divided into 12 monthly payments or 4 quarterly payments.
The annual tax declaration must still be completed between April and June. This declaration is to allow you to declare any income that is not taxed at source, any allowable expenses and any tax reductions or credits. The tax rate or amount will be adjusted once the tax return is completed in May 2019 and the tax calculation is carried out in September 2019.
Those receiving tax credits (home help, child care, etc) will have received an advance payment into their bank accounts in January. There will be an additional tax credit when the tax is calculated in September 2019 which will cancel some of the tax payable 2018 to avoid people paying 2018 and 2019 all in the same year.
Capital income is not taxed at source. They are subject to the set rate of 12.8% unless the marginal rate has been opted for. Assurance vie payments will be taxed according to the rules in place when the policy was set up. All assurance vies set up or topped up after 27th September 2017 and/or under 150,000 euros, may be taxed at the 35%, 15% or 7.5% rates as before or the marginal rate, in addition to the 17.2% social charges.
If you have recently arrived in France, there will be no tax to pay until you complete your first tax return between April and June of this year. You should make sure that you get your French tax forms early in April, do not expect them to be sent to you. You will not be able to complete your tax return online so you will have to file a paper return.
Whereas the French tax rules were complicated previously, even though this new system is designed to simplify things, it is going to take a while to get used to. For complete peace of mind, it is best to get in touch with a good financial adviser who will be able to carry out a free financial review and assist you in making the best tax efficient decisions.