Getting ready for your 2019 French income tax declaration

By Valérie Aston on 27 April 2020 · Viewed 3531 times · Questions

Declaring online or by paper - What’s new in 2020.

Completing a French income tax is always a challenging task and can be daunting if it is your first time. This article gives you a few tips to get you started with your 2019 French income tax form.

Bear in mind that the annual French income tax declaration is THE time of year when you can inform Impots of your personal changes: new address, marriage, divorce, children, so you don’t want to miss this. If a change happened in 2019, you need to tell Impots.

As a micro-entrepreneur, if you have opted to pay your income tax on a monthly or quarterly basis - impôt libératoire, you still have to complete a French income tax form. 

1 - You have declared in the past

The original deadlines have been reviewed to reflect the disruption caused by Covid 19. Online declarations for those of you already in the French system (i.e. having declared in 2018 and in possession of a personal French tax number - Numero fiscal) started on 20th April and will end on the following dates, based on where you live:

  • Départements 01 to 19 (zone 1) and non-French residents: 4th June 2020 at 23:59 pm.
  • Départements 20 to 54 (zone 2) : 8th June 2020 at 23:59 pm.
  • Départements 55 to 974/976 (zone 3) : 11th June 2020 at 23:59 pm.

Creating your online personal account

You need to look for your numero fiscal and log onto your personal income tax account Votre Espace particulier. This is the blue box in the top right-hand-side. You need to find 3 numbers in order to create your online account.

Get a copy of your Avis d’imposition 2018 and look for:

  • Numéro fiscal, a 13 digit number
  • Numero d’acces en ligne
  • Revenu fiscal de reference

If you can’t find these number, get extra information from Impots website.

New in 2020

  • La declaration automatique - This is the first time that some of us will be able to “benefit from” an automatic declaration. This is when all income and personal details are up-to-date on you only have to validate without filling in new forms online. This sounds great, but in practice it is likely to only work for people whose income has already been confirmed to impots by French administrations (employer, pension fund or Pole Emploi). You will be informed by Impot, if this is your case. More on Declaration Automatique.  
  • For small business owners and entrepreneurs under regime reel simplifie for Benefices Industriels et Commerciaux (BIC), Benefices Non Commerciaux (BNC) and benefices Agricoles (BA), your online declaration will be pre-filled this year. If you are under reel simplifie you are very likely to have an accountant, so now is the time to get in touch with him/her.

2 - This is your 1st French income tax declaration

If this is your first income tax declaration in France, you will have to complete a paper declaration and return it to your local Service Impots Particuliers (SIP) by 12th June at 23:59 pm. You should receive a paper form by post for instance if you created your business in 2019, from 20th April until mid-May.  Unfortunately, sometimes the tax office forgets some people, so you can download a copy of the forms from Impots’ website and start to complete it or gather the required information.

NEW: Impot’s website allows you to request a numero fiscal online.  You can read my blog entry on how to get your numero fiscal online. I cannot confirm the delay to get your tax number, but it is worth trying. If you are not comfortable with paper this year, go for the paper version.

3 - Which forms will you need to complete?

As a freelancer or small business owner living in France and maybe still earning some income from abroad you will need to complete:

  • Declaration des revenus - Formulaire No 2042 (Cerfa 10033) - salary, pension. 
  • Declaration des revenus complémenaires  - Formulaire No 2042 C - capital gain, investments.
  • Declaration des revenus complémentaires - Formulaire No 2042 C Pro - business income, micro-entrepreneurs.
  • Declaration des revenus declares à l’etranger - Formulaire 2047 - Income earned and taxed abroad, such as salary, dividends, pension. With the double taxation agreement, you don’t get taxed account, but it is taken into account to assess your overall household income.
  • Comptes bancaires detenus à l’étranger - bank accounts held abroad.

If you have the online declaration, income such as salary, French pension, unemployment allowance, will already have been pre-filled. You need to check the amounts by looking at your payslips and income attestations issued by these bodies. If there is a mistake, you need to correct it.

4 - Tutorial from Impots website

The tax office has published a very good online tutorial this year to explain changes linked to Impots a la sources for those of you already paying a fixed percentage on their salary, pension, non-professional income. It is worth having a read.

Completing a French income tax form is more complex than it looks, so I strongly advise you to get help from an accountant or from the tax office, if they do reopen their offices soon (they normally have free appointments in May to help people complete their tax return). 

Getting ready for your 2019 French income tax declaration

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.