Getting ready for your 2020 French income tax declaration

By Valérie Aston on 8 April 2021 · Viewed 1663 times · Questions

We are getting into the French income tax declaration season - Impôt sur le revenu 2020! Nobody is looking forward to this, but it has to be done I’m afraid. Here are 7 steps to help you prepare for this.

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 2020, 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 - Get your French income tax number - numero fiscal online

If you have never made an income tax declaration in France yet, you have to start by requesting your personal income tax number online. The good news is that this only takes 24 to 48 hours before this number is confirmed to you by email.

Follow this process to request your numero fiscal:

  • Go to Impots.Gouv.fr dedicated page to request a numero fiscal.
  • Go to the bottom of the page to the line « Par courriel après avoir rempli le formulaire : Accès au formulaire » and click on « Accès au formulaire »
  • Complete the form with the personal details and then press « continuer » at the bottom of the page. A new section should open with the email address of the local tax office in bold blue writing.
  • Click on the email address and it should automatically open up your email software with a prewritten email stating the different details put in the previous form.
  • Verify the different details, attach a copy of passport and proof of residency (recent utility bill, lease, quittance) « sign » the email and send ( the email address of the local tax office should be automatically entered).

2 - French income tax deadlines for 2020

Your first income tax declaration has to be done by post.  After this it will be done online and the deadline will vary according to where you live (i.e. which département):

  • Paper declaration 20th May 2020 (midnight)
  • Départements 01 to 19 and non-French residents: 26th May 2020 (midnight)
  • Départements 20 to 54: 1st June 2020 (midnight).
  • Départements 55 to 974/976 : 8th June 2020 (midnight).

3 - Creating your online personal account

This for you if you have completed at least one paper declaration in the past. You need to look for your numero fiscal and log onto your personal income tax account on Votre Espace particulier. This is the blue box on 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 2019 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.

4 - 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.

PS: I will add the links to these forms after 21st April, as the tax office has not published them online yet!

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.

5 - What do you need to declare

Here is the list of the information that you will need to gather to complete your French income tax:

  • Your French salary.
  • French unemployment allowance (Pole Emploi, RSA).
  • Rental income in France or abroad.
  • Yearly sales for micro entrepreneur, profit for entreprise individuelle, EURL/SARL/SAS.
  • Dividends perceived in 2020.
  • Child maintenance. 
  • List of bank accounts held abroad.
  • Income earned and taxed abroad (for double taxation agreement).

6 - Tutorial from Impots website

The tax office has a good online tutorial 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 look. 

7 - Get help from an accountant

Let’s face it, declaring your income in a foreign language with complex forms is not easy. I strongly recommend getting help from an accountant for your first turnover declaration. Start Business In France does not provide services for income tax declarations.

Getting ready for your 2020 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.