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Registering with Tax Authorities

Registering with Tax Authorities

Old Oct 1st 2020, 1:15 pm
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Default Registering with Tax Authorities

Hi, Please could someone advise re my situation? I am nearly 70 and have lived in France for nine years. I am retired and live on my basic UK State Pension and the rental income from a small house I own in England.
I have never worked in France and every year I have been here I have submitted a Tax Return to the UK authorities often with little or nothing to pay. The UK accountant told me years ago that I did not need to register/notify the
French authorities because the source of the small income (the house rental) was in England, therefore tax was payable in England.
However, I have recently read that I should have registered with the French Tax authorities from the beginning and also submitted to them an annual tax declaration, even if there was nothing to pay.
In looking at the criteria for applying for French residence after the UK's departure I saw this information. Everything else is fine for the application - I have a Carte Vitale, Mutelle, utility bills from 2011 etc.
It looks like I have unwittingly been doing the wrong thing for the last nine years - what do I do now to correct this mistake?
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 1:47 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

If you are resident in France you should submit an annual declaration of worldwide income (actually it is all done online these days), even though in fact you may not have any tax to pay to France. This is a legal obligation; it's every individual's personal responsibility to obtain the forms and fill them in, not the tax office's job to send everyone a form.

However the tax office staff in France are generally very pleasant and friendly. I think your only option is to go and have a chat with them, explain your mistake and ask their advice on how best to sort it out. You'll find them a lot more sympathetic and customer friendly than HMRC. I'm sure you won't be the first person to approach them with this problem. In any case, fines for not sumbitting your return are usually a percentage of the tax due, so if no tax was due the fine will be a percentage of 0€.

In fact if your income is relatively low there are advantages to filling in your tax return as you might have been eligible for help with paying for your mutuelle health insurance, reduced rate electricity etc etc..

Don't worry about it, go along and have a chat (if your local tax office is open to the public) and note too that you must declare all foreign bank accounts each year when you declare your income (potential fines for not doing this, as well).
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 1:50 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

Originally Posted by EuroTrash View Post
If you are resident in France you should submit an annual declaration of worldwide income (actually it is all done online these days), even though in fact you may not have any tax to pay to France. This is a legal obligation; it's every individual's personal responsibility to obtain the forms and fill them in, not the tax office's job to send everyone a form.

However the tax office staff in France are generally very pleasant and friendly. I think your only option is to go and have a chat with them, explain your mistake and ask their advice on how best to sort it out. You'll find them a lot more sympathetic and customer friendly than HMRC. I'm sure you won't be the first person to approach them with this problem. In any case, fines for not sumbitting your return are usually a percentage of the tax due, so if no tax was due the fine will be a percentage of 0€.

In fact if your income is relatively low there are advantages to filling in your tax return as you might have been eligible for help with paying for your mutuelle health insurance, reduced rate electricity etc etc..

Don't worry about it, go along and have a chat (if your local tax office is open to the public) and note too that you must declare all foreign bank accounts each year when you declare your income (potential fines for not doing this, as well).
What a great response, so informative and reassuring for the OP. Thanks for being such a great BE member.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

Thank you very much EuroTrash, really helpful. Do you think I need to take copies of my UK Tax Returns with me to the French Tax Office to show that it is an honest misunderstanding?
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
What a great response, so informative and reassuring for the OP. Thanks for being such a great BE member.
Good 'eavens well it's what the forum's all about innit - but it's nice to feel appreciated so thank you very much, Spouse of.
I'm sure Robert has nothing to worry about, but if I was him I would want to give the accountant a flea in his ear. In my experience, UK accountants fall into two categories when you ask them anything about French tax. The better category is the ones that throw up their hands and say Sorry I can't advise you, I don't touch French tax affairs because I don't know their rules. The worse category is the ones that don't even know that they don't know, and give you the wrong answer because they imagine every country must have same rules as the UK. Fortunately mine fell into the first category so I knew I was on my own with it so I found out the rules for myself. Robert was unfortunate.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:30 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

Originally Posted by Robert McGhee View Post
Thank you very much EuroTrash, really helpful. Do you think I need to take copies of my UK Tax Returns with me to the French Tax Office to show that it is an honest misunderstanding?
Yes definitely take copies of your tax returns, and anything else you have handy - bank statements, pension statements, rental income statements if you use a letting agent, etc. The fisc will almost certainly want you to fill the forms in retrospectively for all or some of the missing years, so you will need all the information. For your own purposes, if they will agree to let you fill in declarations for the last 5 years at least, that would put you in the clear in terms of proving 5 years legal residence for your CdS permanent. Or they may want the full 9 years, or they may not want more than a couple of years (because it's all extra work for them). See what they say, and see what agreement you can come to.
You might want to prepare the figures for at least the last couple of years (say, 2019 and 2018) before you go, so that it'll look as if you're making an effort to put things right. The French tax year is the calendar year rather than April to April so you would need to recalculate your income on that basis (might not actually make any difference if your income is identical every month of the year) and in any case you will need to convert each £ figure into a € figure. There are various ways of doing this - I think the recommended method is to use the exchange rate on the day the money hit your account, which you can calculate here for instance https://www.x-rates.com/historical/?...ate=2020-09-26, or alternatively the French tax office will be able to give you an annual exchange rate that you can apply to that year, or alternatively HMRC also has an annual figure, which you can probably find here https://www.gov.uk/government/public...and-vat-yearly or if that's the wrong place, have a google, it's there somewhere. FWIW I used to use the HMRC figure, it's not what France recommends but it was never queried.
Hope this helps, and let us know how you get on!
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:44 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

AS EH has said there are so many advantages to submitting a French tax return on a low income Help with local taxes mutuelle and television licence so it would be to your advantage to do this asap
The even better news is that under the Anglo French tax agreement your state pension is taxed in France and your rental income is taxed in the UK This basically means that you will have two lots of zero rated tax allowances It also means that HMRC will owe you back tax on anything that you have paid above your basic rate allowance because of course when you get your state pension your tax code is adjusted downwards so this needs to be rectified
In order to get your state pension paid free of tax in the UK you will need to print off the anglo french tax form from the HMRC website It comes in French and English You take this along to your local tax office who will stamp it to confirm that you are tax resident in France They give you a copy back and you send it off to HMRC after taking a copy for yourself Perhaps your accountant cpuld sort some of this out FOC as he messed up in the first place then when he has sorted it tell him you no longer need his services as there are people on here who can help you fill in your tax returns especially the French one
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

Very much appreciated, EuroTrash. Your advice has made me feel much better about the situation - I had been thinking that I was heading for a one-way trip to Devil's Island! I will certainly let you know the outcome.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

The other thing I forgot to add was that you will need to declare your UK rental income in France but you get a tax credit in France for tax paid in the UK meaning that you will probably not be paying tax in France at all either
I assume that you got your Carte Vitale with an S1
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:59 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

Thank you very much Listen Very Carefully - I'm so glad that this forum is here for everybody!
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 3:03 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

Originally Posted by Listen Very Carefully View Post
The other thing I forgot to add was that you will need to declare your UK rental income in France but you get a tax credit in France for tax paid in the UK meaning that you will probably not be paying tax in France at all either
I assume that you got your Carte Vitale with an S1
Yes, I received my Carte Vitale using the S1 form.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

It is important for any prospective expaters to realise that they cannot rely on advice from UK lawyers or accountants regarding French regulations.
Would they ask French lawyers or accountants for advice regarding UK rules?
The only people who are qualified to advise are either large organisations that have practitioners who have the appropriate expertise ot practitioners who are qualified in both systems.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Registering with Tax Authorities

I would suggest that whereas in the UK the tax office seems to like everybody to use accountants (in fact I often felt that HMRC made things complicated on purpose to put us mere mortals off trying to deal with our own tax affairs), France is much more geared up to individuals interacting directly with the authorities. If your affairs are more complex obviously you may need to use accountants etc, and there are a few exceptions such as the new car registration system which is such a faff a lot of people prefer to pay a carte grise specialist. But for most things the French public service websites are very good, they cover everything and explain it very clearly, the web portals are user friendly for procedures you can/must do online, and you can still go along to the various offices and speak to a human being. Provided your French is up to it, I think it's far better to find out the regulations for yourself and look after your own affairs, and I think that's what France prefers you to do. Nul n'est censé d'ignorer la loi as they say - even if you pay someone else to do things for you, at the end of the day it's your responsibility to know what your obligations are and ensure they are met.
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