While April 15 will always stick in my head as “Tax Day”, it’s a little later in France and varies by a week or two depending upon where you live. For us this year it’s May 21 and I’m happy to say that because we didn’t change anything in the last 12 months, the online procedure was even easier than in 2018. We signed into our account with the tax office, Finances Publique, where we found that our information from last year had already been carried over to the forms for the current year. All that we had to do was to confirm our names and address, update the income figures and the dollar/euro exchange rate, put a check mark in the electronic signature box, and we were finished. Done in just a few minutes and we anticipate owing the same amount of income tax as before: zero.
As US citizens, no matter where in the world we are living, we are required to report our worldwide income to the IRS and pay taxes on that to the US Treasury. It’s the same for us for France with one major exception; a treaty between France and the US (link below) says in broad terms that you pay tax where the money is earned. All of our income is from retirement pensions earned in America and that’s where we pay the tax. Here we are given a credit on our income at the French tax rate that balances out any amount that would otherwise be due in this country. No double taxation.
Admittedly our situation is simple and straightforward. For Americans with complicated returns that might include capital gains, annuities, real estate, etc., the American embassy in Paris maintains a list of English-speaking attorneys. Although we haven’t needed it, there is tax filing software here called ClickImpôts that was recommended to us by someone who has used it for years. Even the local tax office gets high marks, including from us, when you need help. I read that in larger cities you can request an appointment with a counselor who speaks English and is familiar with the American tax laws.
By the way, we understand that the IRS computers “talk” to the French Finances Publique computers as they share information between countries. No worries. Like every other interaction we’ve had here with government agencies, when you follow the rules, providing all the required documents in the order requested, everything goes smoothly.
Tax treaty info: https://franceintheus.org/spip.php?article703
Legal assistance in English: https://fr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/additional-resources-u-s-citizens/