Well I declare: income taxes

Declaring your taxes online

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.

A list of English-speaking attorneys

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/

4 thoughts on “Well I declare: income taxes

  1. My husband did the French form online last year – we’d always done it on paper before – and just as he was about to press send something went wrong with the website. He ended up doing it by hand, as before. This year we’re about to try the online version again and hope for better luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Bob, you’re right. Declaring online gets easier each year. However, each year we are still charged ‘social charges’ on capital gains & interests/dividends. And each year, it takes a walk down to the local Hotel de Finance to get the charges nullified. After the first time, the clerk actually recognizes me and knows what I’m there for. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to provide me with a method to resolve the each. We’ll see if we can change that this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bonjour Bob and Bill,

    I am so impressed by your Internet site!
    I am Hélène, the blond that you met at Ludres at Mimi’s house 🙂
    It is great! You even remind me that I have to complete my own Tax return even being French, your advises are very valuable.
    I can see that you two are enjoying your life in South of France. Keep it this way, that how life should be.
    I will try to come visit your site time to time because it is very richfull and a mine of information.

    Take care,
    A très bientot

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bonjour Hélène! C’est chouette de te lire et on est fier de te comter comme “follower”! À bientôt….


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