Bitesize Guide to French Taxes

Bitesize – a few pointers about tax

RIFT’s focus is on Citizens Rights and none of us are French Tax experts. Although we regularly get questions about tax, we cannot give tax advice and will never tell you what number you need to put in which box. However there is an indirect link as in order to be fully resident your tax affairs must be in order. So this bitesize provides some links to useful information.

But we cannot stress too strongly that you need to do your own research or take advice. Much of the information you need is on the French tax authority’s website. In normal times, your local tax office is likely also to be able to help. If not, many Mairies and associations run free tax surgeries – and if your affairs are complicated, it may make sense to pay an accountant for help. (Be aware though, that the final responsibility is yours. An accountant can ask you for information, which may help you understand what you need to declare, but in the end they can only provide the information that you give them and you are responsible for any errors.)

Note that in 2020 you need to declare your 2019 revenue, so if you arrived after 1/1/2020 you don’t need to worry yet. This Bitesize deliberately used French terminology for some things, to help you find things in the system.


Below is a link to the official French site giving an overview, in English, how to make your French tax return.


There is much useful information in this brochure, updated every year by the fisc :

It is worth checking each year, even if you are used to doing this, as things change every year.

Important Dates

Here is the calendar, as the submission dates vary depending on where you live: 






















On-line or On-paper ?

France is in the process of migrating income tax declarations online and there is a strong assumption that you will do your online tax return online.

However, if you are unable to do so, you can get the forms to print out here : A list of the available forms appears on the right and you can scroll down and find the one you need. (Note, at time of writing, the 2020 form is there, though the Guidance Notes and various annexes are. Keep checking.)

If you declared on paper last year, then it appears that you should still receive a paper form. Given the current disruptions it may be worth contacting your hotel des impôts if nothing turns up.

You may also be able to pick them up from your tax office, or mairie if they re-open in time.

Important note : If you declared online last year you will not receive a paper form, so don’t wait for a paper form to arrive as a trigger to do your online declaration.

New arrivals – how to get into the system for the first time

You can now do your first declaration online, but to do it, you need a numéro fiscal (tax reference number). In normal times most people do this in person, but to request one:

Answer the questions as follows:

  1. Vous êtes : Particulier

  2. Votre demande concerne : l'accès à votre espace particulier

  3. Au sujet de : Je n'ai pas de numéro fiscal

Your screen should look like this:



A new text box will appear. In the bottom line, click on the text that says Accès au formulaire and fill in and submit the resulting form.

This should result in you receiving the codes you need, and you can then set up your espace particulier.

You do your actual declaration from your espace particulier.

A tutorial is available here :


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