2015 income tax returns and 2016 wealth tax returns

Newsletter - April 2016

Each taxable person in France is required each year to fill out a detailed return of his/her income and profits, as well as those of those of his/her family. Taxpayers whose net worth is greater than € 1,300,000 are also required to pay the ISF, or solidarity wealth tax.

Deadlines for filing returns

In 2016 for the first time, 2015 tax returns must be completed on-line if the 2014 reference taxable income is greater than € 40,000 and if the principal residence has internet access. This threshold will gradually be lowered to € 28,000, then € 15,000, so that it will be the general method by 2019.

Since around a third of French households do not have an internet connection, whether by choice, lack of means, or even because they cannot reach a network, the government has specified that if the taxpayer does not consider himself to be able to complete the return on-line, he may continue to use the paper form.

“Paper format” tax returns must be filed by 18 May 2016 at the latest. The deadlines for the on-line filing vary according to the département (county) in which you live: 24 May 2016 (départements 01 to 19), 31 May (20 to 49), 7 June (50 to 976).

The wealth tax (ISF) filing must be:

– completed together with the income tax return if the taxable basis is less than € 2,570,000: the filing dates are then similar to those for the income tax return,
– completed in “paper format” only if the taxable basis is greate than or equal to € 2,570,000: the filing date is 15 June 2016.

The income return

The income tax (“IR”) is calculated according to the items stated in the income return. This return is pre-filled by the taxation authority, which is aware that some of the items must be approved or corrected:

– salaries and retirement pensions (provided by employers and the pension funds),
– income from investments (provided by the paying institutions: banks, companies, etc.),
– the deductible “generalised social levy,” a special tax (“CSG”), which is automatically calculated by the taxation authority according to the available information.

On the other hand, the taxpayer is responsible for filling out his/her income return, stating the following items, among others:

– payments received as a non-salaried worker,
– capital gains earned or capital losses sustained in connection with sales of securities (particular attention must be paid to this category of income, since the banks do not always provide information on the rebates for length of holding),
– income from real estate,
– deductible charges (such as household employees, donations, investments eligible for wealth tax reductions).

The income return need no longer be sent along with the evidentiary documents, whether via the internet or in paper form. However, taxpayers need to keep the evidentiary documents of all kinds in case the authority asks for information.

The wealth tax return

Taxable basis less than € 2,570,000

No special return needs to be sent to the taxation authority. On the income return (form no. 2042-C), the taxpayer needs to report the gross and net values of the taxable asset base, if it is greater than € 1,300,000. The taxation authority itself deals with calculating the wealth tax (ISF) and sends an assessment notice to the taxpayer, at the same time as the income tax notice. The wealth tax must be paid by 15 September.

Taxable basis greater than or equal to € 2,570,000

A special return (form no. 2575) needs to be sent to the taxation authority with the details of all the assets owned by the taxpayer (real estate, financial investments, vehicles, equipment, liabilities, and so on). The taxpayer is responsible for calculating the wealth tax owed and for sending the appropriate payment along with the wealth tax return, by 15 June 2016.

Evidentiary documents

The wealth tax return no longer needs to be sent with the evidentiary documents, just like the income return. Only those taxpayers who fill out a detailed return (form no. 2575) are required to supply evidence of the liabilities of which the taxation authority is ignorant.

We are entirely available if you have any further queries about the issues discussed in this newsletter or about any other accounting, tax, social security or law related topic.

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