Expats : How to declare your income the first year ?

Expats : How to declare your income the first year ?

When you leave France, you must inform the tax authorities of your departure. To declare your taxes in this case, you need to file a tax return for the year in which you left France. This declaration can be made online via the French tax authorities’ website (impots.gouv.fr) or by means of a paper form, indicating the date of your departure.

In the year of departure, you will have a dual status: French tax resident and non-French tax resident.

Tax residency : the 183-day myth

Tax residency is not determined solely by the 183-day rule. This is a common misconception, but the reality is more complex. Indeed, while the 183-day criterion may be considered to determine tax residency in some countries, it is not the only condition.

In France, for example, tax residence is determined according to the following criteria:

  • Home: the place where the person usually lives with his or her family.
  • The center of economic interests: the place where the person carries out his or her main professional activities or owns his or her main assets.
  • Stays: the length of time spent in France.

Your departure from France may or may not result in a change of tax residence. This first criterion is essential in determining the extent of your tax obligations.

The year of departure: a “double” declaration to avoid double taxation

Two periods follow one another: a period of tax residence from January 1 until the date of departure from France (in most cases). Then a period of non-tax residence.

As a non-resident of France for tax purposes, only French source of income is taxable. To declare this income, you will need to file specific forms with the “Centre des Impôts des Non-Résidents” (CINR). This income will then be taxed at specific rates.

French-source income is income generated from sources located in France. It may include various types of income, such as:

  • Income from work: Salary from employment in France.
  • Real estate income: Income from the rental or sale of real estate in France.
  • Financial income:Interest and dividends from investments in France.
  • Capital gains: Gains from the sale of assets located in France, such as shares, real estate, etc.
  • Pensions and retirement benefits: Retirement pensions from French sources.

As a non-tax resident, you will generally be taxed in France only on this French-source income, whereas income from abroad may be subject to taxation in the country of residence.

Such income is often subject to specific tax rules, and tax treaties between France and other countries may determine how such income is taxed to avoid double taxation.

It is therefore essential to define tax status carefully, analyzing it in the light of both domestic law and international tax treaties.

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