HOW TO DECLARE YOUR TAXES AS A STUDENT IN FRANCE
By Diana Njoroge
Contrary to a still persistent belief, being a student does not exempt you from filing a tax return. In France its either you pay taxes or get a cash back from the goverment and as a student who is not working full time you are likely going to get the cash back.
To declare your taxes for the first time, you need to go to the tax center (Centre D’impôts)of the department you live in with your ID, house contract or an accommodation certificate with the person’s ID as proof of your address.
To avoid filling up your tax return on paper, choose the option to receive the online declaration form for the following years.
Student tax: two solutions to declare your income in France
You can file your tax return in one of two ways: either you complete your own return with your own tax number, or you are attached to your parents’ tax household as an adult child.
Doing your own tax return as a student
This other option has several advantages. First, by making your own declaration to the tax authorities, you can benefit from the housing tax exemption if your income received during the tax year is low. If you have chosen the first option, a reduction of this tax is still possible but you must present the tax notice to your tax centre. By filing your own tax return, you are also eligible for the activity bonus.
Attached to the parents’ tax household (only if your parents live in France)
Depending on each family’s situation, the connection to the tax home may be more or less advantageous. When you apply to be attached to the family home, you add an additional half share to the number of tax shares. This will reduce the amount of family tax when income tax is calculated (the family quotient share is modified). You should also be aware that students under the age of 20 who are attached to the family tax household allow their parents to receive certain family allowances, depending on the situation. However, if you choose to live in a family home, your parents are obliged to declare the income you have received during the year. The same applies if you have brothers or sisters who are attached to the tax household: all income must be declared to the tax authorities.
What income is tax-exempt as a student?
- The Crous grant;
- Allowance received during an internship unless they exceed 18 255€ over the year N-1 (eg 2019 for 2021);
- Income from your student job below €4,564 over the year N-1 and if you are under 26 years of age on 1 January of the year;
- The salary as work-study (apprenticeship contract), if the sum does not exceed 18 255€ (figure 2019);
- Compensation from your VIE, VIA, VSI or Civic Service;
- The allowance and the coverage of expenses paid within the framework of a CES mission;
- Indemnities paid within the framework of voluntary work.
What income should I report for tax purposes as a student?
- All salary if you were 26 years or older on the 1 January of the current year
- If less than 26 years, you should declare all income of the previous year N-1 if the amounts exceed 4,564€
- All your micro-entrepreneur income;
- Scholarships allocated for research work;
- Preparatory year allowances and sums paid by the State to students at an administrative school and sums paid as part of voluntary work in the armed forces;
- Internships are only to be declared if the sum received exceeds €18,255 over the year (2019 figure). On the other hand, all income received in the context of a professionalisation contract must be declared;
- Finally, if you receive alimony, this must be declared.
What expenses to déclare as a student?
- Money send to Kenya to support you parents
- Donations to associations or political parties in France
- Inscription free to associations and clubs
- Transport expenses if your work palace is more that 40km from your residence.
In conclusion, keep in mind that just because you declare income on your tax return does not mean that you will be automatically taxable. The taxation of income depends on many parameters (your reference tax income, the progressive tax scale and your personal tax rate, your parents’ tax income,(if They live in France) if any, their possible tax advantages, certain deductible expenses, etc..