A new month brings new changes in France. We summarise key changes in May. Remember too that there are three bank holidays May 1 (Labour Day), May 8 (Victory Day) and May 26 (Ascension), although the first two fall on Sundays.
1. Reductions - and rises - in cigarette prices
Tobacco prices are set to change slightly from May 1, according to the latest document from customs, les Douanes françaises.
- A pack of 20 red Lucky Strike Original cigarettes going from €10.20 to €10
- A 10-centime reduction for many packs including Lucky Strike long (red, blue and gold), Peter Stuyvesant (silver, blue and red), Rothmans (blue, Red Select and London), Vogue L'Originale (white, blue, pastel), Winfield red…
On the other hand, several types of the Winston brand will rise in price by 10 centimes.
2. Online use of SNCF chèques-vacances
From May, holders of digital SNCF chèques-vacances (holiday vouchers) will be able to use them to buy train tickets online. Previously, holders needed to go to the station in person to use paper vouchers.
The vouchers, which exist in both paper and digital form, have already been released by l’Agence nationale des chèques vacances (ANCV).
SNCF Connect confirmed that “from May, the paper vouchers can still be used in branch [in person], but if you wish to convert your paper vouchers into digital ones [to use online], you will need to go to the ANCV website to do so”.
In other words, to pay for train tickets online using holiday vouchers, you will need to log on to the ANCV app or website, and click on the "Exchanges (Échanges)" section to enter the code that appears on the holiday voucher.
The year of issue and the organisation number must also be indicated. The paper vouchers must then be sent by post to the ANCV. Once they have been exchanged for digital versions, you can use them to buy your train ticket on the SNCF website.
3. Income tax revenue declaration deadlines
Those who have not yet filed their 2021 tax return, living in departments 01 to 54, will have to do so later this month.
- May 19 for the paper return, regardless of place of residence;
- May 24 for the online return for taxpayers living in departments 01 (Ain) to 19 (Corrèze) and non-residents
- May 31 for the online return for taxpayers living in departments 20 (Corsica) to 54 (Meurthe-et-Moselle)
- June 8 for the online return for taxpayers living in departments 55 (Meuse) to 976 (La Réunion)
These dates are the same whether you are a resident or non-resident.
If you are a French resident or a non-resident who has income to declare to France, then in most cases you will make your declaration via your personal space at impots.gouv.fr as part of the online income declaration, by selecting the ‘Impôt sur la fortune immobilière’ option when choosing the sections you require.
The online declaration platform is already open and can be found here. You will be asked to enter your tax number or to log in through FranceConnect, which is a one-stop shop for accessing public services online.
4. Increase in social aid
Benefits paid by the Caisse nationale des allocations familiales (CAF) will be increased by 1.8%, which is less than half the rate of inflation of 4.5% over one year in March.
This small increase will be applied to allocations familiales, the basic allowance for young children, the childcare supplement, the PreParE for parents on parental leave, the RSA, la prime d’activité, and the next rentrée scolaire grant, which will be paid in August.
The disabled adult allowance (l'allocation adulte handicapé, AAH), which was increased on April 1, will start to be paid at the beginning of May, and will rise from €903.60 to €919.86.
5. Increase in minimum wage
The minimum wage in France (the Smic) is re-evaluated should the consumer price index (inflation) rise above 2%. Given that it was 2.65% higher in March 2022 compared to November 2021, the Smic is set to increase from May 1.
The gross monthly minimum wage in metropolitan France will therefore rise from €1,603.12 to €1,645.58 for a full-time worker. This will mean a net monthly minimum wage of €1,302.64 instead of the previous €1,269. The increase is €34 net per month.
After the previous revaluation on January 1, 2022 – also due to inflation – the Smic will therefore have risen by 5.9% and increased by €72 net in one year. It was €1,230.60 in May 2021, and will be €1,302.64 from this Sunday, May 1.
6. Voter registration deadlines
After the presidential election, the legislative elections are set to take place on June 12 and 19.
French citizens who are over 18 and who enjoy all their civil and political rights are eligible to vote in these elections.
If you are a French citizen and not yet registered on the electoral roll or if you wish to change your polling commune, you have until Wednesday, May 4 to do so online, and until Friday, May 6 to do so at the mairie or by post.
7. Student grants deadline
Any students and future students that wish to apply for a student grant, student social housing, or aid for the 2022-2023 academic year, have until May 15 to apply.
As the official website of the French administration states, "it is important to fill in the EHR application form on time, even if you do not [yet] have all the elements needed to assess your situation".
Livret A accounts to change?
In addition, Livret A savings accounts may be re-evaluated in May, but no official announcement has been made so far.
Inflation may also lead to an increase in the interest rate on the Livret A saving accounts, which is unusual. The Livret A is normally only adjusted twice a year, on February 1, and August 1.
Since July 2021, however, the Banque de France can now recommend an early increase on May 1 and November 1 if "the variation in inflation or money markets is very significant".
This is now the case, as national statistics bureau INSEE reported in March 2022 that inflation is at 4.5%.
According to the current calculation rule, the investment rate of the Livret A could therefore rise to 1.25% from May 1.