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Money, tax, pensions: What changes in France in May?

A new month always brings a set of changes for people living in France. Notable changes for May 2019 include a drop in gas prices, and a drop in contributions for certain pensioners.

Fuel taxes

On April 8 this year, the minister for public accounts announced that energy taxes across France would be charged regionally from May 1. Now, Corsica has the lower rates, and Ile-de-France, the highest.

Gas prices

This is not the only change to fuel prices; from May 1, regulated gas tariffs will drop by 0.6%. This represents a drop of 0.2% for households using gas for cooking, 0.4% for those who use it for cooking and hot water, and 0.7% for households that use gas for heating.

This is the third drop in the past few months, after 0.73% in February, and 1.91% in April. At the government's request, Engie has put in place a mechanism to guarantee a regulated natural gas tariff will not increase until the end of June.

Tax returns

Anyone living in France who is usually required to submit a tax return must do this month, as must those who are not French-resident but have relevant income, for example, from renting out a home in France. The deadline for the 2042 paper form is Thursday, May 16.

Those doing their returns online have slightly more time: until May 21 for departments 1 (Ain) - 19 (Corrèze); May 28 for departments between 2A (Haute-Corse) and 49 (Maine-et-Loire); and June 4 for those from 50 (Manche) to 95 (Mayotte).

Anyone who pays the IFI tax faces the same deadlines.


Pensioner contributions

More than 3.5 million retired households will see a drop in their regular CSG payments (la contribution sociale généralisée), after President Macron promised to cancel the planned rise in payments for pensioners receiving between €1,200 and €2,000 per month in light of the gilets jaunes protests.

From May 1, the amount will drop from 8.3% to 6.6% for millions of eligible households. These pensioners are also set to receive a refund on the difference paid since the beginning of the year, and will be made from May 2 for the Agirc-Arrco supplementary pension and May 9 for basic pensions paid by Cnav and MSA.

Student housing

Students have until May 15 to apply for scholarships and student accommodation for the next academic year (2019/2020). Applications must be made online at

New money

May will also see a change in the design of €100 and €200 notes, as part of a wider redesign named “Europa”, after the “princess of Europe” - a character from Greek mythology. The new €100 notes will have a green background, and €200 notes will be yellow, while a hologram image will make them harder to forge.

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