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Tax, homes, cars: 19 changes in France for residents in January 2022

Rules for mortgages also change as does the way you apply for planning permission, we look at key changes on their way in the new year

Among the new changes coming in January is a new service to help homeowners make eco-friendly changes to their houses Pic: Rido / Shutterstock

A new month means new changes in France, and a new year even more so. We look at some of the key changes that could affect you and your household as 2022 begins.

Rise in income tax bands

As every year, France’s income tax bands will be adjusted to take into account the impact of inflation on households. In 2022 (so for 2021 income) they will rise by 1.4%. The number of bands and the tax rates remain unchanged. The new bands are:

Up to €10,225 = 0%

From €10,226 - €26,070 = 11%

From €26,071 - €74,545 = 30%

From €74,546 - €160,336 = 41 %

Above €160,336 = 45%

Syndic changes for flat owners

From January 1, syndic property management organisations will have to provide flat owners with a standardised information sheet on the prices and services they offer.

Continued drop in taxe d’habitation bills

The elimination of the taxe d’habitation will continue in 2022. Amongst those who still pay (this only relates now to the most well-off households) there will be a drop of 65% in their tax bill. By 2023, the tax will no longer exist for main homes. It will continue at the full rate for second homes.

Stricter rules for mortgages

From January 1, the length of a property loan will be limited to 25 years, with only two years deferral permitted. The maximum debt ratio will be limited to 35%, including borrower's insurance, as opposed to 33% previously. There is a loophole, however, as banks do not have to comply in 20% of their loans, prioritising those buying a main residence and first-time buyers. 

French hospitals to offer cheaper A&E services

Hospitals in France are to charge a fixed-rate sum of €19.61 from January 1 for patients who go to the accident and emergency ward (urgences) but are not then admitted to hospital. 

The charge up to now was €25.28 for A&E treatment without hospitalisation, plus extra itemised fees for specific services received.

Read more: French hospitals to set flat fee of €19.61 for A&E care from January 1

Planning permission moves online

The Ecology Ministry has confirmed that people will be able to apply for a building permit online via a simple free of charge form.

WA Brexit residency cards become obligatory

From January 1, Withdrawal Agreement residency cards will be obligatory for most Britons living in France and can be checked for many daily formalities. 

Launch of new public service France Rénov’

France Rénov’ is the new name for a government programme including personalised help with planning a home renovation programme and certain forms of financial aid.

Read more: What is France Rénov’ aid scheme – can I use it to renovate my house?

Coming January 1, this new service will help households to make their homes more energy-efficient and less polluting. The website states that the service will “give neutral, free, and personalised advice”.

Increased penalties on new, polluting cars

Extra charges for new, polluting cars will come into force from January 1. 

From this date, the threshold for the introduction of CO2 emission penalties will be lowered from 133g/km to 128g/km. 

In addition, an extra tax will apply to heavy vehicles that weigh more than 1.8 tonnes, with €10 being added for each additional kilogram. 

This charge will only be applied to new vehicles, and there will be exemptions for electric vehicles, wheelchair-friendly vehicles, minibuses and the people-carriers of large families. 

The maximum penalty for cars that pollute the most and that weigh more than 1.8 tonnes will be €40,000 in 2022 – compared to €30,000 now –and €50,000 in 2023. 

So, a car which emits 224 grams of CO2 for each kilometre driven and which weighs more than 1,800 kg will be subject to a €40,000 penalty next year. 

Re-evaluation of basic French pensions

Basic French pensions will rise 1.1% from January 1. This will apply to all basic pensions (including private workers, civil servants and freelancers) except those for lawyers who fall under different rules. It will come into force in January and the extra amount will begin to be paid in February.

France takes up EU presidency

France takes up the presidency of the European Union from January 1 to June 30, 2022.

President Macron says it will priori­tise economic relaunch after the pandemic, Europe’s ‘power’ and ability to set its own agenda on technology, the military, culture and values – and how to foster people’s sense of pride in belonging to Europe.

Also on the agenda will be reforms to the Schengen area.

The European Commission is proposing new rules on dealing with undocumented migrants while at the same time maintaining the principles of the ‘border-free’ zone. The proposals open the possibility for a member state to apprehend an undocumented migrant in a border area and transfer them to the neighbouring member state through which they arrived, instead of returning them to their country of origin. It is hoped that by promoting joint police checks in border regions, tighter controls on the actual border will not be necessary.

The revised Schengen rules also include new measures member states can take to manage the EU’s external borders effectively, including limiting the number of border crossing points and intensifying border surveillance.

Disability allowance extended

Disability grants (prestation de compensation du handicap (PCH)) to pay for assistance linked to the loss of independence will be simplified. The maximum duration of the five main forms of this benefit will be set at 10 years, as of January 1.
When the disability is not likely to improve, the PCH will be granted without a time limit.

Anti-waste law comes into force

From January 1, bans will apply on extra plastic packaging for fruits and veg under 1.5 kg, plastic teabags, and plastic toys given away free with fast food meals. 

Water fountains will be required in all schools. Pharmacies will also be able to sell a specific number of pills in a bid to reduce waste. Textile and clothes companies will not be able to destroy their unsold goods.

Cost of stamps to rise

The cost of a ‘timbre vert’ (two-day delivery across mainland France) will rise from €1.08 to €1.16, and a ‘timbre rouge’ (priority post within 24 hours across mainland France) will rise from €1.28 to €1.43.

TIP: You can still use stamps from previous years if they do not have the value marked on them (for example, ordinary ‘red’ or ‘green’ stamps).

New two-euro coin

A new design for the French two-euro coin will enter circulation from January 1. It has been created to commemorate 20 years of the euro and for the new French presidency of the European council. Its design features a number of symbols representing France, strength, peace, and unity.

Read more: New French €2 coin issued as euro marks its 20th birthday

Doubling of restaurant vouchers extended

Initially brought in to support the hospitality industry at the height of the health crisis, restaurant vouchers (tickets restaurants) will be extended at the higher value of €38 (up from €19) until February 28.

This means that you can pay for your restaurant bill [it includes click and collect services, home delivery and restaurants located in hotels] for a maximum amount of €38 with tickets restaurants.

For example: If you dine at a restaurant and the bill amounts to €58, you would be allowed to pay [a maximum of] €38 in tickets restaurants and the remaining €20 in cash or card.

Minimum wage re-evaluated

The minimum wage in France (known as the Smic) will rise by 0.9%. The new hourly rate from January 1 will therefore be €10.57, up from €10.48 since October 1. This equates to €1,603.12 per month, on the basis of 35-hour working week. 

Culture pass extended to 15-17 year-olds

From January 1, the pass will be extended to these age groups. It provides access to a credit of €20 for 15-year-olds, and €30 for 16 and 17-year-olds.

The "Pass'Sport" has also been extended until 28 February 2022.

Free contraception for all women aged under 25

From January 1, contraception will become completely free for all women under 25, and not only for minors, as is currently the case. 

Some contraceptive devices are not included (male and female condoms, vaginal rings, patches, and 3rd and 4th generation pills).

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Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
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- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
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