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What’s new for residents in France in April 2021

It is tax declaration time, while other changes this month affect internet rules, the bicycle repair scheme, gas prices, help with energy bills, and the winter eviction truce

New nationwide Covid restrictions announced on Thursday, March 31, mean this April will be very different to what many were expecting or hoping. 

The Easter school holidays, which are usually staggered across three educational zones will now be taken from April 10 across the country - and, after the pre-third confinement dash to the country, the main arteries will be much less busy because of restrictions on travel.

But there are non-Covid changes coming into effect this month, too. 

New Internet rules

From April 1, all French websites must comply with new rules issued by the Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés (CNIL).

Cookies that are not essential for the proper functioning of a website can no longer be used to offer targeted advertising, unless the user explicitly gives consent.

And it has to be as easy to decline cookies as to accept them - CNIL says websites have to spell out what the cookies do before visitors click accept.

Read more: €3.6 billion fibre optic rollout in rural France 'catastrophic'


Tax time

The 2021 tax returns on 2020 income are expected to be available online from April 8. Almost 11 million people are expected to benefit from automatic reporting, in which the form is pre-filled by the administration - but you must check that it is accurate.

Need help with your tax declaration? Order our helpguide here

Energy cheques

Some 5.8million households on modest incomes should receive financial help with their energy bills in the form of a cheque from the government in the next few days. The means-tested payment ranges from €48 to €277 and is valid for a year.

Read more: How to claim grant for energy upgrades to French properties

Household gas price falls

Gas prices drop 4.1% on April 1, the national Commission de régulation de l’énergie (CRE) has said. It is the first drop in price since last August, so will come as a relief to householders whose budgets are stretched.

The drop will be 1.2% for households using gas just for cooking, 2.5% for those using it for cooking and heating and 4.3% for those only using gas for heating.

Read more: Cheap-rate power deal in France can be more expensive

Bike repair help ends

The €50 government help for bicycle repairs that came into effect after the first lockdown to encourage more cycling, has ended.

Read more: 7 facts you didn't know about cycling in France

Winter truce

The trêve hivernale – the period during which tenants cannot be evicted even if they fall behind on their rent – usually ends on April 1. This year, because of the pandemic and the financial problems many families are facing as a result, the grace period has been extended until June 1.

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