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I live in France but still declare income to the UK

I am a retired British citizen living permanently in France. All my income, pensions etc are in the UK. I submit a UK tax return because that is what I did before I retired. I know there is a dual UK/France taxation agreement. Must I submit a declaration to the French tax authorities?  C.W.

Yes, you have to submit an income declaration to French tax authorities each year for the previous French tax year (the same as the calendar year).

Taxation of income is done in the country in which you reside, not the country from which the income comes, with the exception of property and “government” pension income, which is always taxed in the country from which it comes.

You can still rectify this if you have not been doing it. Usually, the tax authorities only go back three years, so you could submit declarations for 2016, 2017 and 2018 income.

Then you would redo your HMRC tax returns for 2015/16 (from January 1, 2016), 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19, only showing income from property rentals and “government” pension income, which is income from the military, police, civil service, diplomatic service and the like, essentially (but not exclusively) that which is paid by the Paymaster General.

All other income, such as state and private or work pensions, interest, dividends, National Savings income and so on, is declarable and taxable in France.

You will then have French tax to pay within 30 days of receiving the French income tax assessments, but your UK tax refunds may take longer.

Tax overpayments confirmed by HMRC that are made in the current tax year are refunded through the PAYE system, but all tax refunds due from previous tax years are refunded by cheque by HMRC directly.

Get the advice you need with our Income Tax in France 2020 Help Guide

Primarily aimed at Britons living in France or those in the UK receiving income from France (such as from renting out a holiday home here), our help guide details the information needed to make your declaration. It shows how to declare income such as pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest, and includes a visual guide to the French forms. 

Find out more

Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald

The Connexion welcomes queries and regularly publishes a selection with answers. However, please note that we cannot enter into individual correspondence on money topics. Queries may be edited for length and style. Due to the sensitive nature of topics we do not publish full names or addresses on these pages. Send your financial query to

The information here is of a general nature. You should not act or refrain from acting on it without taking professional advice on the specific facts of your case. No liability is accepted in respect of these articles. These articles are intended only as a general guide. Nothing herein constitutes actual financial advice.

Photo credit: Patrick Cannon

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