What changes for household budgets in December in France

We also look at key tax and other payment or benefit dates this month

A number of deadlines relate to taxes
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Storm damage claims still possible

People who faced storm damage in November can still apply for insurance claims, France Assurers (France’s federation of insurers) has stated.

Usually, insurance claims after a storm have to be made within five days, but recent changes extended this to 30 days.

There was some confusion regarding recent storms (especially Storm Ciaran), with some reports of the deadline to claim being December 1.

France Assurers, however, specify that the 30-day rule is being followed, meaning those whose homes were damaged over the weekend of November 5 or later can still apply.

Anyone yet to claim should start the process as soon as possible.

Read more: Storm damage in France: How to manage an insurance claim for your home

Financial assistance for domestic violence victims

A new scheme to offer benefits to victims of domestic abuse (physical and mental) opens on December 1.

Victims can apply through the Cnaf (caisses national d’allocations familiales), using the Caf website, under the ‘vie personelle’ section.

The payment comes in the form of either an interest-free loan or a non-repayable grant. It is aimed at helping victims distance themselves from their abuser (by finding new accommodation etc).

The payment will be made within three working days (five if the applicant does not already receive benefits of some kind), and is increased if there are dependent children.

To be eligible, you must be a permanent resident in France, and have proof of domestic violence (police report, protection order, etc) from the last 12 months.

Deadline for charity donations

If you wish to give a donation to charity and benefit from a tax reduction on your 2023 income, this must be done before December 31.

Donations to certain charities can give a reduction of up to 75% on 2023’s income tax.

You can read more about this on page 50 of our tax guide.

Maximum mortgage rate rise

The maximum interest rate for a mortgage in France rises on December 1 to 6.1% – a level not seen in over a decade.

This is for mortgages of 20+ years, however for those between 10 years and 19 years the maximum rate is 5.8%.

However, some believe lending rates will fall from the second quarter of 2024, as banks explore reducing the cost of a mortgage to kickstart the property market.

Christmas bonus will see no changes

This year’s Christmas bonus (prime de noël) for low-income households will be paid on December 15 – as it was last year – with the minimum amount not changing from last year’s figure (€152.45).

However, a one-off bonus for single parents will be paid alongside it for those eligible.

Eligible applicants do not need to apply – it is paid automatically.

Read more: France’s ‘Christmas bonus’: Who is eligible and how does it work?

Changes to the Agirc-Arrco pension scheme

A number of changes to the Agirc-Arrco pension scheme – used for private sector employees – come into force from December 1.

The potential 10% reduction for those who did not delay their retirement for up to one year after originally meeting the conditions has been removed.

However, the bonuses for delaying pensions (a rolling scale depending on how long you delay retirement for) will be abolished for all pensions starting after December 1.

Some key dates…

December 6: The deadline (just before midnight) to make corrections to your 2022 income tax declaration.

December 8: The deadline for making changes to you withholding tax rate (prélèvement à la source) for January 2024.

December 13: Last day to adjust or cancel any tax credit advance (otherwise this is paid in mid-January).

In addition, December 14 is the deadline to change your bank details held by the French tax authorities to benefits from tax credits in January.

December 15: The deadline for paying the taxe d’habitation for second-home owners if you do not use a paperless payment system.

It is also the deadline to pay the surcharge taxe d’habitation on vacant homes, and the vacant home tax levied in some communes.

This is also the deadline for small businesses and freelancers to pay local business property tax (cotisation foncière des entreprises, or CFE). If you set up in 2023, you should file your CFE declaration before January 1, 2024.

December 20: This is the deadline for the above taxes if you pay them online – the direct debit will be taken from your account on December 27.

All of these can be done using your personal space on the French tax website, under the relevant subsections.

December 27: If you still have more than €300 to pay on your 2022 income tax then the tax authorities will debit the outstanding amount by prélèvement on this date.

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