When you arrive in France, you are required to make yourself known to the tax authorities to obtain your tax identification number. In this article, France Global Relocation explains what a tax identification number is, what it is used for and how to request one.
What is the tax identification number?
The tax identification number (NIF) is a unique identifier used to conduct all your tax-related formalities. This 13-digit number is issued for life. It permits you to be known and recognised by the authorities, to create your personal page online and to pay any dues and taxes you may owe, such as income tax, property or residence tax, radio & TV licence fee, etc.
Why apply for a tax identification number?
When you arrive in France, you are not known to the tax authorities. Up that point, you are therefore considered non-resident for tax purposes. This situation changes when you move to France for any length of time. You become resident for tax purposes if:
– Your main residence is in France and you reside there permanently (i.e. more than 6 months per year).
– You exercise a professional activity in France: this means your main profession, whether salaried or freelance.
– The focus of your economic interests lies in France (investments).
If you meet one of the foregoing conditions, your tax domicile (which has nothing to do with where you live) is situated in France: You are therefore liable for income tax in France. Now, the amount of tax depends as much on the income as on the family situation of the declaring party, which has an impacts on their reference tax income.
Therefore, when you apply for your tax identification number on arrival rather than when you submit your first tax return, you may immediately benefit from a rate of deduction at source which is appropriate to your personal situation. It’s in your own interests to apply for the number if you move to France with your family because it will allow you to benefit from certain tax and welfare breaks, as well as a lower rate of taxation than a person living alone.
How to obtain your tax identification number
There are several ways to obtain your tax identification number:
– You can go to the one-stop shop at the Centre des Finances Publiques for the area in which you live (tax service for private individuals) before you fill in your first tax return.
– You can send your application to the tax authorities by recorded delivery with acknowledgement of receipt. We would advise you to keep a copy of it just in case your application goes astray in the confusion of French bureaucracy!
– You can file the application on the website www.impots.gouv.fr:
Click on “Votre espace particulier” at the top right of your PC screen to access the box labelled “Connexion ou création de votre espace”.
In the box labelled “Aide”, click on “Vous n’avez pas encore de numéro fiscal” and then on the “Centre des Finances Publiques” link.
You then reach a contact form. For non-residents, you can simply give a postal address in France.
Need any help with your tax formalities? An international page and an English version on the tax authorities’ website provide information for non-residents and give you some useful contact addresses.