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How to make your first tax declaration in France ?

Filing your first tax return may seem complicated at first glance, but when properly informed, it can turn into a relatively simple process. It's important for the taxpayer not to overlook certain details, which can notably allow them to achieve tax optimization. They must also make sure to submit their tax return before the deadlines set by the tax authorities. This article from our editorial team presents a comprehensive summary of what must be done for a first tax return detailing the various steps.

Reading Time : 5 minut(s) - | Updated on 13-02-2024 23:25 | Published on 15-06-2023 12:19 

Elements not to forget for your first tax declaration

Filing a tax return for the first time is always a tricky step for taxpayers wondering how to complete it. The tax return is used to declare your income for the year and to justify it to the tax authorities. In writing this article, our goal is to help young taxpayers make their first declaration and not to miss any important detail. Filing your tax return is also an opportunity to optimize your finances.

Finding your tax reference number
Firstly, you must get your tax reference number without which your tax return is not possible. If you do not have it, you can request it from your Public Finance Center. By providing your personal information, they will be able to give you your tax reference number. It should be known that a first tax return is a way for you to optimize your finances. Indeed, there are many ways to reduce your income tax through the tax return. For this, you must keep informed of potential tips that exist and know the right boxes to check.

Gathering all the necessary documents
When making your first tax return, it is crucial to gather all the necessary documents. Among them, we mean your pay slips, bank statements, and important tax documents. It is also important to know your tax reference income. If you wish to deduct your professional expenses, you must keep all the invoices related to your professional expenses for the past year. If you receive rental income from real estate assets, you must be able to provide the corresponding statements. The same applies to your financial investments.

First tax return: online or paper format?
You can choose to submit your first tax return online or via a paper tax return form. As long as you are no longer part of your parents' tax household, you must pay your taxes. Please note that the taxes to be paid for the year 2023 concern income generated during 2022.

Online tax return or e-filing
As a declarant, you have the possibility of making your first tax return online, also known as e-filing. For this, you must have received a letter from the tax administration containing all the information you need for your online filing including your login details. To create your account, click on "Your personal area" and follow the instructions. The online tax return is mandatory as long as you have internet access. If you have received no letter from the tax services and you wish to file online, you need to provide some of your information to your Public Finance Center. You can do this directly at the establishment's counter or by mail. It should be noted that the deadline for submitting your tax return varies depending on the geographic area in which you live. For online filing, taxpayers had from May 25 to June 8, 2023 to submit their tax return.

The paper tax return via form 2042
It may be that your first declaration has to be made via paper form. Therefore, you must fill out form 2042, the income tax return form, by hand. You can download this form directly from the tax administration's site ( or request it at your Tax Center. Typically, the deadline to submit your paper tax return is earlier than for the online return. A late return can result in financial penalties. Unlike the online return, the paper return needed to be sent before May 22, 2023 for all departments in France.

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Optimize your first tax return

Filling out your tax return is a way to optimize your finances, especially by ticking the right boxes judiciously. Indeed, by keeping yourself properly informed, you can subtract your tax reductions, credits, and deductions.

Tax Reductions
Tax reductions are tax benefits awarded to taxpayers who meet certain conditions or make specific expenditures. Unlike deductions, which reduce taxable income, tax reductions directly affect the amount of tax owed. The criteria on which they may be based include family situation, specific expenses, and investments.

Tax Credits
Tax credits can take many forms, such as child tax credits, health care tax credits, eco-vehicle purchase tax credits, child care expense tax credits, and many more. It is therefore important to consult official tax resources or to seek the help of a tax professional to understand the tax credits you can claim. Maximizing the use of tax credits can help you save significantly on your taxes while complying with current tax laws. Note that a tax credit of less than $8 is not reimbursed by the tax administration.

Tax Deductions
Tax deductions are specific expenses that you can subtract from your taxable income, thereby reducing your total tax to pay. They are often used to encourage certain behaviors or support activities beneficial to the country's economy. The most well-known tax deductions include donations, tuition fees, child care expenses, or business-related expenses for example. By using tax deductions strategically, you can reduce your tax to pay and maximize your savings.

Check for potential errors

Checking for errors on your tax return is a step you should not overlook, especially to avoid potential penalties. Take the time to ensure all information is accurate. Firstly, guarantee the correctness of your personal information. This includes your name, your social security number, your address, and your marital status. Next, make sure the boxes that correspond to your tax situation are checked. Potential errors can lead to issues processing your return and that's not all. Some mistakes can lead to financial penalties including surcharges. If you make an error that works in your favor on a tax basis, you will incur a 10% surcharge. To avoid this, two solutions are available. You can correct your return in the following days by sending a correctly corrected amended return. Otherwise, you will need to respond to a reminder sent by the tax administration within 30 days.

Frequently asked questions

How to obtain your tax reference number?
If the tax administration has not sent you a letter, then you can contact the Public Finance Center to which you are linked to ask for your tax reference number.

How to optimize your first tax return?
For your first tax return, don't forget to declare all of your credits, deductions and tax reductions. By not overlooking any of these details, you can strive for tax optimization. This therefore requires being informed about different tax procedures and defiscalization opportunities.
What happens if I make mistakes in my tax return?
If you have completed your tax return online, visit the tax administration's website and click on the "Access Online Correction" section. You can then correct mistakes and submit your updated tax return. If you provided a paper return, you can send an updated return but before the deadline. On the first page, you should write "CORRECTIVE DECLARATION, CANCEL AND REPLACE".
What is the deadline for declaring your taxes?
Depending on the geographic area in which you are located, the deadline for submitting your tax return may vary. Regarding online income tax declaration, the deadline is between May 25 and June 8, 2023. On the other hand, the paper declaration must be sent by the deadline of May 22, 2023 at midnight.

Can you file your income taxes online for your first tax return?
If you have previously received a letter from the tax administration, you can attach your first tax return directly online. This is a way to make your declaration more simply through an online declaration while respecting the deadlines. Note that this online declaration will be used for the following years, your declaration will then be pre-filled each year. You can, of course, modify the information as you see fit.