Thursday, 22 July, 2021

Taxes: the setbacks of my first income tax return

“Hello the taxman? Here a first-time declarer who wants to pay his first taxes … How should I go about it?” For the first time in my life, at the beginning of 2019, I wanted to declare my income. It took me five months of salaried employment before a certain tax awareness caught up with me. A conscience partly motivated, I admit, by the fear of late penalties. And good resolutions oblige, it was time to move from the status of fiscal ghost to that of model taxpayer. After some research, Google suggested that I learn how to do this via, the official public finance platform.

Step 1: fill in the “2042 form”, for lack of identifiers

On the site, the procedures seem relatively simple. I understand that you need identifiers to access your “particular space”. However, having never declared anything on this platform, I do not have them.

I quickly come across the paragraph intended for taxpayers who do not have these sesames. The process is summed up in just over two lines. “You cannot declare online, you have to file a paper income tax return (form n ° 2042). You will be able to declare on the Internet the following year after obtaining your identifiers” it is indicated.


So it would be that simple? Ok. I download the famous “form n ° 2042”. A Kafkaesque name, which strangely reminds me of the “A 38 pass” so precious to Asterix and Obelix to get out of the “house that drives you crazy” (read: the XII Works of Asterix). And I print it.

The copy has no less than six pages to complete. Hello anguish. Fortunately, the first information requested is basic: marital status, family situation, address, presence or not of dependent children. Phew: and here are the first two pages filled. More than four. But on the next sheet, things take a turn for the worse.

Read also: A mysterious epidemic of “administrative phobia” in the National Assembly

Step 2: How do I calculate my income?

On the following pages, I must fill in the wages, salaries, pensions and other pensions that I receive. Fortunately, my case could not be simpler. My only income comes from my salary and gifts from my adorable grandmother (these latter “income” obviously do not count in the eyes of the tax authorities).

Small technical questions. Should we enter a gross salary or a net salary? Should we give a monthly salary or add all the paid months? Questions that seem obvious when you are an old hand in the payslip. But that are not necessarily for a novice. After a quick check on, it appears that I must declare net income, and obviously add it up since I have been in business. So I take out my calculator, and I write the result in front of the line “earned income.”

One of my colleagues smiles. “Do not forget to subtract the tax deduction to which you are entitled!” Little lucky that I am. Just like childminders or elected officials, journalists are indeed entitled to a small tailor-made tax niche. On condition of receiving income of less than 6,000 euros per month, it takes the form of an allowance of 7,650 euros on declared income. I write this figure in front of the “standard allowance” line on the document.

Step 3: we start all over again

At that time, I have a doubt about my approach. I notice that the form I’m working on is titled “2017 income statement.” Strange.

And no matter how hard I look around the web, there isn’t the slightest trace of this form in the “2018” version.

But then, does that mean that 2018 income is going by the wayside? Could this be a consequence of the “white year” linked to the withholding tax that we talk about so much? Such a “gift” granted by the tax authorities seems to me all the same a little too good to be true … To better understand what escapes me, I call the next morning a public finance center.

9:20 am: no answer

9:40 am: no answer

9:55 am: no answer

10:15 am: still no answer. Five minutes later, my mother telephones me, responding to a cry for help that I have given her in the meantime.

“I received a tax letter a few months ago with the codes so that you can register on their platform. But I can’t send it to you, I can’t find this letter anymore, she told me.

  • Ah… (I did not know that such a letter had been sent to him). So what can we do?
  • I was able to call them this morning. They were able to send me back your tax number and your tele-filing number. I can dictate them to you if you want.
  • But did you manage to get officials on the phone today?
  • Yes, the first time. “

A little frustrated, I thank her and copy the codes I need.

Epilogue: see you next April …

I start from scratch. Forgot the “form 2042”, and I connect directly to the platform. I click on the “Manage my withholding tax” block. I enter my tax number, then the tele-declarant number. And I created a personal password, at the request of the site.

I reconnect, using the password that was confirmed to me. My luck: I have already calculated the amounts to be declared. The process should therefore take relatively little time. An interface offers me the choice of “managing my profile”, updating my debit rate or paying the taxes I owe. I choose the “Declare my income” tab. I’m finally approaching the goal.


An error message is displayed on the screen. “The online tax filing service has been closed since July 16, 2018. It will be available again in April 2019 […]”is it communicated. See you next spring with, I hope, a little less dead ends in which I will waste so much time.

The tax administration was able to answer my questions

Remaining on my hunger, I contacted the tax administration a few days later. Will I really be able to enjoy a blank year in 2018? Can I change the neutral rate that I discovered on my January payslip? Here is what was communicated to me by the agent on the phone:

1. A priori, with my codes, I should be able to declare my income from April on the platform. In case of failure, I will have to send a paper version (the famous 2042 form)
2. A neutral rate has been applied to my income since January 2019. The tax administration needs three months to take into account a new rate, calculated according to my tax situation. “All in all, it is better to wait to declare 2018 income in April 2019”, he was advised to me.
3. Yes, I will be exempt from tax on my 2018 salaries. However, I will still have to declare this income, so that the tax authorities know my situation.
4. If I know of a change in my situation in 2019 (marriage, PACS, birth, etc.), I can report it in the “manage my direct debit” section. And maybe eventually reduce my tax rate and recover an overpayment.


Income tax