How to get your French withholding tax refund

So you have received dividends (or interest) from France, are not a French tax resident, were withheld the default rate (ie: 30% on dividends) even though your tax treaty entitles you to a lower rate? (as is often the case, ie 15% for Singapore)

There’s much paperwork ahead but you can get your money back. The process seems designed to discourage people from claiming their tax refund, but it’s not as arduous as it looks at first:

  1. At the beginning of the year, collect your French dividend and/or interest income you received the year before. Put this into a spreadsheet and compute how much withholding tax you paid, how much you should have paid, and how much you’ll be claiming back.
  2. Download the form 5000 ; and either the 5001 (for dividends) or 5002 (for interests). For this, go to the tax portal form search and look for forms with CERFA number 12816*01, which will list all available forms 5000, 5001 and 5002 in multiple languages (the code EN, FR, ES, etc. are language codes for English, French and Spanish)
  3. Fill out the forms. If you are going to do this every year, I suggest pre-filling them as PDF files that you can keep around for the following years and save time. Each form will be made in 3 versions: one to be kept by you, one to be kept by your local tax authorities and one for the French administration.
  4. Submit those forms to your local tax authorities, which will have to complete their part that certifies you are a local tax resident. For Singapore you’ll need to also submit the form to apply for a Certificate of Residence, to be included along with the rest.
  5. Once you get the forms properly stamped, you need to send them to the bank or financial company that collected the taxed dividends/interests.

2 thoughts on “How to get your French withholding tax refund”

  1. As far as I know you have to file the following year (ie: for income received and taxed in 2014, the filing has to be done in 2015)

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