Withholding tax for the self-employed in 2024: when and how to opt for quarterly instalments?

Since January 1, 2019, income tax has been deducted at source for both employees and the self-employed, with a slight difference for the latter. In fact, an advance payment is deducted from them monthly or quarterly, with an adjustment based on their actual income when they file their tax return.

In order to take advantage of quarterly withholding, however, it is necessary to opt for this payment method within the set deadlines. Find out more about these deadlines and how withholding tax will work for the self-employed in 2024.

When is withholding tax deducted for the self-employed?

As a general rule, advance payments, calculated by the tax authorities, are withdrawn each month before the 15th from the dedicated bank account you designate. However, if you prefer to pay your taxes quarterly from 2024 onwards, you must notify the tax authorities before October 1, 2023.

Once you've made this choice, it renews automatically from year to year, which means you don't have to worry about it for years to come. However, if you wish to revert to monthly payment, you must inform your tax office by October 1 of the previous year.

To do this, simply go to impots.gouv.fr and click on "Gérer mon prélèvement à la source" in your personal area.

Advance payments are payable in 4 instalments on the following dates:

  • February 15,
  • May 15,
  • August 15,
  • November 15.

This advance payment system applies to all self-employed workers, whether they are taxed as industrial and commercial profits (BIC), non-commercial profits (BNC) or agricultural profits (BA), as well as to certain company managers and partners described inarticle 62 of the CGI, such as the majority managers of SARLs who have not opted for the partnership tax regime.

How is withholding tax calculated?

Since your income is likely to vary from one year to the next, the tax authorities have set up a specific mechanism for the self-employed. It calculates the amount of tax based on your previous income, and then makes an adjustment at the end of the year.

Explanation for 2024:

  • From January to August 2024, instalments are calculated on the basis of the 2023 tax return, i.e. 2022 income;
  • From September 2024 to August 2025, instalments will be based on 2023 income reported in 2024.

Each year, from September to December, an adjustment is made to the previous year's income. If the amount of the instalments paid is less than the total tax due, a supplement will be payable. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you can check the amount of your future instalments on impôt.gouv.fr.

If your income changes significantly, you have the option ofadjusting the amount of your withholding tax by increasing or reducing it. However, it is important to note that your request must be well-founded to be accepted by the tax authorities. It is therefore advisable to use this option only when absolutely necessary.