Before leaving France and returning to the United States, I recommend giving yourself at least a few days in order to complete the following closing tasks:
1. Move Out Of Your Apartment: Be sure you inform your landlord at least 1-3 months in advance of your departure (usually you need to give one month’s notice if you live in a furnished apartment, and three month’s notice if you live in an unfurnished apartment.) However, make sure you keep your bank account open long enough for them to return your security deposit- your landlord should return that rather quickly. Finally, make sure you and your landlord arrange your Taxe d’habitation. You will probably receive a bill in September or October assuming you filed French taxes.
2. Cancel Your Renter’s Insurance: Again, you should do this a month in advance, and the procedure will be a bit different depending on your provider. However, it will probably include sending a lettre recommendée avec accusé de reception, or a letter to the insurance company providing proof of your departure– use this website to help you. You may also need to provide your etat des lieux sortant (move-out inventory) along with the letter. Overall, just be open and communicate with your landlord and insurance provider because every situation is a bit different.
3. Cancel Your Utilities/Phone/Internet Contracts: Canceling your internet, phone, electricity, water, and heating contracts can usually simply be done online, but you can always call customer service to clarify any questions you may have. Caution, because sometimes there is also a fee when canceling your internet or phone contracts. But, make sure you keep your bank account open long enough for your companies to charge or reimburse you for any outstanding amounts on your account.
4. Cancel CAF: Write a letter to CAF stating that you are moving out on X date and they need to stop payments after X month. (Usually, if you are moving out at the end of April, the last time CAF should pay you is in May.)
5. Complete and Email the Program Evaluation form from the Recorat: At the beginning of a April you will receive a program evaluation form from your académie via email. It only takes a few minutes to fill out and send back, but it’s required for all participants in the program.
6. Close Your Bank Account: This should be the last thing you do– you may want to leave your account open through the summer if you are still waiting on future payments or reimbursements from CAF or social security. To do this you will need to send a letter with your account information provided as well as a copy of your passport/visa for identification. You will also need to return your carte bancaire and checkbook, but make sure you cut all of those in half or in multiple pieces before sending them through the mail!
**For my lectrice position, I kept my bank open and transferred branches once I secured my living situation in the north.**
7. Cancel the MGEN & Mutuelle: Usually your sécu and mutuelle are automatically canceled, but it’s not a bad idea to check. Make sure you are up to date on your reimbursements!
7. File Your American and French Taxes:
American: In order to avoid audit or fraud, you should claim your assistantship salary on your US taxes (see my friend Jennie’s site for clarification on how to do this. or check out my post here.) You will receive the French equivalent to a W2 form telling you what you should claim in taxes for October through December sometime in January (or you can just use your December bulletin de salaire (pay stub). On the form, make sure you note the gros amount and not the brut (net); this is the taxable amount– just convert to USD. Keep in mind that since France doesn’t take out taxes for assistants, I was required to pay money to the US government.
French: At the end of April, you should pay a visit to your local tax office (Centre des Impôts or use this website.) in order to fill out the French tax form. (If it is your first time filing, you will be required to do so on paper for the first year.) Compared to other forms in France, French tax forms are some of the easiest forms to complete (just use that same W2 equivalent to claim your taxable income, and have someone at the office help you to fill it out.) You will also need to provide a copy of your baie or lease when turning in the form. This way they will be able to bill you the taxe d’habitation as well as a TV tax if that is your responsibility (under the discretion of your landlord). Thankfully, assistants won’t make enough money to have to pay income taxes anyways, so you don’t need to file if you don’t want to. But it is a good idea to file if you want to stay in France, or ever plan on coming back to work in France. As an assistant from 2013-2014, I didn’t file my 2013 taxes, and when I went in to the office to back file, they simply said not to worry about it. However, for my 2014 income, I had 4 months of assistant income and 4 months of lectrice income, so I decided to file. I still didn’t have to pay any taxes, but I did make enough money to qualify for la prime pour l’emploi, which is, simply put, a tax reimbursement for people who have “worked full time” but have not earned enough money. I got 900 euros back this year!
Other Things I Did:
Give Back Your Key and Lunch Card: I had to give my school a 22€ deposit at the beginning of the year, so I had to return the key in order to receive my deposit back.
My Gym: I had a six-month gym contract that ended in April. I simply went in and made sure it wouldn’t be renewed.
Any other closing tasks to add?