An Expat Guide to the French Taxation System

If you’re an expatriate living in France, then there’s a high chance that you will be required to pay taxes on your income and earnings. Our guide is aimed at helping people who are living in France or considering relocating there in the future to understand the French taxation system and how it will affect them.

Who needs to pay tax in France?

French taxes, or impôts, as they are referred to in France are applicable to the following people:

  • Expats who hold a residence permit.
  • Expats who spend more than 182 days in France within one calendar year
  • Expats who have most of their wealth based in France or conduct their main activities in France.


How tax is applied in France?

Tax is calculated on an annual basis and is charged according to expatriates’ earnings between the 1st January and the 31st December inclusive. Expatriates are required to declare every single penny that they have earned from the moment they arrived in France, even if they were not officially resident at the time. This self-declaration is submitted in a form that is referred to as the la déclaration d’impôts and it must be completed and returned to an expatriates’ local tax office on an annual basis before the deadline of the 28th February. Occasionally this deadline is extended and expatriates are given a longer period of time to compile their tax return, if this is the case, the tax authorities will make an announcement to confirm the new deadline. Whether there is an extension or not, all expatriates who fail to submit the completed la déclaration d’impôts before the deadline will be charged a 10 percent surtax.

Expatriates who are in salaried employment will be provided with a notification of the declarable income for the year concerned. Those that are self-employed will need to provide their own earnings accounts.

It is always advisable that you seek expert advice before filling in your tax form; you may be liable for tax on wealth, capital gains and inheritance.

Tax rates in France

The 2012 tax rates in France range between 0 and 41%, depending upon income. The taxable revenue is divided in 2 or more shares, in relation with the size of the family.

The rates applied to each share are:

Tax % Income EURO
0% Till 5,963 Euro
5,5% From 5,963 Euro to 11,896 Euro
14% From 11,896 Euro to 26,420 Euro
30% From 26,420 Euro to 70,830 Euro
41% Over 70,830 Euro

Paying taxes

Once the tax rate and the amount payable have been calculated, you can pay your tax bill in three installments: 15th January, 15th May and 15th September. If you opt to do so, the tax office will contact you and inform you of the amount you need to pay on each of the three dates. The sums of the first two installments will be estimated, based your last yearly tax payment and by the time your third installment is due your self-declaration will have been processed and the final payment will be adjusted to reflect the exact remaining sum of what you owe in the tax year.

Are you moving to Paris?

If you’re considering moving to Paris then you should check out our expat guide to living in Paris. Our comprehensive information pack contains everything you need to know about living and working in Paris and tells you exactly what it is like and what you can expect in a practical, straightforward style.


Read our destination introduction

Author: ExpatInfoDesk