What you need to know about taxes in France
Taxation in France includes all taxes, charges and social contributions levied by the public administrations and paid by the French and foreigners living in France.
The information this section provides is for general information only. For any particular situation, please contact your local Tax Office. Each and every one of us is responsible for filing one’s tax return.
Why do I have to pay taxes?
A great part of the income of the French state and local authorities comes from taxes paid by households and companies. This money enables the State to finance public services such as defense, education, health, security and infrastructure (roads, schools…).
Income tax ("impôt sur le revenu")
In France, income taxes are not deducted directly from the salary. The net salary is the salary which is actually given to the employee, once all mandatory social debits have been deducted from the gross salary.
If you earn a salary paid in France by a French employer, then you need to file a tax return ("déclaration de revenus").
Every year, you need to file a tax return specifying last year’s income. This is compulsory. The figure to mention is the "cumul net imposable", i.e. the net taxable income of all last year’s contracts.
You need to send back your tax return between mid-April and mid-May. Be careful, the deadline changes every year. The first time, use the paper version and send it back to the local Centre des Finances Publiques of your area of residence. The form to use is either "Cerfa 2042" or "Cerfa 2042 NR" (Non-Resident). Both are available on the French tax authorities website (in French) or at your local Tax Office.
The year following your first tax assessment, you will receive a pre-filled tax return. You will need to check it and send it back, either by mail or through the Internet.
If you are married and your spouse works, only file one tax return. You need to file one tax return per household. For any question regarding your spouse, please contact your local Tax Office.
Find out which form you need to file by finding your tax residence ("domicile fiscal")
Check if you meet the criteria for tax residence in France
Your tax residence is in France if you meet one of these criteria:
- Your household is in France or you have lived for more than 183 days in France.
- You practice a profession in France. If you practice several professions, the main one is taken into account. The main profession is the one to which you dedicate most of your time or from which most of your income is drawn.
- France is where you concentrate all your economic interests (the place of your main investments or assets).
Check if you meet the criteria for tax residence in the country where you were a tax resident before coming to France
Before you arrive in France, contact the local tax administration of the country you were a tax resident before coming to France. Ask if you do meet the criteria for tax residence in that country during your stay in France.
For further information, please see the Service Public website (in French).
How do I file my tax return?
|Tax residence in France||Tax residence in the country where you were a tax resident before coming to France||Procedure to follow|
|No||Yes||Even if your tax residence is not in France, if you earn a salary paid in France by a French employer, you need to file a tax return and send it back to your Tax Office in France. Use the Cerfa 2042 NR (Non-Resident) form. This is mandatory even if you have already left France at the time of the tax assessment period.|
|Yes||No||You need to file a tax return for your salaries paid by both the French and the foreign employers and sent it back to your local Tax Office in France. Use the Cerfa 2042 form.|
|Yes||Yes||You need to file two tax returns:
one in France with the Cerfa 2042 form
one in the country where you were a tax resident before coming to France
France has signed tax conventions with many countries. The list of these countries is available on the French tax authorities website. These conventions avoid double taxation.
Keep in mind that you can contact your local Tax Office if you need help filing your tax return.
You must file a tax return even if there is a tax convention signed between France and the country where you were a tax resident before coming to France.
If there is no tax convention signed between France and the country where you were a tax resident before coming to France, the clauses of the Code général des impôts (CGI) apply.
There might not be an article dedicated to scientists in every tax convention. In that event, scientists can benefit from an extensive article of said convention.
You do not need to send with your tax return neither your work contract nor a copy of the tax convention signed between France and the country where you were a tax resident before coming to France.
Tax assessment ("avis d’imposition")
After filing your tax return, if you are taxable, you will receive a tax assessment stating a deadline for the payment of your taxes. If you are not taxable, you will receive a non-tax assessment ("avis de non-imposition").
In both cases, keep this document as many administrations (such as the CAF, the Family Allowance Fund) will ask for it. This is a proof of your income.
To pay your taxes, you may contact the Trésorerie principale. You may use the Pages Jaunes to find their contact information.
Where can I find the Tax Office I depend on?
The French government website impots.gouv.fr provides contact information for every Tax Office in France. To find the contact information for your local Tax Office, please click on this form and enter your address, city and zip code.
Council tax ("taxe d’habitation")
The council tax is due by every person who occupies accommodation on January, 1st. It is collected for the local authorities of your area of residency. It contributes to financing public facilities and services.
The rate of the tax is determined every year. It varies according to the surface area and the comfort of the accommodation. You must pay it every year before October 15th. Low-income households may benefit from tax exemption, tax relief or rate-capping. You will find more information on the French tax authorities website (in French).
License fee ("contribution à l’audiovisuel public")
The license fee finances public TV and radio. A single fee is due per household. TV license and council tax are paid at the same time. Low-income households may benefit from tax exemption, tax relief or rate-capping.
Property tax ("taxe foncière")
Every landlord must pay a property tax. It finances part of the local budget. It contributes to the development of public facilities and services. The property tax rate is established on a yearly basis according to the situation on January 1st. The entire amount is due even if the property is sold during the year.
For more information on taxes in France, please visit the Fondation Nationale Alfred Kastler website.