The French tax system includes all taxes, social security contributions and charges levied by the public administration and imposed on individuals living in France.

All the information given below is intended for general information purposes only. In France, tax treatment varies according to each individual situation. For any particular situation, please contact your local Tax Office. It is your responsibility to file your tax return.

Why do I have to pay taxes?

Taxes imposed on households and companies are intended to finance government spending and local authority expenditure on general public services, such as education, healthcare, security, defence and infrastructure (roads, schools…).

Income tax (Impôt sur le revenu)

In France, income tax is not deducted at source from an employee’s salary. This means that all resident taxpayers have to complete an annual tax return and have the money available to pay their tax bill. The net salary is the salary which is actually given to the employee, once all mandatory social contributions (i.e. social security) have been deducted from the gross salary.

Filing your French tax return

If you have earnings from France, you must complete an annual French tax return (déclaration de revenus).

Every year, you must return the tax declaration for the previous year. The figure that you have to declare is the cumul net imposable, i.e. the net taxable income of all last year’s contracts.

Filing a paper declaration

For your first tax return, you can file a paper declaration. You can obtain forms online by referring to the French tax authority website impots.gouv.fr and by typing “formulaire 2042” and the desired year on the search field in the upper-right corner, or at your local tax office.

You can either send the declaration by mail (the postmark will be used as proof of submission) or submit it directly to your local tax office.

The compulsory income tax declaration must be completed by the due date, which is specified on an annual basis (generally between April and June).

You will be able to file your annual tax return online the following year after obtaining your login information.

If you are married and your spouse works, you will have to file a joint income tax return. Please contact your local Tax Office if you have any questions regarding your spouse.

Online tax return

You can file your tax return online through impots.gouv.fr. It is your responsibility to make sure you complete and submit your French tax return by the due date, which is specified on an annual basis (generally between April and June). If you have arrived in France over the course of the year, you may refer to the “International” of their website.

If it’s your first online tax return and you sent a paper declaration in the previous year, you must login impots.gouv.fr and click on “votre espace particulier” (your personal space) to create a password. To achieve this, you need your login information from the pre-filled 2042 declaration that you received in April and the tax assessment (avis d’impôt) you received in August of the previous year.

Your online declaration will be already pre-filled. All you have to do is review the pre-filled information and add any missing details before validating.

If you are married and your spouse works, you will have to file a joint income tax return. Please contact your local Tax Office if you have any questions regarding your spouse.

Checking if you meet the criteria to be considered a tax resident in France

To find out where and how make a tax payment, the first thing you must know is whether you are a resident or non-resident for French tax purposes. This will lead you to study three sources of tax law:

  1. Check if you meet the criteria to be considered a tax resident of your previous country of residence. Prior to your departure, contact your country’s tax authorities. Ask if you will be regarded as a tax resident of your previous country of residence during your stay in France.
  2. Check if you meet the criteria to be considered a tax resident of France. Under French law, you are a resident in France for tax purposes if you meet any one of the following conditions:
  • Your permanent home (habitual home for you and/or your family) is in France. Spending at least 183 days during a calendar year in France is enough to meet this condition;
  • Your professional activity is in France;
  • The center of your economic or financial interest is in France (investments, company’s head office, etc.).
  1. Check if France has a bilateral Tax convention with your previous country of residence. If so, check the convention’s provisions to find out your tax residency. These conventions enable certain residents to avoid dual taxation. To find out which countries are concerned, please refer to the section of “international conventions” of the tax authorities’ website.

The criteria for residence for tax purposes vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and you need to apply national and international tax law to find out your tax residency. Expert advice should always be consulted for your individual tax situation. Go to your local tax office to find out which criteria is applicable for you.

Either way, if you have earnings from France, you must complete an annual French tax return. A bilateral Tax convention between France and your previous country of residence does not exempt you from filing a tax return.

You don’t need to submit the convention with your tax return.

We recommend you to bring in France your last tax assessment of your previous country of residence.

Tax assessment

After filing your tax return, if you are taxable, you will receive a tax assessment indicating 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 need it. This is a proof of your income.

To pay your taxes, you may contact the Trésorerie principale.

Where can I find my local Tax Office?

The French government website impots.gouv.fr provides every Tax Office’s contact information. To find your local Tax Office’s contact information, please click here.

Other mandatory French taxes

Please note that besides the income tax, you may also have to pay the ‘Occupiers’ French property tax, Taxe d’habitation, the TV licence tax, contribution à l’audiovisuel public and the French property tax, taxe foncière. For further information, please visit impots.gouv.fr.

 

France is a safe country, and by following these basic safety tips you can go a long way in ensuring you avoid danger. Find out also about all the steps you should take if you get into difficulty.

Basic safety tips

  • Do not leave your bags and valuable items unattended in public places,
  • Always stay vigilant in crowded areas, such as tourist attractions, airports and public transports, to avoid being pickpocketed,
  • On the metro, be discreet when using your smartphone and other electronic devices.

Public places and transport

  • Do not forget to place a tag on the outside of your luggage (with address and contact details),
  • Do not leave your bags and valuable items unattended,
  • Stay alert and keep an eye out for abandoned packages or luggage, or other suspicious items. Report them to authorities or the staff.

What to do in the event of theft

Call the nearest police station by dialing the number 17.

Your credit card is lost or stolen

  • Immediately report your missing credit card to your bank. You can find your banks phone number on a copy of your credit card statement, the Internet or an ATM. You can also call 0 892 705 705 from a landline, a public or mobile phone 24/7 (€0.34/min). You will need your card’s 16-digit number and expiry date.
  • Report the stolen or lost credit card at the nearest police station (commissariat de police).

Your residence permit is lost or stolen

  • Report your missing residence permit to a police station. A written receipt will be issued,
  • Go to your Préfecture or sous-préfecture to get a replacement residence permit. You’ll have to bring the written receipt from the police station. The replacement will cost you €16 and must be paid in tax stamps.

What to do after an assault

If you have been victim of an assault, contact any police station to report or give notice of the assault.

Police report (Main courante)

The victim of a crime not deemed sufficiently serious to press criminal charges (porter plainte) may make a report to the police in order to establish a record of the incident (déposer une main courante). This means that the perpetrator won’t be under investigation. The statement is written and registered. The perpetrator will be summoned if need be. The victim will receive a written receipt of the police report with the place, date and time of the report and the registration number.

The complaint (Porter plainte)

Usually the first document filed in a lawsuit is the complaint, which provides an outline of the plaintiff’s (victim of the offence) case against the defendant. Only the victim, his/her legal representative and his/her dependents are entitled to lodge a complaint. If the victim is a minor, his/her parents or guardian can lodge a complaint on his/her behalf.

In France, there are two national police forces:

  • The Gendarmerie nationale is the branch of the French Armed Forces in charge of public safety.
  • The Police refers to the French national police and is the main civil law enforcement agency.