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Your stay in France may engender certain tax obligations. You will be principally affected by:
  • income tax (impôt sur le revenu),
  • social contributions
  • housing tax (taxe d’habitation) & the TV license fee (redevance audiovisuelle)

Income tax

Since 1 January 2019, a withholding tax system has been implemented in France. However, you must still file an annual income tax declaration to be sure the right withholding rate is applied for your situation.

If you arrived in France before or during 2018

You must declare your income for the year 2018 between April and May. This can be done using the 2042 paper form or online if you already have an online tax account. This declaration concerns all sources of income paid in France or abroad during the previous year.

If you arrived in France after 1 January 2019

You do not have to file an income tax declaration for 2018.
However, you can request an update of your withholding rate on your French income. You can fill in the paper form 2043 or do it online if you already have an online tax account (Section: “Gérer mon prélèvement à la source”).

Declaring your income

If you were a tax resident of France during the applicable year, you may be subject to taxation in France.

To file your first declaration, you must go to your local tax office (centre des finances publiques) and ask for the private individuals desk (service des particuliers) to request an income declaration form (déclaration des revenus), or download the form via the tax office website. Complete the form and send or deliver it to the tax office. Agents at the tax office can help you fill in your income declaration if you have all the necessary documents (pay slips, etc.). For the following years, you can file your declaration online.

In August/September, you will receive a tax notice (avis d’imposition) by post, indicating the tax amount due, as well as payment conditions. Keep this document in your archives to prove you declared your income.

For questions regarding your income declaration, please contact your local tax office and ask for the private individuals desk (service des particuliers).

You can also calculate an estimated income tax amount on the tax office website.

The tax calculation takes into account your family situation.

Source: Cerfa form n°2041 ALK - 51032#12

Bilateral tax treaties

Certain bilateral tax treaties signed between France and other countries include specific measures for “researchers” and/or “teacher-researchers” to avoid double taxation. These agreements also sometimes establish tax exemptions for scientists. To consult these tax treaties, visit the French tax office website or the website of the tax office of your last tax residence country.

You can also contact your home country tax office or the tax office where you had your last fiscal residency to obtain the relevant agreement in your mother tongue.

If a bilateral tax treaty applies to you, we strongly recommend that you print it out and that you visit the tax office to fill out your income declaration with the help of a tax officer, pointing out the articles of the bilateral agreement that concern you.

Social contributions

Unlike most European countries where the social security scheme is financed through general taxation, the system in France is funded through social security contributions.

Therefore, in addition to income tax, there are separate social security contributions and social charges that are payable by all residents in France and directly deducted from their salary. Income tax is charged after most social security contributions have been deducted.

Paying social charges does not generate entitlement to social security benefits. They fund health care, unemployment benefits, retirement, etc. in France.

Housing tax and the TV license fee

If you occupy housing in France on 1 January, you are concerned by housing tax (taxe d’habitation). The amount of this tax varies according to your situation, your income and the characteristics of your accommodation (floor area, etc.). Contact the owner of your accommodation or the rental property agency for the tax amount.

Even if you have since moved abroad, the housing tax must be paid for accommodation you occupied in France on 1 January. You will be posted a tax notice in September to your residence or to the address that you provided to the tax administration.

Housing tax also includes the TV license fee (redevance audiovisuelle). This tax must be paid if you are subject to the housing tax and if you own a television or some other device allowing TV reception. For information, audiovisual tax was €138 in 2016.
For more information about French housing tax and the TV license fee