French Income Tax and Being Tax Resident in France
Information on becoming a taxpayer in France, when and how to submit your return and details on the tax bands applied to your income. Also find out how other incomes may be taxed (pensions, rental income, interest, dividends), social charges and benefits...
Becoming a Tax Resident of France
Under French domestic rules, a person becomes French tax resident from the day they arrive in France if they intend their stay to be permanent or indefinite. Otherwise it will be from whatever other point they can be viewed as having commenced residence where at least one of the four following tests is fulfilled:
- France is where the main residence or home is (foyer). This embraces ideas of permanence and stability and ignores temporary absences, and is the rule the French authorities will most rely on. If a spouse and children live in France a person will also probably be considered French tax resident even if they work abroad.
- France is the principal place of abode (lieu de séjour principal). This usually means more than 183 days in France in a calendar year. It does not have to be a continuous period of 183 days; this is a cumulative rule assessed over a French tax year (1 January to 31 December) and includes part days. Even if a foreigner spends less than 183 days in France, they may be tax resident if they have spent more time in France than in any other country.
- A person's principal activity is in France, for example, their occupation is in France (whether salaried or not); or their main income arises in France (whether salaried or not), unless they can show that such activity is purely incidental (à titre accessoire).
- France is the country of a person's most substantial assets (centre of economic interests). This means if France is the place of principal investments, or where assets are administered, or from where a larger part of income is drawn.
Note in particular that an individual does not have a choice; they either are, or are not, a French tax resident under the rules.
If a person is also simultaneously tax resident under the domestic rules of another country, then in order to come to a decision it will be necessary to look at the "tie-breaker" rules in the double tax treaty between the two countries, if one exists. These normally follow a particular pattern.
Information by Blevins Franks Tax Limited
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