FAQ - USA - French tax law
French tax law (filling, social contributions, foreign bank account, etc.)
1 - I am planning on moving to France, which taxes will I have to pay?
As a preliminary matter, it is important to remember that American citizens and residents (green card holders) remain taxable in the United States even if they live abroad. However, to avoid double taxation, the tax paid abroad on the same income is deductible from the US tax (foreign tax credit).
The French tax system is based mainly around five types of taxes (for more details please see www.impots.gouv.fr).
- income tax (Impôt sur le revenu, IR) including social contributions ("C.S.G"; "C.R.D.S");
- local taxes (real estate tax: property tax ("Taxe foncière"), occupant tax ("Taxe d’habitation"));
- the value-added tax ("Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée, TVA");
- the registration tax ("Droit de mutation / droit d’enregistrement") including inheritance and donations;
- the wealth tax ("Impot de solidarité sur la fortune, ISF").
2 - I am planning on moving to France and work for a company in France. When do I pay the French income tax?
For employed people, the C.S.G. and the C.R.D.S. are withheld from the wages. The French income tax is paid only the year following the perception of the income. Thus, income tax on year N wages is paid in year N+1 in three installments (February 15th; May 15th, the balance is due during the last months of the year) or in monthly payments (from January to October with regularization at the end of the year) based on the tax paid for the previous year N-1.
When there is no tax reference (new taxation or no taxation on the previous year), the tax is paid only at the time of the reception of the tax statement ("Avis d’impôt") of the year following the perception of the income.
Thus, a taxpayer who settled in France in January N, will have to file his first income tax return in May N+1, and pay the corresponding tax at the reception of the tax statement which he should receive during the end of the same year.
For employees or self-employed, CSG and CRDS are subjected to a withholding tax collected by agencies in charge of collecting social contributions.
3 - What are the C.S.G and the C.R.D.S?
Social contributions are added to the income tax on the income received by a resident of France. These social contributions include:
- The C.S.G. (Contribution Sociale Généralisée): 7.5 % of business and activity income, and 8.2 % on capital income (from estate or financial).
- The C.R.D.S. (Contribution pour le Remboursement de la Dette Sociale): 0.5 %.
- The social Contribution (Contribution Sociale): 4.5 % (plus an additional contribution of 0.3 % on capital income).
- The Solidarity withdrawal (Prélèvement de solidarité): 2 % on capital income submitted to the C.S.G.
WARNING: Rental incomes, (starting January 1st 2012) and capital gains on real estate properties (realized on or after August 17th 2012), received by individuals who are non-resident of France, are from now on subject to all social contributions.
4 - Where can I get an income tax return?
If you were subject to income tax the previous year, you will automatically receive an income tax return (2042) in May. Otherwise, you can get this document and its attachments :
- by downloading the forms from the site of the Ministry of Finances: https://www.impots.gouv.fr
- if you live in France and you are filing for the first time, you can get the tax return at the tax office (Hotel des Finances publiques) near your domicile.
5 - When and where do I have to deposit my income tax return (2042) ?
For taxpayers residing in France, the last day of filing depends on the department you live in. You have to mail your return to the tax center (Hotel des Finances publiques) close to your domicile or to the tax center where you were taxed the previous year.
Note: in France, you do not compute the tax when you file the return, the administration does it for you. You do not have to mail any payment with the return. You will receive a statement at the end of the year (“avis d’imposition”).
For taxpayers residing in North America, your French taxable income from 2016 should be reported to the French tax administration before May 17th 2017 (paper filing) or May 23rd 2017 (online filing).
The tax returns must be mailed to
Service des impôts des particuliers Non-Résidents (SIPNR)
10 rue du Centre
93465 NOISY LE GRAND
6 - I do not have a bank account in France. How can I pay the tax I owe in France?
Your mandatory payment along with the reference slip to be detached from the tax assessment form must reach the "Trésorerie de Paris des Non-Résidents" before the payment deadline.
If you do not have the possibility to send a check in Euros, you can write a check in dollars to the order of "French Government" and mail it to the same place as for checks in Euros. The exchange rate provided by the Paymaster General of the Embassy of France will be used for the conversion of the Euros into Dollars of your country.
7 – I am a resident of France (or the United States) for tax purposes and I have a foreign bank account. Do I have to report it?
In regards to France :
Pursuant to article 1649 A (2nd al.) of the French Tax Code, people domiciled or established in France are required to report, along with their tax returns, bank accounts opened, used or closed abroad during the reporting year (year N).
If you are not a resident of France for tax purposes, you do not have to report your foreign bank accounts.
Bank accounts must be reported on tax form 3916.
In regards to the United States :
Individuals who are tax resident in the United States and hold financial assets abroad may have to:
a) subscribe online a tax form called "FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts". This form must be filed if the taxpayer disposes of the foreign accounts and the aggregate value of the balance of its accounts at any time of year, exceeded $ 10 000;
b) attach to their annual tax return schedule 8938 ("Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets"). This schedule must be filed if the taxpayer holds financial assets abroad whose total value exceeds $ 50 000 on the last day of the year and has reached the threshold of $ 75 000 at any time during the year.
8 – I am leaving France. Am I subject to a particular tax?
Subject to compliance with certain conditions, the transfer by a taxpayer of his residence outside of France results to:
- immediate taxation of unrealized capital gains;
- immediate taxation of debts emanating from an earnout;
- and immediate taxation of capital gains tax deferral.
The existing conditions include having been fiscally domiciled in France for at least six of the ten years preceding the residence transfer outside of France.
Some securities are excluded from the provisions of the "exit tax."
As of January 1st 2013, the unrealized gains are in principle subject to the progressive rate of income tax. Social charges also apply (overall rate of 15.5% since January 1st 2012).
Suspension of payment is granted automatically to the taxpayer when he transfers his tax residence to a member State of the European Union or to another State that is part of the Agreement of the European Economic Area. In other cases, the suspension of payment is optional and must be specifically requested by the taxpayer. Collateralization may be requested for the taxpayer to benefit from the suspension of payment.
For more information, please read the instructions for tax form 2074-ETD downloadable on the French tax administration’s website here
9 – I am looking for a French tax form. Where can I find it ?
All French tax forms are downloadable on the French tax administration’s website here