France

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Social Security and Taxation in France

Expats moving to France will have to pay income tax and social security contributions, but can also benefit from tax deductions and financial help. In case of illness or unemployment, they are usually entitled to support from social security. If they retire in France, they may also receive a French pension.

It’s often said that France imposes a huge tax burden on its residents, locals and expats alike. In fact, this mostly affects top earners and those with a considerable personal fortune, who may have to pay up to 75% of their annual revenues in income and wealth taxes. For those with an average income, taxes are far more moderate. However, some of their gross income will be automatically deducted for social security contributions. Filing your taxes in France can be difficult: you may even be fined for handing in your tax return late! Even if you decide to hire a conseiller fiscal (professional tax accountant), it helps to be familiar with the basics, such as fiscal residency, taxable income sources, common tax reductions, tax brackets and the “family co-efficient”, and more.

A Safety Net for Sick Employees and the Unemployed

Employees working in the private sector are normally entitled to paid sick leave: most of them not only receive 50% of their gross income in benefits from their healthcare provider, but their employer will top this up to at least 90% of their previous earnings. Even if you have come to France for work-related reasons but end up losing your job, that’s no reason to start panicking! You are entitled to unemployment benefits from the Assurance chômage (unemployment insurance) to support yourself during the job search. If your residence permit is tied to your work, you generally have at least six to twelve months to find new employment.

Pension Planning for Expats in France

No matter which country you are moving to — you should go over all your retirement plans beforehand. If you are planning to possibly stay in France forever, you will eventually become part of the French pension system. Regardless of nationality, all those who have lived in France for ten or more years are entitled to a means-tested allowance for the elderly once they reach the age of 65. However, relying only on such allowances — the bare minimum for retirees — is probably not part of anyone’s ideal retirement. Fortunately, long-term expats who retire in France, nationals of EU member states, and expats from countries with social security agreements can benefit from the regular pension system — the first will be treated just like French retirees; the latter profit from a pension harmonization scheme with their home country.
Anna Maria Rossi
"The InterNations forums helped me find information that I needed when I first moved to Tunis."
Sven Baudach
"With all of the information that InterNations provides at your fingertips, it's easy to understand why so many of us are grateful for this fantastic website."

Our Global Partners

France Guide Topics