5. Calculating Your French Income Tax Liability

  1. Composition of Your Household
  2. Income Tax Rates
  3. Income Tax Allowances
  4. Income Tax Credits

5.2. French Income Tax Rates

The tax rates and bands for 2016 (for income earned in 2015) applicable to each ‘part’ in a household are set out below.

The rates are applied on a sliced basis so that each household 'part’ of the income is charged on a progressive basis. Thus, if a couple have net income of €30,000 in the year there are two 'parts' of €15,000, with each part taxed using the scale rates.

There are five tax rates and bands, on net taxable income, as follows:

Income Share Tax Rate
Up to €9,700 0%
Between €9,701 - €26,791 14%
Between €26,792 - €71,826 30%
Between €71,827 - €152,108 41%
Above €151,108 45%

It is important to point out that these tables do not mean that if your income is, say, €30,000, it will all be charged at the rate of 14%. These rates apply to each fractional slice of income for each part of the household.

Example: Assume a household of two adults on a joint net taxable income of €30,000. In the first place their income is divided into two parts of €15,000. Each part is then be taxed on a fractional basis using the tax bands. The first €9,700 of each part is zero rated, and the remainder for each part then charged at 14%. The tax payable by each is then multiplied by two to give the total tax payable.

In practice, only around 14% households in France pay any income at the next rate of 30% and less than 1% pay at the rate of 45%.

We show below the income levels for 2013, for income earned in 2012, that triggers liability to French income tax for different types of household. If your income is below these figures, then you will not be liable to French income tax. We will publish more up-to-date figures in 2016.

In the meantime, you can refer to French Income Tax Payable in 2015 for a summary of what what a couple might expect to pay.

The figures given below are shown by marital status and age, by household size, and type of income.

For those on a salary or pension the gross income is shown; for those whose income comes from business earnings taxed through the personal income tax system, the figures are the net profits after expenses. This is because there is an allowance of 10% against salaried or pension income.

The tables also take account of the additional tax allowance for those 65+ (see next page) and the fact that if you are liable to less than €61 in income tax and social charges you are relieved of payment.

In the case of a couple where one is under 65 years of age and the other at least 65 years of age, the couple will be assessed as if both are at least 65 years of age, thereby granting more generous tax treatment.

If you have not seen our other pages, then as well as your liability to income tax you also need to consider your liability to the income tax by another name, that of the social security contributions, which you can read about at Social Security Contributions in France.

Single, Widowed, or Divorced/Separated - Under 65 Years

Household Size Salaried/Pension Business Professional
1 12,138 13,487
1.5 15,486 17,218
2 18,477 20,530
2.5 21,549 23,843
3 24,440 27,156
3.5 27,422 30,469
4 30,403 33,181

Single, Widowed, or Divorced/Separated - 65+ Years

Household Size Salaried/Pension Business Professional
1 13,294 14,771
1.5 16,652 18,502
2 19,633 21,814
2.5 22,615 25,128
3 24,440 27,156
3.5 27,422 30,469
4 30,403 33,781

Married Persons - Under 65 Years

Household Size Salaried/Pension Business Professional
2 18,477 20,530
2.5 21,459 23,843
3 24,440 27,156
3.5 27,422 30,469
4 30,403 33,781

Married Persons - 65+ Years

Household Size Salaried/Pension Business Professional
2 20,789 23,009
2.5 22,615 25,128
3 24,440 27,156
3.5 27,422 30,469
Source: SNUI

If you have a serious disability and you are under 65 years of age, then your tax position is slightly more generous than the figures shown above. You can read more in our section on Income Tax Allowances..

In the case of a married couple, where one of the spouses is under 65 years of age, but the other at least 65 years, then the couple are treated for tax purposes as though they were both 65+. The same principle applies where one of the spouses has a serious disability.

If your income is higher than any of the threshold figures in the table, but you were entitled to an income tax credit (say, for energy conservation works), then the value of the credit would be set against the amount of tax for which you were liable. Even if you were liable to pay no income tax, then a tax credit would earn you a cheque from the French taxman!

In addition, a discount mechanism (décote fiscal) operates for those who pay little by way of income tax.

So for 2016 (for income earned in 2015) if you are nominally liable to pay tax of less than €1,553 (single person) or €2,570 (couple), a reduction in income tax is granted to you on a formula basis that lowers the actual amount you would be required to pay.

The formula for the reduction is characteristically complex, being the difference between 75% of the tax limit threshold above, and 75% of your notional tax charge. The reduction normally works out at a few hundred euros.

Contribution Exceptionnelle sur les Hauts Revenus

In addition to the basic rates of income tax those fortunate few with a taxable income of upwards of €250,000 pa are liable for a special tax called contribution exceptionnelle sur les hauts revenus.

This tax is at the rate of 3% on income up to €500,000, and at the rate of 4% on income above €500,000.

Married couples and those in a civil partnership are exempt up to €500,000, when they then become liable at the rate of 3% to €1m, and 4% above this figure.

The tax is imposed on net income, after determination of the tax liability under the standard scale rates.

If you would like to receive regular information on French taxes, French property ownership and living in France, then you can register to receive free of charge each month our popular Newsletter..

Next: French Tax Allowances

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