9. French Bank Savings Accounts

  1. European Tax Directive
  2. Regulated Savings Accounts
  3. Standard Savings Accounts
  4. Home Buyers Savings Accounts

9.3. Standard French Bank Savings Accounts

These are a range of standard savings deposit accounts offered by all the banks in France and available to residents and non-residents alike.

If offered through La Banque Postale and Caisse d’Epargne the accounts are known as Livret B. If offered by the main banks they are known as compte sur livret. They are generally instant access accounts.

If the deposit account is held for a specific period, during which time they are not accessible, then the account is known as a compte à terme. These accounts normally have a product name given to them, e.g. Gamme varius, Fidelis.

The interest rates are not regulated and there is no maximum deposit, although there may be a minimum level of deposit.

The banks are regularly posting promotional offers (often referred to as Super Livrets) at rates of interest in excess of the main average rates. The most aggressive of these are the on-line banks.

In all cases you will find that the higher rate of interest is only available for a limited period, and there are likely to be set up fees.

You are liable to income tax and social charges on interest earned.

Since January 2018 a single rate tax applies, called the Prélèvement Forfaitaire Unique – PFU.

Imposition of the tax is a uniform and fixed rate of 30%, whatever the level of your income. So, unlike income tax, it is not progressive.

The tax is actually made made up of two components:

Income tax at the rate of 12.8%
Social charges at the rate of 17.2%. 

As previously incurred with savings and investment income, there is a deduction at source (prélèvement fiscal) made by your bank.

However, if your net taxable income in the previous tax year was no greater than €25,000 for a single person or €50,000 for a couple you can request exemption from the 12.8% income tax element of the prélèvement fiscal. You need to do so before 30th Nov of the year preceding payment of the interest.

If you do not consider you benefit from the 30% fixed rate, you have the possibility to later opt to be taxed using the standard income tax bands, on the basis of your marginal rate of tax. The option for using the income tax scale rates applies at the time you make your income tax declaration.

Non-residents are not liable for such charges on interest earned.

You can read about the taxation of such income in our Guide to Taxation of Savings and Investment Income.

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