Guide to French Income Tax

3. Liability to French Income Tax

  1. Who Pays Taxes in France?
  2. Are you Resident or Non-Resident?
  3. What is your Fiscal Household?
  4. What Income is Taxed in France?

3.3. Your 'Fiscal Household'

Broadly speaking, if you are resident in France French income tax is levied on the total income of the whole household.

Accordingly, if there are a number of persons in the household who receive an income, then this income forms part of the total taxable household income.

In order to determine the tax payable, the income of the household is divided by the number of 'parts' (or shares) that comprise the household. The notional income of each 'part' is then assessed for tax using the rates applicable.

A couple would constitute two parts, while a couple with a dependant child would equate to 2.5. parts.

In France, your 'taxable household' is called your foyer fiscal, a term you will come across regularly in relation to your tax affairs.

Although a household need submit only one tax return, there are options available to children who may be 18 years, as well as those under 18 earning an income.

If any of your children earn a income there may be a tax advantage in them making their own tax declaration, outside of the foyer fiscal. If you later find out you did not make the best choice you can ask the tax authority to do a recalculation.

However, a wage received by a pupil, or student under 26 years of age is exempt from income tax up to around €5,000pa. An apprentice is also exempt from income tax up to the level of the annual minimum wage, around €20,000 (2023)

Unmarried couples are treated the same as married couples, provided they have entered into a civil partnership, whether in France (called a Pacte Civile de Solidarité - PACS) or in their home country.

A civil partnership gives much of the status, and many of the rights and obligations, of married couples.

If you live as an unmarried couple with no civil partnership then you are each required to complete a tax return.

If, during the year, you become married or separated you can opt to make one or two tax declarations.

In the event of the death of one person in a marriage two tax declarations need to be made covering the periods before and after death.

Next: Your Taxable Income

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