Your stay in France might engender certain tax obligations. You will be principally concerned by:
- the income tax (impôt sur le revenu),
- the social contributions
- the housing tax (taxe d’habitation) & TV licence fee (redevance audiovisuelle)
In France, income tax is not directly deducted from one’s salary. Each year, you must declare all of your income earned during the previous year (N-1), if you received any payment from French institutions or organisations. This declaration concerns all sources of income paid in France or abroad during the year N-1.
You must declare your income, even if you are not subject to taxation. The declaration must be completed in April/May. This obligation concerns all PhD students and scientists having received income from a French institution or organisation during the year N-1, as well as their spouses, even if they have since moved.
Declaring your income
If you were tax resident in France during the applicable year, you may be subjet to taxation in France.
You will be tax resident in France, under Article 4B of the Code Général des Impôts (CGI) if one or some of the following three conditions apply:
- It is considered you have your main home in France (generally if you spend 183 days per calendar year in France then you are deemed to be resident);
- You carry on a professional activity in France, either self-employed or as an employee;
- Your centre of economic interests is in France, e.g. investments, business.
To file your first declaration, you must go to the public finances centre of your place of residence (service des particuliers for private individuals) to request a formulaire de déclaration des revenus (income declaration form), or download this form via the tax service website. After completing this form, you will have to drop it off at the public finances centre, or send it in by post. Agents at the public finances centre can help you fill in your income declaration if you have all the necessary documents (pay slips, etc.). The following years, your declaration may be filed online.
In August/September, you will receive an avis d'imposition (tax notice) by post, indicating any tax amount due, as well as the associated payment conditions. This document should be kept in your archives, as it proves that you declared your income.
For any questions regarding your income declaration, please contact the public finances centre of your place of residence (service des particuliers for private individuals).
You can also calculate an estimated income tax amount on the tax office website.
The tax calculation takes into account the family situation, in other words the tax household shares.
Source : n°2041 ALK tax office Cerfa form
Bilateral tax treaties
Certain bilateral tax treaties signed between France and other countries include specific measures for “researchers” and/or “teacher-researchers”, with the aim of avoiding double taxations. These agreements also occasionally establish tax exemptions for scientists. To consult these tax treaties, visit the website of the French tax office or the website of the tax office of your prior tax residence country.
You can also contact your home country tax office or the tax office when you had your last fiscal residency to obtain the relevant agreement in your mother tongue.
If a bilateral tax treaty applies to you, we strongly recommend that you print it out and that you visit the public finances centre to fill out your income declaration with the help of a tax officer, pointing out the articles of the bilateral agreement that concern you.
The Social contributions
In contrast to most European countries, where the social security system is financed through general taxation, the system in France is funded through social security contributions.
Therefore, in addition to income tax, there are separate social security contributions and social charges that are payable by all residents in France and directly deducted to their salary. Income tax is charged after most social security contributions have been deducted.
The social charges do not generate an entitlement to social security benefits, although they go towards funding health care, unemployement benefits, retirement... in France.
the housing tax and the TV licence fee
Do you occupy a lodging on 1 January? Then the taxe d’habitation (“housing tax”) concerns you. The amount of this tax varies according to your situation, your income and your lodging’s characteristics (floor area, etc.). Contact the owner of your lodging or the rental property agency for your tax amount.
Even if you have since moved abroad, the housing tax must be paid for the lodging that you occupied in France on 1 January. You will be sent a tax notice in September by post to your residence or to the address that you provided to the tax administration.
The housing tax also includes the redevance audiovisuelle (TV licence fee). This specific tax must be paid if you are subject to the housing tax and if you own a television or some other device allowing TV reception. For your information: in 2016, this audiovisual tax was set at €138.