2019 has brought a number of changes to the French tax system. Below is a summary of the principal changes affecting personal taxation.
French Tax Changes 2019
By Sue Regan
This article is published on: 31st January 2019
INCOME TAX (Impôt sur le Revenu)
There has been no change to the rates of income tax of the barème scale, but the tax bands have been increased as follows:
|Up to €9,964
|€9,965 to €27,519
|€27,520 to €73,779
|€73,780 to €156,244
|€156,245 and over
PAYE (Prélèvement à la Source)
PAYE has been introduced in France with effect from 1st January 2019.
The types of income subject to PAYE include:
- Income from employment
- Retirement income, including UK private and State pensions, but excluding certain pensions where tax is already deducted at source, such as UK Civil Service pensions
- Rental income, including that from French properties owned by people who are not resident in France.
For French source income, the employer or pension provider will deduct the tax at source.
Clearly, where income is generated from outside of France there can be no deduction at source by the French authorities. This means that many expatriates living in France will be subject to a monthly withholding tax on their income. Therefore, starting in January 2019, the tax authorities will collect a sum equal to 1/12th of the tax paid in 2018 (based on income declared for 2017).
Excluded from PAYE is investment income, such as bank interest, dividends, capital gains and gains from life assurance policies.
New residents of France who have not yet submitted a French tax return, will have the option of paying a sum ‘on account’, or be taxed in May 2020, following submission of their first tax return.
Everyone will still be required to submit a French tax return in the May of the following year. Thereafter, the final assessment of tax liability will be carried out, and you will either receive a tax refund or be required to pay any additional tax due, over a four-month period.
If you do not currently pay any income tax, you will not be required to pay provisional monthly payments. Similarly, if you anticipate a significant change to your income during the course of the year you can request that the tax authority alter your tax code. However, if you do so, and your income is 10% greater than advised, you could face a tax penalty of at least 10%.
REFORM OF SOCIAL CHARGES (Prélèvements Sociaux)
Some changes have been introduced to certain social charges, which is good news for some taxpayers.
The main rates for social charges remain the same as for 2018, i.e.:
|Source of income
|Investment and property rental
Social Charges on Pension Income
The exemption from social charges on pension income still applies if you hold the EU S1 Certificate or if France is not responsible for the cost of your healthcare.
However, those pensioners who do not satisfy the exemption conditions above, but whose pension income is less than €2,000 per month (or €3,000 for a couple), will now pay a lower rate of 7.4% on pension income.
Social Charges on Investment Income and Capital Gains
From 1st January 2019, individuals covered under the health care system of another EU or EEA country are no longer subject to the existing rate of 17.2% on investment income or capital gains. Instead they will now pay a new flat rate of 7.5%. This new flat rate is known as the ‘Prélèvement de Solidarité’ and represents a saving of 9.7%. It applies to investment income, such as property rentals, bank interest, dividends and withdrawals from ‘assurance vie’ policies, and capital gains realised by both residents and non-residents of France.
In summary, taxpayers can benefit from the new 7.5% rate on investment income if:
- They hold the EU S1 Certificate
- They are a non-resident of France earning French source income (i.e. rental income, capital gains on the sale of a French property, etc) and are covered by the health system of another EU or EEA country
There are no changes to ‘assurance vie’ apart from the social charges reform detailed above which will benefit some policyholders.
For policies held for more than eight years, the annual allowance remains at €4,600 for individuals and €9,200 for married/PACS couples.
This outline is provided for information purposes only based on our understanding of current French tax law. It does not constitute advice or a recommendation from The Spectrum IFA Group to take any particular action to mitigate the effects of any potential changes in French tax legislation.
If you would like to discuss how these changes may affect you, please do not hesitate to contact your local Spectrum IFA Group adviser.