I am having a difficult time understanding how much money I will have left over after all income taxes, social security, etc., etc.

The job is in Rillieux-la-Pape outside of Lyon where unfurnished apartments apparently rent for 300-400 euros per month.

I've found sites (like this one) that say income tax is 14% on income over 9,807. So, with 14% levied on the difference, that leaves me with 18,573 or 1,547 EUR per month.

BUT, am I going to have to pay more Social security taxes? And what about renter's tax (I've read something about that, but can really find the details).


In France there is a sharp distinction between a tax and a mandatory contribution to the social security system. Mandatory contributions (cotisations sociales) are withheld from your income and go to a bunch of ad hoc institutions managing the social security system (health insurance, retirement, unemployment benefits, etc.). Taxes, including income tax, are paid directly to the tax office (although there is a plan to have employers withhold them in the near future) and go to the state's budget. Work contracts and collective bargaining agreements always refer to the gross income, before paying the mandatory contributions.

So if 20,000 is the gross figure, you first need to use one of the many salaire net/salaire brut calculators you can find online. This will take care of the social security side of things. The amount left after paying that is what will be transferred to your bank account every month. It hasn't been taxed yet. What you have to do is plug this net income figure in an income tax simulator and make sure you keep that money to pay the taxes when they are due (you can ask the task office to make a monthly bank transfer but I don't think that's possible if you have never worked in France before).

There can still be some small payments for other things and some subtleties around how the CSG/CRDS interact with the income tax but it should give you a good idea of your actual income.

Furthermore, there is no "renter's tax" but a "taxe d'habitation" that everyone has to pay for their main residence (whether you own it, rent it or even live in it without paying anything). That's not directly related to your income and it does not really make sense to consider it in that way, it's more something to include as part of the costs of accommodation (along with utility bills, etc.), a bit like VAT is part of the costs of grocery shopping. This tax is being phased out but you will still have to pay most of it for 2018. The rates and amounts depends on where you live.

  • thanks, that's really helpful. and disappointing. the same job can get me 36000 gross in northern europe / scandinavia but i really wanted to work in France :( – Rillieux Jan 8 '18 at 9:28
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    @Poltavets How good is 36000 gross in Northern Europe? I only experienced them during brief visits but costs of life seems higher. That said, another way to look at it is that in France €20000 is not much more than a full-time minimum wage (about €18000 in 2018). I don't know what job this is but if it is full-time it is not an especially generous salary. – Gala Jan 8 '18 at 18:46
  • €36000 gross in Finland will apparently leave me with about €1300-1400 free per month after taxes and AFTER rent (of about €700), if I understand Finnish taxes correctly (see here: prosentti.vero.fi/VPL2018/Sivut/Henkilotiedot.aspx ). That's what I was hoping to get in France, but it seems impossible in my case. The employer won't budge above €20,000...I only learned about the social contributions today and that's a big chunk. The job is with a non-profit organization. – Rillieux Jan 8 '18 at 20:21
  • @Poltavets That's again a very confusing way to put it :) So €2000 net per month? That's about a third for taxes and contributions, a bit lower than France but not by much. My question was more about groceries, going out and everything else (including rent, €700 is not bad but in a small French town, you might be able to do better). – Gala Jan 8 '18 at 23:08
  • @ Gala hehe, well, that's how I look at these things. Net per month does not mean much to me until I factor in the cost of rent. For example, one place is offering me 1000 euro/ mo + a flat. Even that is better than this offer in france. it's really frustrating, as i want the job in france but no matter how i game the numbers i can't justify it. – Rillieux Jan 9 '18 at 7:46

Following @Gala's answer I looked at this social contribution calculator, which gave, for a gross yearly income of 20,000 euros, a net income of 15,400 [ie 1,283 per month].

The using the official calculator, I put in your gross income, 20,000, assumed you were coming to France alone, and got a tax of 664 euros. So total 14,736 euros left. About 1,228 euros per month, all told. That's not a lot. Remember that, at least the first year, you will not be able to pay your income tax quarterly, or monthly, but will have to wait a whole year – so you'll have, in hand, more money than you should, so remember to save 50 euros a month for that.

  • Wow, thanks. Yes, that really is on the low side. I may need to reconsider. – Rillieux Jan 8 '18 at 9:25
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    But that's not what I described in my answer! What goes into the income tax calculation is not the gross income, but the salaire net imposable, which is close to the net income (not exactly due to some special rules, especially regarding the CSG and CRDS). – Gala Jan 8 '18 at 18:43
  • Excellent advice in the second paragraph however, that's worth stressing again! – Gala Jan 8 '18 at 18:48
  • @Gala - so now I'm confused. How much am I going to get in my pocket after everything? Those forms are too complicated for me. Is the amount 1228euros not correct? Or correct? – Rillieux Jan 8 '18 at 20:23
  • @Poltavets The taxes are a bit lower than computed by dda, closer to €500. And if you owe less than about €1500, you don't pay at all (it's called a "décote"). So the correct amount would be €1283 or thereabouts. – Gala Jan 8 '18 at 23:15

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