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Can anyone help me with French income tax? My wife and I are retired (both over 65). I'm a UK citizen living with my wife in the USA. She has never lived in the UK. We are planning a move to Brittany, France. We have no dependants.

Our annual gross income is 61,700 euros at present exchange rates (my wife's contribution is 42,700 euros. Mine is 20,000 euros). We will have no mortgage payments. How much income tax will we pay on that sum (I'm only interested in income tax, plus other annual taxes i.e. social security? but not property taxes)

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A simulation for a married couple having 42700 € + 20000 € retirement pension income with no other mentions lead to a 6420 € income tax (see http://www3.finances.gouv.fr/calcul_impot/2015/simplifie/index.htm).

That does not take into account social security, as I don't know whether this is mandatory for a foreigner resident in france.

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As a complement to @audionuma's answer, note that in France “social security” contributions are traditionally collected on wages, not on income generally, with a few special rules for students, freelancers (“travailleurs indépendants”) and the like. Consequently, pensioners generally do not pay any.

There are a few exceptions, most notably the CSG and CRDS, created in the 1990s specifically to have a broader base than wages. Unlike regular contributions, they do not open any entitlements (“droits”) to health insurance coverage but they do apply to foreign pensions, which means that expats in your situation have to pay them in any case.

I am not sure of all the details but you should expect to pay something like 7% of your before-tax income (to make everything more complicated, some – but not all – of it is deducted from your income before computing your income tax). That would be about €4000, on top of the €6500 in income tax.

  • I guess my only concern is whether, after paying all this tax, a retired couple with no mortgage can live, run a car, and be able to pay all the household bills in France on an annual income of around 50,000 euros? – John G Smith Mar 16 '15 at 21:15
  • @JohnGSmith I guess it depends on the life you are used to and how you want to live. As a quick check, median household income in France is €19,700, the ninth decile was €37,400 in 2012. The numbers are more-or-less the same when looking only at retirees so €50,000 would definitely be enough to pay household bills and live a comfortable life by French standards… – Gala Mar 17 '15 at 21:54
  • (One difference is that the “revenu disponible” used for these statistics is a net figure after paying income taxes and CSG/CRDS – discussed in my answer – but also the taxe d'habitation – which we haven't discussed). – Gala Mar 17 '15 at 21:54
  • I understand tax d'habitation and tax fonciere on a 100,000 euros house in Brittany would be relatively low - combined, about 750 euros/year? – John G Smith Mar 18 '15 at 13:49
  • @JohnGSmith Sounds about right, I mostly mentioned it for completeness's sake. But to be honest, I don't fully understand how those taxes are computed and the exact amount depends not only on the region but also on the département and even on the municipality. The confusing thing is that beyond the different tax rates between municipalities, there are also difference in the tax base. It depends on the rental market in the 1970s and has never been fully reevaluated, which is why it's not necessarily related to current property prices in a straightforward way. – Gala Mar 18 '15 at 14:26

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