Working in Europe | Taxation/salaries | France

The need for taxation is asserted in article 13 of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: "For the maintenance of the public force, and for administrative expenses, a general tax is indispensable; it must be equally redistributed among all citizens, in proportion to their ability to pay".

A new PAYE tax system was introduced in France on 1st January 2019. The aim of the new withholding tax (Prélèvement à la source) is to eliminate the one-year gap between the collection of income and the payment of tax on this income. This means that every month income tax is now deducted from your salary. However, you are still required in 2019 to file an income tax return for the income you received in 2018. The income tax return is also used to calculate the Occupiers French property tax (Taxe d’habitation) that you have to pay if you own or rent the accommodation where you live and to establish if you are required to pay the Television Licence Fee (Contribution à l’audiovisuel public).


Deadlines for filing the 2018 Income Tax Return :

The deadline for online declaration varies according to your region:

  • zone 1 (i.e. departments 01 to 19) 21st May 2019 at midnight 
  • zone 2 (i.e. departments 20 to 49) 28th May 2019 at midnight
  • zone 3 (i.e departments 50 to 976) 4th June at midnight


It is now compulsory to declare online but there are some exceptions. For instance, if you have not previously filed a French income tax return, you can download a paper version on

The deadline for submitting paper tax returns is 16th May 2019.


Who should declare ? There are several circumstances under which you have to send a tax declaration:

  • you received an income form a French source
  • you have a professional activity, salaried or not, unless it is a minor activity
  • France is your country of residence (for more than 183 days a year)


Filing a tax declaration does not necessarily imply that an income tax has to be paid.

France signed a lot of fiscal agreements with different countries to resolve special cases and/or avoid double taxation. Many foreign researchers are concerned by these fiscal conventions.

If you live in France and have received income in 2018, you are required to submit a tax return.


Failing to do so or submitting a late tax return will incur sanctions. There are also penalties for late filing.


For more information on « le prélèvement à la source »: