Capital gains – Principles of taxation

Capital gains from the sale of securities and/or corporate rights are in principle subject to flat-rate taxation with the submission of gains to the PFU of 30% (of which 12.8% income tax and 17.2% social security contributions).

Taxation at the progressive scale of income tax has become the exception, this mode of taxation being applicable only on option (global option applying obligatorily to all movable income and capital gains from the sale of securities made by the taxpayer).

In the event of an option for taxation at the progressive scale of income tax, gains may benefit from a deduction for the period of ownership (reserved for securities acquired before 2018).

1. Taxable gains

Are taxable in the category of capital gains on securities (or more precisely capital gains from the sale of securities, company rights and similar securities), the proceeds (gains or losses) from the sale for consideration of securities and social rights carried out by taxpayers in the context of the management of their private assets:

  • listed and similar securities (stocks, bonds, shares in debt mutual funds, etc.),
  • social rights, shares and shares in companies (to with the exception of real estate companies subject to income tax, the sale of securities of which are taxable in the category of real estate capital gains),
  • certain unlisted securities: bonds, equity securities, government securities, negotiable loans issued by communities (public or),
  • UCI securities (FCP, SICAV or FCPR),
  • rights relating to these securities or securities.

By transfer for consideration, we mainly mean:

  • negotiations made on the stock exchange (on a French or foreign stock exchange),
  • transfers made between individuals (sales, contributions to companies, exchanges of securities, divisions other than inheritances).

Are also taxable in this category, gains or losses resulting from the closing of a PEA before the expiry of its 5th year (or in certain cases, beyond).

In addition, the losses recorded in the event of cancellation of securities occurring within the framework of a collective procedure of reorganization, transfer or judicial liquidation, generate a loss in value attributable to gains of the same nature.

2. Determination of the taxable capital

gain The net gain from a transfer is made up of the difference between:

  • the transfer price of the securities, net of the costs and taxes paid by the transferor;
  • and their actual acquisition price by the transferor or, in the event of acquisition free of charge, their value used to determine the transfer duties. This purchase price must be increased by acquisition costs (expert fees, registration fees, etc.).

These acquisition and transfer prices are determined taking into account any price variation clauses inserted in the deeds of transfer of securities.


In addition, the acquisition price must be reduced by the tax reduction obtained, where applicable, within the framework of the Madelin system (subscription to the capital of SMEs, FCPIs, FIPs, FIP OMs and FIP Corses ).

3. Offset of gains and losses

The amount of the net gain or net loss is determined by offsetting the gains and losses realized during the year.

This net gain (or this net loss) is then reduced (or increased) by the losses incurred during the previous years that remain to be charged.

Capital losses incurred during a given year can only be attributed to capital gains of the same type realized during the same year or the following 10 years.

If the compensation shows a net gain, the latter may be reduced by applying a proportional allowance for the holding period and/or a fixed allowance reserved for managers of SMEs selling their shares when they leave. retired.

The scope of these deductions is considerably reduced for disposals made since 2018 due to the reinstatement, from the same date, of the flat-rate taxation of these gains

. 4. Deductions

4.1. Deduction for executives retiring

SME executives selling their shares on the occasion of their retirement can benefit from a fixed deduction of €500,000.

This allowance applies regardless of the terms of taxation of the gain (progressive scale of income tax or PFU).

For disposals made since 2018, the fixed deduction can no longer be combined with the deduction for holding period.

Thus, when the gain relates to securities acquired before 2018 and is subject to the progressive scale of income tax, the taxpayer must choose between this fixed allowance or the allowance for holding period.

4.2. Deductions for holding period Deductions for holding

period only apply when the following 2 conditions are met simultaneously:

  • the securities sold must have been acquired before 2018,
  • The gain is taxed on the progressive scale of income tax (which assumes , for disposals made since 2018, that the taxpayer waives the flat-rate tax under the PFU).

There are 2 deduction mechanisms for holding period:

  • a general device, allowing to benefit from a deduction (of 65% maximum) for holding period, equal to:
    • 50% of their amount when the securities have been held between at least less than 2 years and less than 8 years,
    • 65% when the securities have been held for at least 8 years on the date of sale;
  • an enhanced reduction system, applicable to the sale of SME securities fulfilling certain conditions. The rate of the allowance for duration of ownership is then increased to:
    • 50% between 1 year and less than 4 years of ownership,
    • 65% between 4 years and less than 8 years of ownership,
    • 85% allowance from 8 years of detention.

5. Methods of taxation

5.1. Income

tax For disposals made since 2018, the principle is flat-rate taxation (12.8%) under the PFU, except for the option for the progressive scale of income tax.

If it is formulated, this option applies obligatorily to all the profits of transfers of the taxpayer, but also to its movable income (the option is known as global).

However, capital gains automatically placed as tax deferral in the event of reinvestment in a company controlled by the contributor are taxable:

  • for those made in 2012, not at the progressive scale of income tax but at the flat rate of 24% or 19% (pigeon regime),
  • for those carried out from 2013 to 2017, according to the average tax rate applicable to the taxpayer in the year of realization of the capital gain carried forward (and not the year of the deferral expires).

5.2. Social contributions

Capital gains also support social contributions at the overall rate of 17.2%.

When the gains have been taxed on the progressive scale of income tax, a fraction of the CSG paid on these gains (6.8 points since 2018) is deductible from taxable income.