Income Tax: who are the taxable persons?

French income tax applies, in principle, to all income received by Taxable persons domiciled in France. But some taxpayers may be living outside of France. Moreover, some people are expressly exempt.

The tax is established at the level of the tax household.

1. Extent of taxation according to domicile

The obligation to contribute to public charges (in France) is more or less extensive according to the tax domicile of the person concerned:

  • persons domiciled in France (mainland and the 5 overseas departments): taxable on French and foreign income;
  • persons domiciled outside France: taxable only on French income.

2. Exemptions

Taxpayers do not have to pay income tax in 3 cases:

  • they are exempted from it because of their low taxable income:
    • either by simple application of the scale (case of taxpayers whose income is below the threshold of the 1st tax bracket at 14%),
    • either by application of the discount,
    • or when the total amount of income tax calculated, before charging any tax credit, is less than €61;
  • they are ambassadors, consuls, diplomatic or consular agents of foreign nationality, provided that the countries they represent grant similar advantages to French diplomatic and consular agents;
  • They are part of the staff of the delegation in France of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

3. Taxation at the level of the tax household – Family situation

Income tax is established at the level of the tax household and not at the level of each individual.

4. Change in family situation during the year

  • Marriage or conclusion of a PACS during the year: taxpayers have the choice between:
    • filing a single joint tax return (principle) for the entire year ,
    • or the separate taxation of their income over the whole year (at their option). If the spouses or partners cannot justify the determination of the amount of their respective share of the joint income, this income is divided equally between the 2 taxpayers.
  • Divorce or separation (including termination of a PACS): Taxpayers must, for the year of separation or divorce, file 2 separate declarations on which each must report:
    • ​ the returns to him,
    • as well as the personal income they received from the time of their change of situation. In the event that this share is not justified, the joint income is divided equally between the taxpayers.
  • Death of one of the spouses or partners: The year of death, the survivor must submit 2 declarations:
    • one for household income from January 1to the date of death.
    • and one for his personal income from the date of death until December 31 (for this tax, the family situation and responsibilities to be taken into account are those existing on January 1of the tax year or, in the event of increase in these during the year, as of December 31).
For more information

​Refer to the Basics of Income tax