The tax includes all taxes, fees, charges, contributions and social contributions that the French government from subjecting individuals and legal French or living in France. The total of all types of taxes and social contributions represents about 45% of gross domestic product (GDP). For a market economy, this level is high compared with levels in developed countries comparable.

The French administration uses the concept of tax burden, defined by the OECD , representing 44% of GDP. This field excludes all taxes and social security contributions are compulsory, but at least theoretically, related to consideration. The various forms of taxation in France are of great diversity, which complicates efforts to define and categorize.

The charges do not have a character all tax. Thus, the charges for services rendered, taken in connection with the use of a service, beyond the tax law.

 Social security contributions under the law of the Social Security. The concept of compulsory levies, although regarded by specialists as yet incomplete, encompasses a broader scope within the general government revenue and is used to compare the weight of states in the economy.


The tax is a compulsory levy made by way of authority by the state and territorial governments on resource persons resident (that is to say living on their territory or with interests) to be allocated to services Utility.

Tax is a levy with a cash return, that is to say the use of a service or public work. But this consideration is secondary in its definition, which distinguishes it from the charge. Thus, and one hand, there can be no proportionality between the amount claimed and the service rendered. On the other hand, the tax is payable even if the debtor makes no use of service.

Taxes and fees are the ” taxes of all kinds ” mentioned in Article 34 of the Constitution, under which the legislature has exclusive jurisdiction to determine their base rates, and recovery procedure. We can describe the tax field as the set of all taxes, duties or taxes that fall under Article 34 and thus the legislative authority. The jurisprudence of the Constitutional Council plays an important role in defining this field. In exceptional circumstances, fees may be levied for the benefit of any private persons charged with a public service remit.


The fee is charged to the revenue opportunity for a service rendered to the user. Unlike the tax, the fee is charged only if the user takes advantage of effective service and if some proportionality between the amount claimed and the service rendered. As such, it is part of government non-tax revenue and is set in regard to the State, by regulations (Article 37 of the Constitution). The organic law on finance laws, however, provides that the decree establishing the fee should be ” a ratification in the next budget law relating to that year ” .


This type of levy was abolished in 2004. The parafiscal tax was defined by a notice of the State Council as compulsory levies, receiving the assignment, established by authority, usually for purposes of economic, professional or social. They could be perceived to benefit only ” a legal person under public or private other than the State, local authorities and public administrative establishments ” .

Established by regulation, they thereby enabling the funding of public action in specified areas, through an agency, private or public, a mission of public service. After their removal, they were frequently replaced by taxes ordinary tax.


The social security contribution is distinguished from tax in that it has a counterpart and is assigned to the financing of social protection. Since the reform of social security funding by the state, which resulted in an organic law governing the annual vote of the finance laws of Social Security, the estimated revenue for Social Security are being a vote in Parliament (but not a permit). Social contributions are established and collected under conditions set by the Social Security bodies.

Conversely, all samples used to finance social protection are not contributions. In particular, the CSG is part of taxes of all kinds, whose jurisdiction falls within the legislature.

Compulsory levies – TAX BURDEN

The definition of tax burden by the OECD is larger than the tax field: it means compulsory payments made without consideration for the benefit of government. According to the Council of compulsory levies, three criteria are required for this qualification cumulatively:

– it must be of actual disbursements ;
– and involuntary (including without immediate compensation);
– recipients must be government.

Social security contributions are explicitly included by the OECD in its statistics on tax burden, provided they are paid to public authorities or similar and although they are collected for a specific purpose (social protection) and that they are accompanied by compensatory indirect (social benefits or coverage of a risk). Some contributions, even mandatory, are excluded when paid to private organizations that are not controlled by government.

The tax burden thus include taxes, but also some non-tax revenues of the State (as the product paid by the French games ) and actual social contributions. Some taxes are excluded because they correspond to the remuneration of a specific service, the amount being related to the latter: the transaction is then processed into purchase of commercial service.

Thus, contrary to appearances, the concept of compulsory levies does not overlap entirely the distinction between taxes and charges. For example, the fee for garbage collection, taken with the housing tax, a tax is considered by the Council of State.