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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all and thanks for all the wonderful information on this site! I like many others am working with my employer (Large US Tech Company with office in La Defense). They are not offering an "expat" package but a move package. I should mention I have been awaiting my Hungarian citizenship for over a year (any day now fingers crossed!) I need to figure out what I need my salary to be and living expenses. The hardest part is understanding what the reality of how much I will take home is!!

I am married with 2 children (3 and 8). Let's take an example of 100k euros plus car allowance. Employer will give about $30k to relocate us to Paris. Here are my questions (any help greatly appreciated!!)
1) Looked at apts and assume 3000 euros a month for 2 bed 1100 sq ft (100 sq m) in decent arrondisement - is that a good guess?
2) Is 100k euros a good amount to live comfortably (nice apt, 2 kids in private or catholic or immersion schools, etc) ?
3) What will I take home??? I know taxes are higher in France than any EU country I heard and it is impossible to say but ballpark 60% take home? What are all the charges like social charges (8% I think)? Do they factor in the "parts"=3 (two adults plus 2 kids) .. I think I also heard you get paid monthly in France - true?

Thanks for any help!!
 

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If you're offered a salary of 100K euros a year, jump at it! It's well above average for France and you should be able to live her quite comfortably, even in Paris.

But let's take your questions in turn:

I am married with 2 children (3 and 8). Let's take an example of 100k euros plus car allowance. Employer will give about $30k to relocate us to Paris. Here are my questions (any help greatly appreciated!!)
1) Looked at apts and assume 3000 euros a month for 2 bed 1100 sq ft (100 sq m) in decent arrondisement - is that a good guess?
That should do it, but you may also want to consider living outside the city - especially in the area to the west of Paris, which is very popular with expats and where you may also be able to have a house with a small garden.
2) Is 100k euros a good amount to live comfortably (nice apt, 2 kids in private or catholic or immersion schools, etc) ?
It's better than many in the Paris area have. You'll do fine.
3) What will I take home??? I know taxes are higher in France than any EU country I heard and it is impossible to say but ballpark 60% take home? What are all the charges like social charges (8% I think)? Do they factor in the "parts"=3 (two adults plus 2 kids) .. I think I also heard you get paid monthly in France - true?
As far as take-home pay is concerned, figure on about 25% being withheld for "cotisations" (social insurances - what would be considered "benefits" in the US - health, retirement plan, etc.). They don't withhold income taxes in France - you settle up the following year by making monthly or quarterly payments based on what your tax bill was for the prior year. Figure on paying your income taxes over a 10 month span each year.

Where French taxes get expensive is with the VAT (called TVA here) at 19.6% on nearly everything you buy. It's why prices here seem so much higher than in the US - usually it's mostly just the 19.6% added on for taxes. Then there is also the very high tax on gasoline and diesel fuel - we're at nearly $8.50 a gallon.

http://impots.gouv.fr./portal/deploiement/p1/fichedescriptive_1006/fichedescriptive_1006.pdf explains the French tax system (in English) and
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_soci.../Your social security rights in France_en.pdf is a pretty good explanation of the social security benefits and payments.

And yes, you are normally paid monthly.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Bev that was helpful - one follow up question. I dont know if I am getting a car allowance or a car. Either way does it make sense to ship my car to France (would there be taxes/any mods i would need to do/hassle to register) - 2004 Cayenne S or better just to lease a car there?

Also my wife is set on living in city center for the experience and I am in sales so i wont necessarily go to La Defense but the Chunnel or fly to rest of Europe. My question is will most or some apartments in Paris (1-6 arrondisements) have parking spaces or garage spaces included or are they always extra to rent - if so how much? Thanks for your help!!
 

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There are a couple of threads on here about shipping a car from the US to France. The overwhelming evidence seems to point to it being more hassle than it is worth.

http://www.expatforum.com/expats/fr...ng-france/41885-bringing-your-car-france.html

Net-net, it's expensive, and you have to bring the vehicle up to French standards, which often means replacing things like seatbelts, headlamps, other bits of the safety system. Parts may or may not be available due to different specs. In short, a real headache.

As far as the parking is concerned - no, you have to make separate arrangements for parking a car. Not sure what that will cost, but it isn't cheap. One of the perks of living in Paris is supposed to be doing without a car.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hello,
You'll probably pay around 35-40% tax between social security and income tax. There is also housing tax and TV tax, but these don't add up to too much.

Regarding rent in Paris, 3K€/month is OK, but it depends on the arrondissment and the size. In a decent area, that could be the minimum for 100m2 - it could easily be more.

Regarding the car - not sure about shipping your car over. I have also heard it is a major hassle. Probably easier to buy one here if you need to. Quite a few cayennes in Paris even with the gas prices. Your company will most likely give you a company car and not an allowance. I was told by my company that allowances are not legal in France, but I don't know all the details on that. French companies get a tax advantage for providing cars, and they also count it as part of the salary package.

You may find an apartment with parking, but it will most likely be a newer building. You can rent a space in the public garages for a resident rate and get your company to pay as part of your package. It runs about 250-300€/M at my garage.

Driver's license - If you don't already have it, try and get an exchangeable license before you come or there is a good chance you won't be able to drive legally in France after one year. Taking the driving exams can easily take 1-2 years in Paris. The waiting time for is 4-8 months for each exam even going through a driving school.

Good luck
 

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Aubrey raises a very good point about the driving licenses. And I'm told that officially, you need to have held your exchangeable driving license for at least a year before you come to France. (Like many things in France, it is sometimes possible to get around this - however, don't count on it.)

More details on this and other aspects of living in France on the US consulate's "Life in France" pages: France A - Z | Embassy of the United States Paris, France
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Sticking with this example, if one earned €100K in 2012, and s/he had withheld 25% for "cotisations" (social insurances - what would be considered "benefits" in the US - health, retirement plan, etc.), then the following spring (in 2013), s/he would get a tax bill for roughly €15-€20K? Is that right?

My rationale:
€100K gross
- €25K for cotisations (25%)
- €10-15K for taxes (10-15%)
= €60-65K take home pay

Being conservative, let's assume €60K take home. That equates to €5K per month, and the €3K/month for a decent apartment in Paris proper seems accurate, so that leaves you with €2K/month to spend on food & such. That is where the VAT kicks in and you feel more pain. Plan on most things in Paris costing about double what they do in the states (examples: €20 for a toilet paper holder stand at BHV, easily a $10 item at Target).




Hello,
You'll probably pay around 35-40% tax between social security and income tax. There is also housing tax and TV tax, but these don't add up to too much.

Regarding rent in Paris, 3K€/month is OK, but it depends on the arrondissment and the size. In a decent area, that could be the minimum for 100m2 - it could easily be more.

Regarding the car - not sure about shipping your car over. I have also heard it is a major hassle. Probably easier to buy one here if you need to. Quite a few cayennes in Paris even with the gas prices. Your company will most likely give you a company car and not an allowance. I was told by my company that allowances are not legal in France, but I don't know all the details on that. French companies get a tax advantage for providing cars, and they also count it as part of the salary package.

You may find an apartment with parking, but it will most likely be a newer building. You can rent a space in the public garages for a resident rate and get your company to pay as part of your package. It runs about 250-300€/M at my garage.

Driver's license - If you don't already have it, try and get an exchangeable license before you come or there is a good chance you won't be able to drive legally in France after one year. Taking the driving exams can easily take 1-2 years in Paris. The waiting time for is 4-8 months for each exam even going through a driving school.

Good luck
 

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Um, perhaps you're being a little "too" conservative here. Things in France aren't usually double what they cost in the US - more like 20 - 30% more, which is pretty much accounted for by the VAT. (OK, fuel for the car being the massive exception.)

If you want to buy your toilet roll holders at BHV, then yes, you're going to pay top euro. (Same applies if you shop at Bloomingdales in the US.) Household stuff like that, most folks buy at IKEA or Castorama or even at the hypermarkets (Carrefour, Auchan, Cora, etc.). Those are the "Target" or "WalMart" equivalents, even in the Paris area.

There are also mail-order and online alternatives - especially like Amazon (France, UK or Germany) which seems to sell just about anything these days, up to and including major household appliances.

It takes a while to learn how and where to shop for day to day stuff but you find the bargains and the good places to source certain kinds of items.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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