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Hi there,

I've gotten a verbal offer and am in the process of evaluating two jobs, one that would keep me in the UK, and one that would have me move to Paris.

I'm having a tough time getting my head around a lot of the information out there, but the main thing is, how much money do I take home from a paycheck. I found this Salary tax calculator, but despite a fairly good skill with French, I'm having a tough time believing what it is telling me. For a salary of 90k EUR per year, which is in the ballpark of what I expect to be offered, it is showing a figure titled: Impôt sur les revenus of 11485 EUR. This seems awfully low. I do get that you actually do report and then pay taxes the following year, but is this right? Can I really expect to take home around 78k EUR of this salary range?

Then, of course, the next question: how much do I set aside.

I've also heard of some trick that all French do at a certain time to make their income, or bank account appear smaller in order to pay a lower tax rate each year.

This sounds all too much like the complicated bizarre tax code of the U.S. that I left behind when we moved to the UK. Is there a "Comment faire pour vivre en France pour les nuls" book?
 

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If there is a "Vivre en France pour les nuls" book, I think one of us is going to have to write it!

As far as "take home" pay is concerned, the general rule of thumb is simple - you have about 20 - 25% of your salary held back to pay for social insurances (cotisations). There is no PAYE scheme in France, though they periodically propose such a thing - and normally forget about it a couple weeks later. You won't have to pay any of that tax until about September of the year following - and even then, you pay it in installments over a period of a few months.

Income tax is actually fairly low in France, all things considered. It depends on lots of things, including how large a family you have. If it's just you on that 90K a year, then 11,485 sounds low for taxes. But if you're married with a couple of kids, it's probably spot on.

Actually, the French tax system is one of declaration. You don't calculate anything yourself, though there are (of course) computer programs you can buy to help you figure out which amount goes in which box on the form, and then it will do an estimate of what your ultimate tax bill should be. The tax code is pretty bizarre and complicated, but no where near as much so as the US tax code. Just remember that the French actually depend far more on the VAT for running the government than on the income tax on individuals.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hi,
You should clarify whether the sum you were quoted was before or after deduction of social contributions--the french have a habit of quoting "net" salaries, meaning social charges (taken at source ) have been deducted, but income tax may have to be paid on what they quote as "net". If your offer is "net" of social contributions then it is a good one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Bev, Parsnips,

The calculation was based on myself, with wife and one child. Just to clarify PAYE is that pay as you earn?

As for the offer, it is not firm yet, and it is from an American company, so I can all but guarantee they are thinking of the gross salary, but I'll ask to clarify when the official offer is made.

Also, good to know about the VAT being a big part of the tax burden. That makes more sense.

Peter
 

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Thanks Bev, Parsnips,

The calculation was based on myself, with wife and one child. Just to clarify PAYE is that pay as you earn?

As for the offer, it is not firm yet, and it is from an American company, so I can all but guarantee they are thinking of the gross salary, but I'll ask to clarify when the official offer is made.

Also, good to know about the VAT being a big part of the tax burden. That makes more sense.

Peter
Whoops, sorry - for whatever reason I assumed you were British. PAYE used to be Pay As You Earn, but I hear they have another acronym for it these days. Basically I'm talking about withholdings for taxes here.

One thing to keep in mind is that most cotisations are deductible from gross pay in arriving at what the French call "taxable income" - which is the starting point for the French tax calculations (not the end point as on the American forms).

If the offer is from an American company, you may want to clarify whether they are planning on having you on the local payroll or on the expat payroll (i.e. with expat benefits, like a car, school fees for your child, tax preparation, etc.). The benefits all have to be added to your income for tax purposes, but obviously don't show up in your bank account each month.

Normally, though, 90K euros should be more than comfortable.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Normally, though, 90K euros should be more than comfortable.
Thanks,

No problem on the PAYE thing. In the U.S. we just call them witholdings, so I was pretty sure I knew what you were talking about. :)

I'd be highly surprised if this was to be an expat package. This is a relatively small, relatively young startup. They have a relatively rigourous hiring process, but they don't seem that sophisticated. Plus, I'm a brand new hire, and as of yet unproven in their eyes, so for them to pony up for school expenses, car expenses, etc, would be a shock. Frankly, these days, I'd rather earn Euros anyway, this is, in fact, one of the attractions of this job, to be perfectly honest.

Obviously, I would take anything said on a forum as opinion and still do my own research, but do you really think that 90k is enough for me to support my small family in Paris? This is the big unknown that I'm worried about. I know that the UK job offer will be enough for us here. But trying to get my head around a realistic estimate of the true cost of living without living in a place is a virtual impossibility. When we relocated to the UK we did what we thought was some pretty good research on cost of living, and still ended up underestimating how much our monthly budget would be. In the UK, my wife has the option of working, but without her getting her own work visa, she will be completely unable to contribute to our income while we live in France.

...maybe I should have kicked off another thread...

Peter
 

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Oh well - as the old saying goes, "I used to be Snow White, but I kind of drifted..."

"Adequate salary" for Paris really does depend on what you are looking for in a lifestyle. If you want matching his-and-hers SUVs and to eat in restaurants every night, and send your kid to a private school, you're probably going to be disappointed.

However there are lots of folks who live pretty well in or around Paris on much less than 90K a year. (Me and my DH, for instance!) If your wife won't be able to work, however, that will be a big adjustment on her part (been there, done that - it's a major life trauma). One big part of considering any offer is going to be what she IS going to do - at least for the 5 years or so until you both qualify for a "carte de residente" and then the restrictions will come off. (Not sure how that works these days, as the rules keep changing.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"Adequate salary" for Paris really does depend on what you are looking for in a lifestyle.
Very true. We're by no means the matching SUV set. We only have a car and a motorcycle in the UK and do ok. In Paris, I would expect to not purchase a car, and rent one when we needed to travel by that means.

If your wife won't be able to work, however, that will be a big adjustment on her part (been there, done that - it's a major life trauma). One big part of considering any offer is going to be what she IS going to do - at least for the 5 years or so until you both qualify for a "carte de residente" and then the restrictions will come off.
Yes, that is the big question. To be honest, unless we turn out to fall head-over-heels in love with life in France, I think we're both thinking 2-3 years for our stay there, and then move back to the U.S. During our time here, she'll have her work cut out for her initially with her 400 hours of French training, but beyond that she is really wondering this too. For her it's more her desire to go back to work, and if she decides it is important enough, then we'll stay in the UK where I'll change my visa status to Tier 1 and she'll look for a job. But yes, look soon for a new thread...what does one do in a foreign country with no job to be had? Trips to the Eiffel Tower and Musée d'Orsay will get old quickly.

Thanks, Bev.

Cheers.

Peter
 

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One suggestion I can make for your wife to fill those "idle hours" in Paris - check out an expat group called "WICE." http://www.wice-paris.org/wice/

They are part of a group of associations that offer (or used to) a seminar every few years on "the trailing spouse." WICE as an organization offers volunteer work that (depending on your normal line of work, for sure) can often be used as a resume filler. Because they do "continuing education" there are lots of "jobs" at WICE involving scheduling, organization, marketing, stuff like that and even teaching. When you go back, WICE is perfectly happy to act as a reference regarding the job you've been doing.

It's quite a fun group and well worth looking into if you are considering the move to Paris.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Oh well - as the old saying goes, "I used to be Snow White, but I kind of drifted..."

"Adequate salary" for Paris really does depend on what you are looking for in a lifestyle. If you want matching his-and-hers SUVs and to eat in restaurants every night, and send your kid to a private school, you're probably going to be disappointed.

However there are lots of folks who live pretty well in or around Paris on much less than 90K a year. (Me and my DH, for instance!) If your wife won't be able to work, however, that will be a big adjustment on her part (been there, done that - it's a major life trauma). One big part of considering any offer is going to be what she IS going to do - at least for the 5 years or so until you both qualify for a "carte de residente" and then the restrictions will come off. (Not sure how that works these days, as the rules keep changing.)
Cheers,
Bev
Bev - you gave me a really good laugh about the "been there, done that - it's a major life trauma" comment. I, too, have been there and done that and didn't know what was happening to me. I loved your way of articulating it!
 

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Hi there,

I've gotten a verbal offer and am in the process of evaluating two jobs, one that would keep me in the UK, and one that would have me move to Paris.

I'm having a tough time getting my head around a lot of the information out there, but the main thing is, how much money do I take home from a paycheck. I found this Salary tax calculator, but despite a fairly good skill with French, I'm having a tough time believing what it is telling me. For a salary of 90k EUR per year, which is in the ballpark of what I expect to be offered, it is showing a figure titled: Impôt sur les revenus of 11485 EUR. This seems awfully low. I do get that you actually do report and then pay taxes the following year, but is this right? Can I really expect to take home around 78k EUR of this salary range?

Then, of course, the next question: how much do I set aside.

I've also heard of some trick that all French do at a certain time to make their income, or bank account appear smaller in order to pay a lower tax rate each year.

This sounds all too much like the complicated bizarre tax code of the U.S. that I left behind when we moved to the UK. Is there a "Comment faire pour vivre en France pour les nuls" book?
I know I'm late to this thread but I can tell you that we are married and have 1 child and earn 80K/year. Your total deductions are right at 50%. You will pay the income tax one year later but you better plan to save for it. I think you will be able to pay your bills on 90K and take a few vacations (locally) but you definitely won't be living the high life or even close to it. Social charges are HEFTY. Electricity/gas/transportation - HEFTY. Clothing - HEFTY. Restaurants - HEFTY. Be prepared.
 
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