Living off savings - is this taxable in France


For the last couple of years I’ve been living off savings held in a UK current account (not accruing interest), I deposit the necessary amount into my french bank account when needed to pay bills etc.

Is this taxable income in France? If so how do I declare it on a tax declaration form? I have to make one for 2015 (a bit late I know).

Would really appreciate help from anyone who has experience of this.


Hi Natalie - it really does depend on the source of and timing of receipt of the savings. If the savings were firmly planted in your UK bank account before you took up French residency - then nothing to declare in that respect.

So, ordinarily based on the info you have provided - nothing to declare unless your total worldwide assets put you into the Wealth Tax (ISF) bracket! However, as a French resident, that does not mean you are exempted from completing a French income tax return - even if it is effectively a ‘nil’ return. Lots of other sections on the returns which may be relevant to you!

At any given time the tax authorities, or your French bank, may need you to prove the source of any income / credits / savings to comply with money laundering legislation.


Only the interest on your savings will be taxed. If you transfer €20,000 every year to live off it is not considered to be an income of that amount. When you do your tax return don’t forget to declare all your bank accounts.
Unless your savings are huge you might be told that your income is not sufficient to be considered a stable resident in France.

As the previous posters have said.

Submitting a tax return will probably work in your favour, as having low income will likely reduce your taxe d’habitation bill which is income based. On the other hand as David mentioned, there is an official minimum income requirement for EU inactifs living in France, so there may be consequences there, though unlikely in most situations. Either way I think best advice is to fill your tax return in very scrupulously and have all your papers, bank statements etc to hand in case the fisc ask to see them. Living entirely off savings seems a bit outside the box in France, and anything outside the box, such as a person who appears to live on fresh air, is likely to be flagged up by the tax computer and attract closer attention and more checks than usual - the computer might for instance assume that there must be a significant amount of capital and wonder why it’s generating zero interest.

Hi Natalie

We lived off a lump sum (no interest) when we first moved to France, with no problems.

Some funds here in Credit Agricole cheque account and some in UK cheque account. Transfers made between the accounts, were not income and were not taxed. But the Bank Accounts (and hence their balances) were fully declared.

Why not go to your Tax Office now and talk things through with someone in the Income Tax department. They will be rushed off their feet during the “official” Declaration period… so they should be calmer at the moment.

As you will be making your first Declaration (and a late one at that)… you may well need quite a bit of paperwork… which is why I recommend you go and speak with them now. They are helpful folk and they will advise you and put your mind at rest.

Complete disclosure is essential…but this Declaration will get you into the financial part of the French System…

If, as you say, you have Nil income… you will not be taxed…(unless, as David says, you are super wealthy :wink:)

If/when you make transfers above a certain amount (can’t remember the figure) from a UK account to a French Bank Account… you will almost certainly have to prove to your French Bank…just where that money has originated from.

Good luck

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Thank you that’s very useful.

We are not “inactif” but living off our savings while our businesses are getting off the ground.

really appreciate your help.

I went to the tax office today (wednesday) to obtain the form, the woman was very helpful, although it was coming up to lunchtime (:wink:)

I’m so glad I asked the question here and got answers from people who actually have experience, I’ve read so much online but could never find the answers I’m looking for. Will certainly take all your advice.

Thanks all once again


This is interesting. My plan is to live off the equity from our house and private pension so from this i will be taxed on that. That is projected to be 2000 euros a month (married) from what i know that will make sure we pay enough tax to get health care coverage

I was wondering how to treat money not invested which is for when things go wrong… so from this if its sat in a current account all is good

Your only income will be that generated by the private pension plus the interest on the capital. The savings themselves are not income. If you supplement your pension income with your capital the supplement will not be taxed as it is not income.
If you are going to be inactif the taxes you pay will be based on your income and do not directly contribute to your health cover. For that you will have to apply through PUMA after three months residence. Once accepted your contributions for health cover will be based on your previous year’s income, basically approximately 8% of (your income -€9,600).

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Just always remember to declare any non-French accounts you have. The penalties for not doing so are pretty eye watering. Lots of discussions on SFN if you need more info.

Absolutely agree with you Simon…but I’m going one step further…

In France… one must declare ALL bank accounts (no matter which country the a/c is in… or what sort of a/c … cheque/savings or whatever)… just declaring everything keeps on the right side of the French Laws…

Failure to declare brings all sorts of nasties down on the head of the offender… too awful to contemplate and certainly too expensive…:sob:

??? Stella - that’s what I said (any non-French accounts)! You don’t need to declare accounts based in France as that’s an automatic process.

Fair enough Simon… not wishing to cause a row… simply did not know that it was automatic with French bank accounts…

My rule of thumb is that it is better to offer more info than the authorities might require… shows willing and creates a good impression…for First Time Declarants…who will be doing it face-to-face with a Tax Official… this attitude is no bad thing…:slight_smile:

It’s so long ago that I did my first declaration, I can’t remember exactly what went on…but I went armed with absolutely every bit of financial data French and UK. :innocent:

Wooooooah - totally disagree. Just provide what’s asked for.

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Simon… we will obviously agree to disagree on this… I’ve always been upfront and open in all my dealings… no reason to change the habit of a lifetime now… :grinning:

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Thanks for this.
PUMA… would i apply for this at the local tax office ?
Was aware of it but tbought was linked to tax.
Thanks again

Want to do everything possible to keep tax man happy.
They can make your life a misery

PUMA is healthcare. You apply for it at CPAM which is the organisation responsible for the healthcare of certain categories of individuals, including inactifs/early retirees. They have offices in just about any city/reasonably big town. Or you may be able to apply online, if you understand exactly what documents you need to provide.

Don’t confuse healthcare contributions with income tax payments, they are 2 different things invoiced by/paid to different organisations, for different purposes.

Actually Simon… been thinking about your comment on my Post…

I am talking of " complete disclosure " …especially aimed at the conversation about the French Tax Man…

Are you talking about other Authorities and, if so, which ones should we be wary of … ??

Oh dear Stella - you’ve lost me! I simply disagree with your ‘rule of thumb’ to offer more than the authorities may require. As we’re talking about tax I automatically assumed that’s what you were referring to.

Pfffffffffff… :confounded: Can we leave it there please?

Simon… no probs… you just got me wondering, that’s all…:slight_smile: