Minimizing duties and taxes of household goods

My wife and I (Americans) plan to move to France when possible, hopefully permanently. We won’t be employed by a French company. How can we minimize duties and taxes etc. of personal items and household goods that we ship there?

Have any of you been in a similar situation? What did you do?


If you are moving your principal home to France, and have lived outside france throughout the previous 12 months, you can bring your personal goods that more than 6 months old in tax free (apart from some exceptions because of the Trump sanctions). You have to bring them in within 6 months of moving here.

Look here

Thanks for that link, Jane. I had read something similar, but it’s good to get it from the horse’s mouth. What concerns me is “Vous devez fournir à la douane les documents suivants…tout document prouvant que…vous vous installez en France (certificat de changement de résidence, ordre de mutation pour les militaires et les fonctionnaires français ou carte de résident, d’immigrant, etc.).”

I’m not sure what proof I’d be able to provide, especially since I won’t have a French employer (or be in the military, etc.). Any guidance would be appreciated.

Are you buying or have bought a home here Martin, have you disposed of a home “property” in the US?

While not an expert like Jane I would think the tax people here would be sympathetic to anything that is used, that brand new Tesla might be a problem though :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m no expert! Just good at internet searches.

I wouldn’t worry over much. The form is quite simple so not much room for lots of documents. You will have your visa, plus health insurance and presumably either a house rental or purchase contract, and it is very common in france to do an “attestation sur l’honneur” where you can set out your position. If you arrive before your goods then you might have other useful things like a bank account. Paperwork accumulates in France!

As long as your inventory is normal, and you aren’t trying to bring in 6 horses, 12 Harley Davidson’s and a container full of bourbon, you should be fine.