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French witholding tax – PAS

In this article, we embark on a journey through the intricacies of the French Withholding Tax, commonly known as PAS (Prélèvement à la Source). This substantial tax reform, implemented in 2019, has reshaped the landscape of income tax collection in France. Join us as we explore various facets that make it a crucial component of the French tax system.

History of PAS

The Withholding Tax, or PAS, marked a significant milestone in French tax reform when it was introduced on January 1, 2019. Drawing parallels with the British PAYE system, its primary objective was to modernize income tax collection by directly deducting taxes from salaries, pensions, and other incomes. The introduction of the Withholding Tax, or PAS, marked a departure from the previous method, where taxes were paid in the subsequent year. The primary goals were to simplify tax management, accommodate income variations, and enhance households’ cash flow. Despite varying opinions on its impact, the PAS remains integral to the French tax framework.

Incomes with and without Collectors

The PAS operates differently depending on whether there is a collector (entity collecting the money on behalf of the taxpayer). Incomes with a collector, such as salaries, pensions, and unemployment benefits, undergo direct withholding by the employer, pension fund, or paying organization. Conversely, for incomes without a collector, such as rental income or self-employed earnings, taxpayers assume responsibility for calculating and paying the tax. This unique distinction in mechanism sets the French withholding tax system apart. Importantly, PAS payments are not final; they serve as advances on a potentially variable final tax amount, subject to regularization.

Credits and Tax Reductions

Each January, recipients of certain recurring tax credits and reductions receive a 60% advance. This advance covers schemes like tax reductions for real estate investment, donations to general interest organizations, and union dues tax credits. The remaining 40% is disbursed during the summer, following the latest tax return in the spring.

The Concrete Functioning of PAS

The French PAS operates on a precise timeline throughout the fiscal year. Employers, pension funds, or paying organizations withhold a percentage of income tax from the taxpayer’s salary or pension monthly or quarterly. This withholding is based on the tax rate provided by the tax authorities. Adjustments are made in January based on the pre-filled income tax return from the previous year. Taxpayers can modify this rate in April and, in September, the tax authorities communicate a new rate to employers. Regularization occurs in January of the following year, allowing adjustments based on the taxpayer’s financial situation.

Modulation of PAS

The modulation of the Withholding Tax in France provides flexibility for taxpayers to adjust their tax rate throughout the year, aligning with their financial reality. This modulation is done through the taxpayer’s impots.gouv account under the “gérer mon prélèvement à la source” section.

PAS for New Fiscal Residents

New fiscal residents in France undergo specific steps, where employers or paying organizations consider the taxpayer’s new fiscal situation and apply a withholding rate based on information provided by the tax authorities.

PAS for Non-Resident Taxpayers

Non-resident French taxpayers undergo a distinct application of the Withholding Tax. Its primary application directed towards income from French sources like employment salaries or rental income. In this scenario, the withholding rate is determined by the tax authorities based on available information. It is noteworthy that non-residents can also modulate their rate, especially in cases of significant income variations. Non-residents can also modulate their rate, especially in cases of significant income variations. Importantly, the PAS only covers income generated in France, and non-residents must file an income tax return in France to declare all their income and regularize their tax situation.


This comprehensive guide provides a detailed understanding of the French Withholding Tax, or PAS. Despite the complexity of the topic, we hope you found this exploration enlightening. Should you require assistance with your French tax return, the French PAS, or any matters related to France and taxes, feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help!

French Tax Online is a tax consultancy firm specialized in foreigners investing and living in France.

A member of the Budiz Company Group, which is a French chartered accountant registered with the Order of French Chartered Accountants (OEC).

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