France: Taxation in France - Tax Treaties

Last Updated: 17 March 1995


France has concluded numerous tax treaties that eliminate double taxation on the worldwide income of resident taxpayers. If no tax treaty has been concluded, mitigation of double taxation can be achieved only through the principle of territorial taxation, which applies to companies liable to corporate tax.

Most treaties follow the model of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). For an overview of withholding taxes on dividends, interest and royalty payments that France is allowed to levy under various treaties, see table below. As noted in this table, certain withholding rates vary depending on whether the recipient has a substantial shareholding in the entity making the payment. Additional requirements may have to be met concerning the term of ownership of the shares. In some treaties, voting power is more decisive than the percentage of share capital held.

Different rates of withholding tax on royalties or interest may apply to different types of royalty and interest income. For example, the rates on industrial royalties and cultural royalties (copyrights) may vary, or interest on bank loans may be subject to a different rate from interest on other loans.

The rate of withholding tax on interest also depends on the date the bonds or securities were issued.

Tax Treaties
Treaty Withholding Tax Rates
Recipient's Country	Dividends	Interest		Royalties
of Residence	
	%(a)	%(b)	%(c)	% 
Algeria	0	0	0/35(j)	33 1/3
Argentina	15	15	0/20 	18
Australia	15	15	0/10 	10
Austria	15	15	0 	0/10
Belgium	15	0(i)/10(d)	0/15 	0
Brazil	15	15	0/10/15 	10/15/25
Cameroon	25	25	0/35(j)	15
Canada	15	10(d)	0/10	0/10
Central African
Republic	25	25	0/35(j)	0
China	10	10	0/10 	10
Cyprus	15	10(d)	0/10 	0/5
Czechoslovakia (l)	10	10	0 	0/5
Denmark	0	0	0	0
Finland	0/15	0/15	0/10 	0
Gabon	15/25	15/25	0/35(j)	0/10
Germany	0/15	0(d)(i)	0	0
Greece	25	0(i)/25	0	5
Hungary	15	5(e)	0 	0
Indonesia	15	10(e)	0/10/12/15	10
Ireland	15	0(i)/10(f)	0	0
Israel	15	10(f)	0/15 	0/10
Italy	15	0(i)/15	0/10	0/5
Ivory Coast	25	25	0/35(j)	0/10
Japan	15	10(g)	0/10	10
Kuwait	0	5(h)	0	0
Lebanon	0	0	0 	33 1/3
Luxembourg	15/25	0(i)/5/25(e) 	0/10	0
Morocco	0/15	0/15	0/10/15	5/10
Netherlands	15	0(i)/5(e)	0/10	0
Norway	15	5(d)	0/10	0
Poland	15	5(d)	0 	0/10
Portugal	15	0(i)/15	0/10	5
Romania	10	10	0/10	10
Saudi Arabia	0	5(h)	0/5	0
Singapore	15	10(d)	0/10 	0/33 1/3
Spain 	15 	0(i)/10(e)	0/10 	6
Sweden 	0/15 	0/15(e) 	0 	0
Switzerland 	15 	5/15(h)	 0/10 	5
Tunisia 	25 	25 	0/12 	 5/15/20
United Kingdom 	15 	0(i)/5(d) 	0 	0
United States (k) 	15 	5(d) 	0 	 0/5
USSR (m) 	15 	15 	0/10 	0
Yugoslavia (n) 	15 	5(e) 	0 	0
(a) Rate if recipient does not have a substantial shareholding (as defined in the notes below).
(b) Rate if recipient has a substantial shareholding (as defined in the notes below).
(c) The various rates relate to various kinds of bonds or date of issuance.
(d) Substantial shareholding is defined as 10% or more.
(e) Substantial shareholding is defined as 25% or more.
(f) Substantial shareholding is defined as 50% or more.
(g) Substantial shareholding is defined as 15% or more.
(h) Substantial shareholding is defined as 20% or more.
(i) Exemption from withholding tax on dividends paid by French companies to parent companies located in other EU states holding at least 25% in the distributing company for an uninterrupted period of at least two years.
(j) 15% for interest accrued from 1 January 1995.
(k) A new tax treaty was signed on 31 August 1994.
(l) France honours the Czechoslovakia treaty with the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
(m) France honours the USSR treaty with the republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Georgia. The treaty does not apply to the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).
(n) France honours the Yugoslavia treaty with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia.
The status of treaty applications with Serbia and Montenegro are uncertain.

In addition to the countries listed in the table of treaty withholding rates, France has tax treaties with the countries listed below.
Bangladesh 	Madagascar 	Pakistan
Bahrain 	Malawi 	Philippines
Benin 	Malaysia 	Saint Pierre & Miquelon
Bulgaria 	Mali 	Senegal
Burkina Faso	Malta 	Sri Lanka 
Comoros 	Mauritania 	South Africa
Congo 	Mauritius 	Thailand
Ecuador 	Mayotte 	Togo
Egypt 	Monaco 	Trinidad and Tobago
Ghana 	New Zealand 	Turkey
India 	New Caledonia 	United Arab Emirates
Iceland 	Niger 	Venezuela
Iran 	Nigeria 	Vietnam
Jordan 	Oman 	Zambia
Korea (South) 	Qatar
France also has tax treaties with the following nations concerning taxes other than income taxes.
Algeria (2,3)	Israel (2,3) 	Quebec (1)
Andorra (3) 	Italy (1,2,3) 	Romania (2,3)
Argentina (1) 	Ivory Coast (2,3) 	Saarland (3) 
Austria (1,3) 	Japan (2) 	San Marino (3)
Barhain (1) 	Jersey (3) 	Saudi Arabia (1,2)
Belgium (2,3) 	Jordan (2) 	Senegal (2,3)
Benin (2,3) 	Kuwait (1,2) 	Singapore (2)
Bulgaria(2) 	Lebanon (2) 	Spain (1,2)
Burkina Faso (2) 	Luxembourg (1,2,3) 	Sri Lanka (2)
Cameroon (2,3) 	Madagascar (2,3) 	Sweden (2)
Canada (1,3) 	Malaysia (2) 	Switzerland (1,2,3)
Central African 
Republic (2) 	Mali (2,3) 	Thailand (2)
China (2) 	Malta (1,2) 	Togo (2,3)
Comoros (2) 	Mauritania (2,3) 	Trinidad & Tobago (2)
Congo (2,3) 	Mauritius (1) 	Tunisia (2,3)
Cyprus (2) 	Mexico (2) 	United Kingdom (2,3)
Czechoslovakia (3) 	Morocco (2,3) 	United States (1,2,3)
Denmark (1,3) 	Netherlands (1,3) 	Yugoslavia (3)
Finland (1,2) 	Niger (2) 	Vietnam (1)
Gabon (2,3) 	Nigeria (2) 
Germany (1,3) 	New Zealand (2) 
Greece (3) 	Norway (1,2,3)
Hungary (1) 	Oman (2) 
Iceland (2) 	Philippines (2)
India (1,2) 	Poland (2,3)
Indonesia (1,2) 	Portugal (2)
Ireland (2) 	Qatar(1)
(1) Net worth taxes
(2) Estate taxes
(3) Social security taxes

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances. For additional information contact Pierre Knoepfler on +33 (1) 46 93 70 00.
© Business Monitor 1995 Tel +44 171 820 7733.

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