Tax in France – pension and tax questions answered for British expats

Written by on August 17, 2018 in Tax

We’ve had a record number of enquiries about life in France in the last 12 months. It seems that moving to France is on the minds of many and some questions come up over and over about financial issues, after all, you want to know that you can afford to live the dream and making sure that you take care of finances is important to getting that result.

We asked financial expert Jennie Poate at Beacon Global Wealth who is qualified to give financial advice in both France and the UK to answer some of your questions. Brexit may of course change things but until we have details here is the current situation.

If I take early retirement and move to France? How do I ensure I protect my state pension before I move to France?

The first thing to do is check how many years contributions you have achieved. Bear in mind that to receive a full UK Basic State Pension you will need 35 years full contributions.

You can check here:

Once you have that detail you can ask the National Insurance office about making catch up payments which can be done as a lump sum or regular direct debit.

If I move to France and need to work. Do I get half a pension from the UK and half from France?

The retirement ages may differ in each country depending upon your age.

The UK system works on a number of years full NI (National Insurance) contributions as above.

The French systems works on a number of trimestres or quarters and not reaching the required maximum may mean you are penalised. The short answer is that if you retire and are tax resident in France this would mean the French authorities must obtain information on your UK state pension status and you won’t be penalised for the years accrued outside of France and in the EU.

If you work in France there are a number of personal pension arrangements you can make depending on whether you are employed or self employed.

Can I have my UK pension paid in either the UK or France if I’m living in France?

Some personal pension providers can pay in Euros but most don’t in which case it would have to be paid in pounds either to a UK bank account or a French sterling account.

Can I have my UK pension paid in France and does the pension department fx it to Euros?

UK state pensions can be paid in Euros to your designated French bank account. The amount will vary each month according to the exchange rate. You will normally get the ‘interbank’ rate of the day so no currency company is involved taking their share of profits.

Is there the equivalent of an ISA in France?

Yes, it’s also tax free but it is a lifetime allowance as opposed to an annual one. They are available in sole name only. The rate is normally the same regardless of which institution you use:

Livret A                 €22,950                 0.75%
Livret Bleu           €22,950                 0.75%
LDD                       €12,000                0.75%
LEP                        €7,700                 1.00%
Livret Jeune         €1,600                  1.75%

There are tax free accounts for those saving for a mortgage and of course the Assurance Vie offers the option for higher risk investments to that of cash.

If you’d like to ask Jennie a question about life in France, obligation free, please get in touch at: jennie @;

The financial advisers trading under Beacon Wealth Management are members of Nexus Global (IFA Network). Nexus Global is a division within Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited (BFMI). All approved individual members of Nexus Global are Appointed Representatives of BFMI. BFMI is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and bound by their rules under licence number FSC00805B.

And the information on this page is intended as an introduction only and is not designed to offer solutions or advice. Beacon Global Wealth Management can accept no responsibility whatsoever for losses incurred by acting on the information on this page.

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