French Budget 2014: How are you affected?

With France mired in economic crisis and stagnation, President François Hollande’s cabinet on Wednesday signed off on €15 billion worth of cuts and taxes. Here’s a breakdown of how Budget 2014 might affect you.

French Budget 2014: How are you affected?
Budget 2014: Photo: Images of Money/Flickr

With France’s public debt set to reach the record high of 95.1 percent of GDP, perhaps it’s not surprising that this year’s budget, agreed on by the cabinet on Wednesday, will seek a whopping €15 billion in income and savings.

Some €3 billion of that is likely to involve households and businesses, and here is our guide to how Budget 2014 will affect you.


Quotient familial 

The government is to lower the ceiling of  family income tax break ceiling, known as le quotient familial, from €2,000 to €1,500. This measure is designed to target the most wealthy. A couple with one child will be affected from household incomes starting at €58,000 net a year.

For a couple with two children, the threshold will rise to €64,000, and €72,000 for those with three children.

Income tax

As predicted, income tax will be indexed to inflation once again, meaning that many less well-off households, whose income became taxable last year, will go back to paying no income tax in 2014.

Tax relief ("La décote")

"La décote" is a tax discount currently reserved for households who don't pay more than €960 in income tax per year. As of 2014, that discount will be increased from €480 to €508.

This change is good news for poorer households, and will affect 6.9 million tax-payers next year.

Tax relief for children in education

2014 will see an end to tax reductions for families with children enrolled in education, which should save the state 61, 153 and 183 euros for every university-level, secondary school, and post-graduate student in the country, respectively.


Retired people who have fewer than three children will, for the first time, have to pay taxes on their allowance, with 10 percent set to be taxable in 2014.

Greener cars

A car with 2014 license plates will land its owner with €150 in extra taxes, if its CO2 emissions are between 130 and 135 grammes per kilometre.

If the emissions exceed 200 g per km, the vehicle’s owner will be hit with €8,000 in taxes.


VAT (sales tax) on cinema tickets will drop from 5.5 percent to five percent, but the intermediary level of VAT (restaurants, hotels, and so on) will increase from seven to 10 percent, and the “normal” rate from 19.6  to 20 percent.

Second homes 

Owners will not have to pay capital gains tax on their second homes if they have owned the property for at least 22 years. Current the limit for exoneration from the tax is set at 30 years.

Green renovations 

Homeowners will be encouraged to make energy saving renovations to their homes with the government reducing the rate of VAT on the cost of works from 5.5 percent to 5 percent. The rate will stand the same for the construction and renovation of social housing.

Tax on fossil fuels

The price of a kilowatt-hour of gas will rise by 0.13 cents from 2014.

However, controversially, there will be no rise in tax on diesel next year, but it will increase by two cents per litre in 2015.


Businesses will have to pay 75 percent tax on wages exceeding €1 million. The tax, one of Hollande’s flagship election promises, is set to earn €260 million in 2014 and €160 million in 2015.

Businesses with a turnover in excess of €50 million will also have to pay a tax on the gross operating profit (EBE). The government hopes the tax will pull in €2.48 billion in revenue for state coffers. This has been brought instead of the fixed annual tax ("imposition forfaitaire annuelle").

The government has also confirmed the establishment of a Savings Action Plan (Plan d’Epargne action EAP) which is aimed at helping finance small to medium sized enterprises. A ceiling of 75, 000 has been placed on the scheme.

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France leaves EU deficit sin bin after nearly ten years

The EU officially recommended that France be removed from Brussels' public spending penalty box, handing a victory to French President Emmanuel Macron in his push to gain the trust of austerity-pushing Germany.

France leaves EU deficit sin bin after nearly ten years
Photo: AFP
The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, formally proposed to take France out of the so-called excessive deficit procedure that was first opened in 2009 at the start of the eurozone debt crisis.
“It is an important moment for France after nine years of a long, painful procedure and sometimes painful but necessary budgetary efforts,” said EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici at a news briefing.
The European Commission forecasts that France will hit a deficit of 2.6 percent of GDP in 2017, below the EU's three percent limit.
This would be followed by 2.3 percent in 2018, then 2.8 percent in 2019, the European Commission estimated in its latest economic forecasts. 
Macron saw lowering the deficit as key to earning credibility with European leaders, especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as he pushes ambitious reforms to the eurozone.
France was one of the last two countries in the eurozone, along with Spain, still under the threat of the excessive deficit procedure, which can lead to sanctions and fines.

But eyes are now turning to Italy, whose populist and eurosceptic government has promised to flout EU budget rules, which also include a 60 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) cap on public debt.
The commission's proposal on France will have to be formally endorsed by EU finance ministers at a meeting in July.