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TAX

The tax benefits of having a cleaner in France

If you have a cleaner then you should definitely tell the French taxman about it - and he will give you some money back at the annual tax declaration season.

The tax benefits of having a cleaner in France
Photo: Jennifer Burk / Unsplash

There are legal reasons for declaring that you employ a cleaner – to stop undeclared cash-in-hand work, often referred to in France as ‘working on the black’, and to protect the homeowner in case of workplace accidents.

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: Who has to make a tax declaration in France in 2022?

But there is also a financial incentive.

In the same way that childcare costs can – and should – be declared, costs related to personal services such as the wages for a cleaner should be declared because they will lead to a tax credit or reduction in your tax bill.

How to declare your cleaner to the tax authorities?

During the year you can pay your cleaner however you like – cash, cheque or bank transfer.

But when you come to fill in your annual tax declaration, any salaries paid for out of your pocket – including a cleaner at home – should be declared in the section “employment of a home-based employee” (box 7DF). 

READ ALSO Ask the expert: How to fill out the 2022 French tax declaration

For most people, this expense must not exceed an annual amount of €12,000. For people over 65 years, this ceiling is raised to €15,000 euros, and disabled people have a limit of €20,000.

You then get a tax credit which is 50 percent of the total cost of the wages you paid your cleaner over the year.

If you’re self-employed this will come in the form of a deduction in the total amount that you owe.

If you’re an employee and have already had your income tax deducted at source, the money will come in the form or a rebate.

Who is eligible?

Anyone who fills in a French tax declaration (which is virtually everyone who lives in France and some people who don’t live here but do have an income here).

The residence in question – whether it is a main or second home – must be in France, and the individual claiming the tax credit does not have to be the homeowner. They just have to be the one paying the cleaner.

Be aware, you should also inform Urssaf that you are employing a cleaner, via the Chèque Emploi Service Universel (CESU) website. This allows you to declare payments for a cleaner on a monthly basis, similar to the Pajemploi website recognisable to anyone who has ever employed a professional childminder. 

Doing so allows employers to automate payments – the cleaner is paid the full amount via CESU, with the rest deducted from the employer’s account.

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For members

SCHOOLS

‘Section internationales’: How do France’s bilingual secondary schools work?

For foreign parents in France looking at secondary school options for their children one option to consider is the bilingual 'international sections' in certain state schools. But how do they work?

'Section internationales': How do France's bilingual secondary schools work?

What is an ‘international section’

Essentially international sections in French secondary schools allow students to learn a modern foreign language, such as English or German in much more depth than a standard state secondary. These sections also facilitate the integration of foreign students into the French school system.

There are about 200 ‘International’ establishments (primary schools, colleges and high schools) around France offering international sections in 16 languages.

Most are state run, so for many foreign families they are a much cheaper alternative to private schools, though it should be noted that some of the international sections are fee-paying.

READ ALSO

Even state establishments can charge for enrolment into their international sections. Fees are usually in the region of €1,000 to €2,000 per year (although that’s still cheap compared to somewhere like the American school of Paris which charges between €20,000 and €35,000 a year)

American and British sections are particularly popular – and, as a result are usually the most expensive, while less-popular German sections are less costly. 

Why do they exist?

These sections are ideal for the children of immigrant families, as well as those where one parent is of foreign origin. Syllabuses are set up and developed by French educational authorities and those of the partner country.

In addition to lessons dedicated to modern languages, students benefit from lessons in another subject given in a foreign language. The international sections promote the discovery of the culture and civilisation of the countries associated with the section.

Top tips for raising a bilingual child in France

What languages are available?

According to the government website, 19 languages are available. But that’s not strictly accurate as it then lists American, British and Australian as separate ‘languages’, along with Portuguese and Brazilian. It’s more accurate to say these establishments offer education in 16 languages.

It’s more accurate to say that there are 19 “sections”, dedicated to learning with a linguistic and cultural education slant in favour of the following nations/languages:

American, Arabic, Australian, Brazilian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Franco-Moroccan, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Russian.

In total, there are two Australian schools, 20 American ones, over 50 British schools – most in Paris and the Ile-de-France (Versailles is very popular)

So, what’s studied – and what qualifications do you get?

As well as usual collège-level classes in core subjects, such as maths, history and the sciences, students have four hours of classes in the language, including literary studies, of their choice.

From troisième (age 14), an additional two hours of classes per week cover that country’s history and geography and moral and civic education – the latter is replaced by maths for those studying in Chinese sections.

They can obtain the diplôme national du brevet with the mention “série collège, option internationale”. The dedicated brevet includes two specific tests: history-geography and foreign language.

At lycée, students study four hours of foreign literature per week, as well as two hours of history-geography in the language of the section (maths for the Chinese section) as well as two hours of French as they study towards an OIB (option internationale du bac), often at the same time as a standard French bac.

How to enrol

The first step is to contact the collège you wish your child to attend. This should take place no later than January before the September rentree you want your child to go to the collège.

If you live in France, and your child is attending an école primaire or élémentaire, you should do this in the January of the year they would move up to collège.

Be aware, that some schools require potential students to pass a language test – written and oral – before they can enter an international section. A child wishing to enter sixth grade must be able to read books of the level of Harry Potter in English, to enter the international school of Sèvres’ British section, while another has said that only 20 percent of candidates achieve the grade that would allow them entry into an international section.

Find a school

You will find sections internationales de collège at educational academies across the country. For a full list, with contact details, click here.

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