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You often refer to a ‘parts’ system for tax in France; what is this?

We explain how this and the regime allows married couples and larger families to pay a reduced amount of French income tax

Having a larger household can reduce tax payments in France Pic: HJBC / Shutterstock

Reader Question: A lot of Connexion articles mention ‘parts’ when talking about income tax. What does this mean? How do you obtain more parts?

In France, how much income tax a taxpayer is eligible to pay depends on several factors, with overall household income being the most important. 

However, the size of the family is another crucial element and this is where the ‘parts’ system comes in. Essentially tax is lowered for families with a large number of children or dependents. 

To determine this, a system of ‘parts’ is used to calculate a figure called the quotient familial (family quotient), with each individual family member contributing a certain ‘part’ to the household’s level. 

Adults are usually classed as one whole part each and children as a half or whole part, depending on the number of children.

A family of two working adults and one child would be given a household score of 2.5 points – one part each for the adults and a half part for the child.

The third child a couple has, and any child after that, offers a full part to the household’s score. 

Disabled adult dependents also add a part.

If the main taxpayer/s and/or one of their children is registered disabled, then they are awarded an extra half part or parts for each person concerned.

What does this ‘part’ score do? 

Once the household’s combined parts are added up into this score, it is used to calculate a tax lowering for households. 

France assesses income tax by several rising income bands, with the first band not being taxed, then the next block being taxed at 11% etc.

The levels at which the income tax bands are set usually change every year – in 2023 (for 2022 income) they increased by 5.4% to account for inflation (less commonly, the percentage rates may also be modified).

The total income earned in a year is divided by the number of parts and the income tax band rates are applied to this lower figure.

Once the tax is calculated in this way, it is multiplied back up by the number of parts to provide the due tax bill.

Ultimately, for larger families and those with more parts (single parents, disabled adults, those with dependents…), a large percentage of their income is liable to tax under the lower tax brackets, resulting in them paying less tax.

A single adult (ie. one not married or in a civil partnership) will have their income divided by their one part, meaning that it has no effect.

You can read a more in-depth explanation of the system in our Tax Guide – which you can buy or access here – including all figures for the 2023 tax year (based on 2022’s income). 

Related articles: 

Impôt, redevance, taxe: understand the subtle differences in French

Why French property tax bills, sent soon, will show big increases

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