French tax is not levied, must we pay social charges on UK pensions?

A dual tax treaty exists between the UK and France which dictates treatment

Rules can differ between pension types originating from the UK

Reader Question: We are struggling with the local tax office about the correct treatment of our UK pensions (both state and teachers’). They have accepted that no tax is payable but insist we owe social charges. Can this be right?

The UK/France double-tax treaty says France has the right to tax the UK state pension if received by a resident of France and takes their income above certain levels.

This does not cover UK teachers’ pensions which are deemed ‘government’ pensions and thus taxable only in the UK. 

The exception would be if you are French (and only French). 

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‘Government’ pensions are declarable and are ‘taken into account’ so France has an overall picture of your worldwide income, but not so that tax can be levied directly on them again. 

French social charges should also not be chargeable on ‘government’ pensions, as articles 2 and 24 of the UK/France tax treaty treats this in the same way as income tax. 

Furthermore French tax law states that if you are not a burden on the French health service, then you do not pay social charges on foreign pension income. 

This is detailed in the Notice (notes) to the 2047 foreign income form (search the PDF with ‘Ctrl+F’ on your keyboard, for à la charge to find this. 

Read more: Do I need to declare a UK inheritance to the French tax authorities?