(Article 83 of the 2016 Finance Act)

Regular attendance fees allocated to members of the board of management or members of the supervisory board of limited companies are subject to a withholding tax at a rate of : 

  • 21% (non-discharging levy) when they are paid to Tax Residents of France;  
  • 30% (discharging levy), except for more favorable rate provided in Tax Treaties (usually 15%), when they are paid to Tax Non-residents of France.

For the attendance fees regime to comply with European law (principle of freecirculation of individuals ), Section 83 of the Finance Act for 2016 amends section 187 of the French Tax Code (FTC) so that individuals who are residents outside of France in a Member State of the EEA (European Union, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) can, if appropriate, request reimbursement of the excess withholding tax actually paid.

The refundable amount is equal to the amount of Withholding Tax actually paid that exceeds the difference between : 

  • the amount of Income Tax that would result from the application of the progressive rate (minimum rate of 20% for non-residents - Article 197 A of the FTC) on the sum of the fees and the other French source income received during the same year;  
  • and, the amount of Income Tax calculated under the same conditions and levied on the only French source income other than attendance fees.

The measure applies to fees received on or after January 1st, 2016.

The form of the request (respecting limitation periods provided in Article R-196-1 of the Tax Procedure Handbook) is not yet specified by the tax authorities.