UK vs France: In which country do you pay the most taxes?

The tax comparison

Obviously, all countries have a different way of calculating taxes, and different tax segments. Therefore, to compare these two countries, let’s take the salaries of someone who gains 28 000 € a year, 45 000 € a year, and 113 000 € a year, and see how much they have left after taxes in each country.


In France:

Gross Salary After Tax Tax rate
28 000 € 19 294 € 31.8%
45 000 € 26 616 € 41.2%
113 000 € 45 945 € 59.4%


In the UK:

Gross Salary After Tax Tax rate
28 000 € 22 906 € 18.9%
45 000 € 34 428 € 24.8%
113 000 € 74 301 € 34.3%


While Taxes in France appear to be extremely high at first glance, you should keep in mind that the French make a clear distinction between taxes and social contributions. If you were to just take taxes into account, French taxes would actually be lower everywhere except for the top category.

So what does that mean?

In essence, in France, you’re paying more, but for better social service:

  • Around 25% of the Salary of French people goes to social security, versus 12% in the UK
  • However, the French arguably get the best healthcare service in the world
  • Your unemployment benefit typically goes up to 65% of your previous salary in France up to 6 000 € a month, versus a maximum of 58€ a week (or less than 400€ a month in the UK)
  • State pensions can go up to 50% of your previous salary. For a similar retirement plan in the UK, you’d have to spend about as much as the French in social contributions.


Which system is better? That’s up to personal preference. Though, overall, if you were in the UK and wanted social service equivalent to what you can get in France, you’d probably end up paying a lot more.
As such, the main advantage that the UK has over France isn’t that taxes are lower, it’s that you can somewhat choose which services you want, even if they’re more expensive as a result.