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Old 28.11.2015, 16:57
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Working in Basel Living in France

Hello there,
I found a few old posts about his subject, but would like to know some updated information.

We are currently living and working in Basel (BS) and instead of "wasting" 2000CHF per month on rent, were were considering buying a house in St Louis or around, however, we would like to understand exactly how much does it cost to live in France.

More specifically we would like to know (approximately) how much is:
- income tax (%)
- day care
- health insurance
any other significant monthly expenses that we are not aware of?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 28.11.2015, 20:29
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

Buying into the obligatory state health care system costs 8% of net salary. There are threats to increase that. Most people also take a complementary health care policy (complementaire) as the State provision only covers a tiny proportion of true costs. Costs/benefits vary widely, so you need to do your own research.
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Old 28.11.2015, 20:33
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

Hi Frank,
Thanks for the info.
Do you have any idea about income tax? Would this be paid in Switzerland or France, or both?

Thanks
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Old 28.11.2015, 20:34
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

Here's a quick and dirty French income tax calculator

https://www.hsbc.fr/1/2/en/personal/...-tax-simulator
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Old 28.11.2015, 20:40
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

Depends on the canton. You need a local to answer that.
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Old 29.11.2015, 14:43
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

There are plenty of frontaliers who do exactly what you do, and for good reason. Life in France is generally much cheaper than life in Switzerland. Like anything, exactly how much cheaper depends a little bit on your personal circumstances. Here's some advice on what you've asked about:

- income tax (%)

For frontaliers living in France and working in Basel, you will French income tax, but Swiss social charges. This is a little bit of having your cake and eating it, too -- French income taxes (at least at the lower end of the salary range) are typically cheaper than Swiss tax, and Swiss social charges are significantly cheaper than French ones.

Exactly how much cheaper depends on your personal circumstances. The French system works on the basis of 'parts', whereby whole family income is split by the number of people in the family. This means that as your family grows, your taxes drop. An individual earning CHF100'000 per year pays far more tax in the French system than the same individual if he's married (non-working spouse) and has 2 children.

Here's a good overview of how the system works: http://france.angloinfo.com/money/in...axable-income/

- day care

Daycare is much cheaper in France than in Switzerland. It is subsidized according to income. On our Swiss salary, we are not entitled to any subsidy, but I can give you a comparison. In Switzerland, I was paying CHF2'400 per month for 5-day-a-week childcare. In France, this has dropped to EUR340 per month.

The biggest challenge is finding a place. We live in a small village, and we had to wait nearly a year for a place to open up.

Also bear in mind that children in France can begin maternelle (nursery school) from age 3, and that is entirely paid by the state. Aside from small incidental charges, there is nothing to pay, and your child is guaranteed a place. In this area, they're offered either monolingual education in French, or bilingual education in French/German. You make your choice from the beginning, and once you've decided, you're required to stay with the choice you've selected.

- health insurance

Here you have two choices: you can stay in the French system, which costs 8% of your salary (no cap), or you can go into the Swiss system, LAMal, which has fixed monthly premiums regardless of salary. Most Swiss policies also allow use of the French system. We chose the Swiss system for two reasons: first, because it's cheaper in our circumstances, and second, because in the event of a serious illness, we would much prefer to be treated at the Universitatspital / Kinderspital in Basel than the public hospitals in Mulhouse or Altkirch.

The important thing here is that you must make your choice when you move to France, and once you've elected either the French or Swiss system, you are stuck with it forever.

any other significant monthly expenses that we are not aware of?

Auto insurance is about half the price in France as it is in Switzerland, and home insurance was about 20% cheaper.

The other large expense that you might not have budgeted for is the taxe d'habitation (occupancy tax) and the taxe foncière (property tax). These can add up to quite a sum depending on the size and location of your property. Here is more information: http://france.angloinfo.com/money/ge.../property-tax/

The final thing to note is that you'll need a reasonable level of French to survive as a frontalier. While it's easy to remain an English-speaker in Switzerland, the French system is far less adapted to offering English-language support.
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Old 29.11.2015, 15:20
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

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Here's a quick and dirty French income tax calculator
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Old 29.11.2015, 15:38
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

Another factor to consider, is the 'what if' you are unfortunate enough to be made redundant. The Swiss unemployment benefits are very generous, 80% of salary if you have children, 70% otherwise. Don't have the figures for France, but I believe it is much lower- does anyone here have figures?

Checked, 57% in France (of last salary), so quite a difference.
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Old 29.11.2015, 19:30
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

Don't forget to factor in traveling time and costs.....
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Old 30.11.2015, 09:00
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

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Don't forget to factor in traveling time and costs.....
Parts of St. Louis and Novartis Campus are only 500m apart.
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Old 30.11.2015, 10:46
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

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Another factor to consider, is the 'what if' you are unfortunate enough to be made redundant.
I worked in Basel till April, and then the company went bankrupt, and we all were made redundant. This was a startup, and we had recruited people from all over Europe, and quite a few had choosen to live in France, as this was cheaper. However it's no all that simple. And once the proverbial manure hit the ventilator the ones that lived in France were faced with quite a few issues those who had chosen to live in Switzerland didn't...

Not only are employment benefits more generous, but the experience in dealing with French unemployment office was quite different. On my first visit to the RAV in Bern it was immidiately clear to me that my case manager was on my side. That what he wanted was to help me find a good job, that fit my qualifications and person. My former collegues living in France had less agreable experiences.
Then there is the simple fact that when you live in St. Louis, everywhere else in Switzerland is further away than Basel. I ended up with a new job with a shorter commute (in fact I'll start working mostly from home next year). Many of my former collegues were not that fortunagte. Commuting from st. Louis to Zürich however is not that much fun...

Quote:
We are currently living and working in Basel (BS) and instead of "wasting" 2000CHF per month on rent
If "wasting on rent" is a problem other options are of course buying in Switzerland (especially with current mortgage rates). Don't forget that in Switzerland you can often avoid wasting money on a car. Not having a car potentially saves a lot more than living in France would.
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Old 07.12.2015, 00:05
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Re: Working in Basel Living in France

Thank you all for the great feedback.
You gave us a lot of information and additional parameters to consider.
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