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France/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.5 Tax laws

There is no general tax legislation for culture, but many special measures operate in the different domains. More information is available on

Tax laws for culture pertain to five major sectors:

  • artistic and literary creation;
  • preservation of cultural heritage;
  • promotion of culture;
  • cinema, broadcasting and the music industry; and
  • press and publishing.

Law n° 2003-709 of 1 August 2003 on sponsorship, associations and foundations aimed at enhancing the tax regime in these areas.

The main tax laws concern tax exemptions, wealth tax or also the implementation of specific VAT rates. There are several VAT rates in France (some are specific to Corsica and overseas territories):

  • normal rate 19.6%
  • intermediary rate 7%;
  • reduced rate 5.5%; and
  • particular rate 2.1%.

The normal rate applies to the majority of goods and services.

The intermediary rate applies to cinemas, feasts and funfairs, and the entrances to zoos, museums, monuments, exhibitions and cultural sites.

In 2013, the VAT rate (changed from 5.5% to 7% in 2012) was restored to 5.5% for:

  • books (paper and digital) and book rental activities; and
  • ticket-selling for the performing arts: theatre, cabaret, circus, concerts and shows (except in establishments where food and drinks are served).

The particular rate of 2.1% applies to press publishing, to the public licence fee for broadcasting and to ticket prices for the first 140 performances of newly created or newly staged theatres works.

From 1 January 2014, the main VAT rates will be modified by article 68 of Law n° 2012-1510 of 29 December 2012, the third corrective finance act of 2012:

  • the reduced rate will be lowered from 5.5% to 5%;
  • the intermediary rate will be raised from 7% to 10%; and
  • the normal rate will be increased from 19.6% to 20%.

Chapter published: 18-05-2017

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