There were over 5.7 million people working in the metropolitan area in 2011 (according to the last official census). International employees working in Paris-based multi-national companies and organizations made up a significant share. After all, the Paris region isn’t only the home of 18 Fortune Global 500 companies. The city also hosts the headquarters of UNESCO, OECD, and ICC, which employ large numbers of foreigners working in Paris.
While traditional manufacturing used to be a major source of wealth and employment for people working in Paris until the 1970s, the city has successfully shifted its economic base to high-tech manufacturing in recent decades. Even though this development was vital to ensure continuing economic influence, it has widened the social gap between those employed in Paris’s new industries and those who failed to keep up with the times. Some northeastern suburbs in particular have been gradually reduced to widespread unemployment and deprivation.
The economic center of Paris lies to the west of the city, which is also where countless people commute on a daily basis. In fact, many employees living in the center of town might find themselves working in Paris’s (and indeed Europe’s) largest purpose-built business district, La Défense, on the outskirts of town, thus commuting from the center to the suburbs every morning.
The manufacturing boom started in the late 19th century when Paris hosted a series of World Fairs, which increased the city’s international standing. They also attracted record numbers of employees for the newly emerging technology, trade, and tourism industries. These sectors are still major employers of people working in Paris today.
With up to 30 million annual visitors, Paris is the single most popular tourist destination in the world. Major sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Disneyland don't only attract tourists, but they also — either directly or indirectly — create opportunities for working in Paris.
High value-added and business services, trade and commerce are other major sources of employment for those working in Paris’s private sector. The public sector is also big: it provides jobs for around 10% of all employees. Health services and social welfare, along with transportation and communication, both with a mixture of public and private sector jobs, each employ another 8 to 9% of all people working in Paris.
Foreign nationals are subject to the same taxation laws as the French if France is their main place of residence. In effect, this means that expats working in Paris who spend more than 183 days a year in France are taxed on all their income. On the other hand, those residents of Paris who spend less than 183 days of the year in France are only taxed on their income arising from French sources.
Like many other countries, France has signed a number of international treaties to avoid double taxation of foreigners working in Paris. A list of all countries in question as well as further information on the taxation of foreigners can be found on Impots.gov.fr.
Generally speaking, double taxation agreements allow foreign employees working in Paris for less than 183 days a year and receiving their salary from a non-French company to keep paying tax in their home countries, instead of in France.
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