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Total is a french oil company listed on both Euronext Paris and NYSE.

How does the location of the exchange affect de dividend tax? If I buy my shares on the NYSE, does the dividend tax depend on the american law? Or does it always depend on french law since Total is a french company?

One could ask "why does it matter?" since in both country the dividend tax is 30%. The reason is simple: I'm from Belgium and US has a double taxation agreement with my country that France does not have.

By double taxation agreement I mean that instead of being taxed once at 30% in US and once again at 30% in Belgium, I'm only taxed at 15% in US and then at 30% in Belgium. Out of 1€ of dividend, I get 0,595€. In France, I'm taxed at 30% two times which leaves me with 0,49€ out of 1€ of dividend.

I've searched online but did not find anything on the subject.

  • Are you in either France or the US, or in another country? Also, "USA has double taxation" on its own doesn't really make sense... the USA has taxation agreements with other countries: e.g. it may (I don't actually know) have one with the UK but not France. (If you are in a third country, you may mean that country has an agreement with the US but not France... again: please clarify). – TripeHound Aug 2 at 9:16
  • @TripeHound I just edited my answer with the clarification you asked. – Benjamin Aug 2 at 9:27
  • "Double taxation agreement" as in the two countries specifically wrote out "we want to double-tax our citizens? Or have they not agreed to share taxes? – RonJohn Aug 2 at 9:54
  • @RonJohn Answer updated to explain a bit further. – Benjamin Aug 2 at 10:06
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Note: France is taxed at 12.8% instead of 30%, as Belgium also has a double taxation agreement with France.

Taxes are based on where the company is located, not on which exchange it is traded. French company means French taxes. However, stock exchange tax (transaction fees) are different between stock exchanges, or the broker you use might have different fees itself for trading stocks on different exchanges, so there can still be a benefit in buying on specific exchanges.

The stock exchange only takes care of the exchange of trading stocks: you pay a transaction fee, and then you own part of the company (shares). The exchange happened, and the dividend is now paid from the company to you, although you're most likely using a broker so that becomes your middleman. You will now be taxed on dividends based on your location, the company's location, and any potential brokerage fees. The stock exchange is no longer in play here.

  • In France you've 12.8% of flat rate plus a 17.2% of social contributions for a total of 30% of tax on dividend. Also, the double taxation agreement between France and Belgium is not applied for the moment even though there is one. – Benjamin Aug 2 at 11:58
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    Yes. And the social contributions is the part that you get back with the double taxation agreement. Depending on your broker or bank, this agreement is in place automatically or not. Sometimes you even have to pay for it, and it might not even be profitable with low dividend amounts. Depending on your broker/bank, you might need to fill in the forms yourself and mail them to the financial service (FOD Financiën / SPF Finances). I suggest talking to your broker/bank for more information. – JiyuuSensei Aug 2 at 12:09
  • Which is a pain in the ass. Everything is automatic with US/Belgium. Anyway, thanks. – Benjamin Aug 2 at 12:14

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