The French tax authorities allow parents to give some money tax-free to their children around some special dates, such as Christmas, new year eve, the child's birthday or the child's success at some major exams (such money is referred to as étrennes). How much money can be gifted tax-free?

latribune.fr (mirror) is very vague:

son montant doit rester dans des proportions raisonnables, par rapport à l'occasion et en comparaison de vos moyens financiers et de votre patrimoine.

Google Translate:

its amount must remain within reasonable proportions, in relation to the occasion and in comparison with your financial means and your assets.

I have no idea what within reasonable proportions mean. 0.1%? 1% 10%? etc. Do the French tax authorities give any clearer guidance? If not, are there any legal cases that could give some hints?

  • 1
    Étrennes” refers specifically to end of year/Christmas gifts, the relevant concept for tax purposes is “présent d'usage” (cf. the article you quoted). Searching that phrase yields some useful results, including this.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 23:07
  • @Relaxed great information, thank you, you are welcome to convert your comment into an answer, as I see the link your have contains the answer Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 23:11
  • 1
    I don't think the question is very good, please remove the nonsense about “étrennes”.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 23:17
  • 1
    I'd rather see fewer questions like this one, writing answers (especially if they get positive votes) keeps them around so I won't write an answer.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 23:53
  • 1
    How are you responsible for paying taxes in France without having used the French language for the past 10 years?
    – The Photon
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 4:32

1 Answer 1


Relaxed pointed to a great article in the comment section, https://www.capital.fr/votre-argent/present-d-usage-1317692 (mirror):

La valeur du présent d'usage ne doit pas non plus être disproportionnée par rapport aux revenus et au patrimoine du donateur. En pratique, la jurisprudence constante considère que le montant du présent d'usage ne doit pas excéder 2% du patrimoine ni 2,5% du revenu annuel du donateur. Dans le cas contraire, le présent d'usage serait requalifié par les juges et par l'Administration fiscale en donation ordinaire taxable.

Google Translate:

The value of the present for use must not be disproportionate to the income and assets of the donor. In practice, constant jurisprudence considers that the amount of the present of use should not exceed 2% of the patrimony nor 2.5% of the annual income of the donor. Otherwise, the customary present would be reclassified by the judges and by the Tax Administration as an ordinary taxable donation.

Furthermore, Relaxed mentioned that:

Étrennes” refers specifically to end of year/Christmas gifts, the relevant concept for tax purposes is “présent d'usage".

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