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When am I a "cross-border commuter" from / to France?

Cross-border commuters within the meaning of the double taxation agreement between Germany and France are persons who work in the border area of a contracting state and have their permanent place of residence, to which they generally return every day, in the border area of the other contracting state. The salary is then tax-free in the country of employment and can only be taxed in the country of residence.

For persons residing in Germany, the border area of each contracting state comprises the municipalities whose territory is wholly or partly no more than 20 km from the border. For persons living in the French border departments of Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin or Moselle who work in German municipalities, the cross-border commuter regulation also applies if the place of work is wholly or partially no more than 30 km from the border. The list of municipalities can be viewed at the French or German tax authorities (see BMF letter dated 16.11.2021, BStBl I p. 2230).

If an employee does not return to their place of residence every day or is employed at workplaces outside the border zone on full working days, the cross-border commuter status is not lost if

  • the employee is employed in the border zone for the entire calendar year and does not return to his/her place of residence or work for his/her employer outside the border zone for a maximum of 45 working days during this period, or
  • if the employee is not employed in the border zone for the entire calendar year, the days of non-return or work outside the border zone do not exceed 20% of the total number of working days in the employment relationship(s), but in no case exceed 45 days.

The working days to be regarded as harmful for cross-border commuter status (maximum 45 working days) include, for example, business trips outside the border zone lasting several days and also one-day business trips outside the border zone if the activity is carried out outside the border zone for the entire working day (for further information, please contact the tax office)

A harmful day is not to be assumed just because the employee's working hours - due to the starting times or the duration of the working hours - extend over more than one calendar day (e.g. for shift workers or personnel with night shifts).

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