Second home owners in France to face higher taxes

Published:  10 Jul at 6 PM
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The recently-elected President Hollande announced earlier this month that foreign owners of French properties are to face hikes in taxes up to the level of French nationals.

The news has dismayed the hundreds of thousands of UK citizens who own French property, either as a holiday home or as a let. Also announced was a one-off levy on wealthy households earning more than €1.3 million a year. The plan as announced will bring tax liabilities for foreign home owners in line with those levied on French nationals, ending the exemption from social charges previously enjoyed by non-French nationals.

For example, foreign property owners will now be charged a levy on the sale of any property calculated at 19 per cent plus a 15.5 per cent social charge.The tax on rental income is calculated at 20 per cent for foreign landlords who will now have to pay a 15.5 per cent social charge on top, bringing them in line with French landlords.

The new taxes have been included in an emergency supplementary budget and will be applied at the end of July. According to Patrick Delas, a French lawyer with Russel Cooke, the London law firm, a legal challenge may be possible.

Mr Delas is surprised these taxes are being forced on non-permanent residents who cannot benefit from the social charge, saying the French Constitutional Court may strike out the new law. UK citizens with property in France could also fall foul of the projected return to 2010 levels of the bands used to calculate an annual wealth tax as property and possessions such as cars are included in the wealth assessment.
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