UK expats with second homes in France hit by huge property tax hike

Published:  13 Apr at 6 PM
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Second home owners across France, many of whom are expats, are facing swingeing tax increases on their properties.

Following his election, President Macron made it clear he would increase France’s tax d’habitation payable by all holiday and second home owners across the entire country. Paris, Bordeaux, Nice and Saint Jean de Luz have already taken advantage of the new tax law, doubling the charge in many areas. It’s not known how many second homes and holiday lets are owned by expats planning to eventually retire to France, but the increased financial burden has come as a shock. Over a thousand more local authorities heading up towns with a population of over 50,000 now have the right to increase the tax.

Town halls in a number of French citues are seeing the increased level of tax as a means to crack down on Airbnb-style rental platforms as local authorities believe online letting is resulting in more purchases of buy-to-let properties which are left empty during the slow season. France has between three and four million second homes, with property prices rising due to the demand for rental income from investment purchases. Some 110,000 are located in Paris, with the annual tax of €1,000 now doubled and netting around €200 million for the city’s finances.

Ordinary home owners now pay no property taxes as promised by Macron, with childless couples, citizens earning less than €48,000, couples with one child earning less than €54,000 and singles with an income of less than €30,000 all exempt from the tax. For UK expats with second homes who’re planning to retire to France, there are no indications as yet as regards the Brexit effect on their plans. However, should the tax be applied in their area and they’re unable to enter France without a visa, the resulting glut on the market of second homes could well effect local house prices and the economy.
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