We are one of the most comprehensive and experienced wealth management companies around and our range of holistic financial planning services covers all your needs wherever you are in the world.
With a central European location and the port of Calais only a stone’s throw away from Dover, France is an accessible as well as popular destination. Offering the French Riviera in the South, the iconic cosmopolitan city of Paris towards the North, and fantastic skiing in the Alps to the west, not forgetting the beautiful wine regions of Bordeaux, Bergerac and the Loire Valley, France is varied, beautiful and has something to offer everyone from holidaymaker to expat.
France’s slower pace of life is particularly attractive to the retired expat community with this demographic accounting for 12% of the country’s population, considerably higher than the global average of 8%. However, this doesn’t mean that France should be overlooked by younger, working expats, as cities such as Lyon, Nantes and Marseille, Bordeaux and Toulouse all offer vibrant city living and excellent job opportunities.
It is important, however, to ensure you are prepared financially before making the move; to avoid fines or other costly consequences, you will need to check you are paying the correct tax, have established residency, and that your investments are still efficient after moving.
With our holistic range of financial planning services, our experienced advisers can help you with everything from inheritance planning to advice on tax efficiency, allowing you to relax, knowing that your finances are in safe hands.
Establishing where you have permanent residency is crucial to determining other aspects of your financial planning, such as taxation.
You will be classified as a French resident if:
- Your primary home is in France.
- You spend more than 183 days in the country during the course of the year.
- You spend more days in France than in any other country.
- France is where you conduct the majority of your economic activity.
Similarly to many countries in the EU, France has in place a Double Tax Treaty with the UK. This is in place to ensure that you are primarily tax resident in only one of the two countries at one time if your time is divided between both. However, we still recommend seeking the assistance of a local tax adviser, as it is still not automatically guaranteed that you will be paying the right amount of tax.
Living in France
There are many compelling reasons for British expats to move to France. From the famed wine and cuisine, to the culture and bustling street life, and the beauties and luxuries of the French Riviera; France truly has a lifetime of experience to offer anyone.
However, although France can be a great place for UK expats to settle, making sound financial arrangements can be complicated. For example, it’s advisable to obtain guidance related to UK wealth management, investments, Pensions, UK QROPS compliance or inheritance tax planning.
Ensuring advice that takes full account of all the issues, is essential to achieving your wealth management objectives in France.
Yvette and I moved to France in summer 2017. We have been in touch with many of the well known names who offer advice on tax affairs, financial planning and transition from UK to France. Sadly, our experience has been that communications with these people dry up when they realise that we have modest assets. We then encountered Rosemary Sheppard, of BlacktowerFM – what a refreshing change!
Fast, efficient, focussed, heard what we wanted and acted accordingly. At no time did we feel pressured into buying potentially unwanted services (just as well, that would not have worked with us!).
I would recommend anyone making the transition to France to contact Rosemary, or her colleagues at BlacktowerFM, for pragmatic, focussed advice. And we will be in touch with Rosemary in the future for all our ongoing financial planning needs. Thank you, Rosemary!
Benefits of living in France
Living and working in France is a dream for many, due to its abundance of culture, and mixture of big cities, charming towns, and breath-taking seaside resorts. In fact, moving to the other side of the Channel can result in several benefits.
The French are renowned for their refined food and drink. Wherever you settle in France as an expat, you’ll get to enjoy regional specialities, such as Coq au Vin, Bouillabaisse, and Baeckeoffe. You should also take some time to sample delicious French wine and champagne.
Excellent education system
If you’re moving your family over to France, rest assured that the French education system is one of the best in the world. Starting in creches at the age of two, through to the baccalauréat (the high school leaving certificate examinations); more than 50% of students continue with their full-time education between the ages of 18-21.
Slower pace of life
Whilst not relevant for Paris, the rest of France has a distinctly more relaxed approach to life. Most employees enjoy long lunch breaks of up to two hours; and many shops will shut during lunchtime and on Sundays, to encourage families to spend quality time together – something expats in France really enjoy.
Best cities to move to in France
Whether you prefer the bright lights of a big city, or a peaceful country retreat, rest assured that if you choose to move to France, you’ll find the ideal area that suits your needs and requirements.
- Population: 2,161,000
Any expat in Paris will tell you that living there is entirely different from visiting as a tourist. However, its history and charm shines through, making Paris a rather popular choice for expats settling in France.
The City of Lights is full of opportunities, and is a major hub for fashion, arts, finance and science; as well as being home to many international organisation headquarters, including UNESCO, and the International Chamber of Commerce.
When it comes to finding a place to live, you’ll need to choose an arrondissement. The 11th and 17th arrondissements are popular amongst professionals, whereas the 12th, 15th and 16th arrondissements are more family-oriented. If you’re looking for an expat feel, then the 14th arrondissement is the ideal place.
- Population: 861,635
If you love the bright lights of Paris but yearn for sunnier climates, then Marseille is the ideal alternative. Part big-city, part sleepy fishing port, Marseille has undergone a huge transformation over the years.
Hugely popular with expats in France because of the large expanse of R&D positions, despite having a higher than average unemployment rate of 12%, there are still many opportunities here.
When it comes to choosing where to live, Longchamp in the fourth arrondissement is popular amongst families, whereas Cours Julien is a favourite with professionals.
On your weekends, you’ll be able to while away the time at the Old Port, hopping between the different cafes and restaurants; or if you’d prefer to go somewhere further afield, head to Calanques National Park to discover beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea.
- Population: 277,270
Look at the twee timbered buildings and you might think you’re in a quaint German town, but that’s what makes Strasbourg so unique: nowhere else will you find a place that embraces its fusion of France and Germany.
France’s second largest financial hub after Paris, it accounts for two thirds of total jobs in the city; with The University of Strasbourg a large employer too.
You’ll likely spend most of your time off in Strasbourg’s beautiful Old Town, complete with an imposing Gothic cathedral; or sampling the flavoursome Alsatian cuisine, such as tarte flambee.
Managing your finances in France
To make the most of your time living in France, it’s a good idea to have your finances in order – and that means ensuring that you have access to the relevant pensions, tax, inheritance and wealth management advice.
Here at Blacktower, we work closely with our clients in France to ensure they can make positive choices to help improve their financial situations. To find out more about how we can help you, call us on +33 638 869 970, or fill in the form above.
Click below for further information on:
Wills and Estate Planning in France.
France, like every country across the EU, has its own unique taxation system, and the amount you will be liable to pay will depend on your own personal circumstances. Some taxation categories that might apply to you are:
- Income Tax
- Social Charges (made up of four different taxes)
- Wealth Tax
- Capital Gains Tax
Lifetime gifts are potentially liable for succession tax as well as gifted assets, regardless of who these items are given to and where that individual resides.
Unlike in the UK, where inheritance tax is paid by the estate, in France, this is paid by the beneficiaries and must be paid within six months of the donor’s death. Beneficiaries are also not permitted to sell any assets to pay this tax.
The stress of the process for your beneficiaries can be drastically reduced with adequate planning and advice from an experienced adviser, especially if you possess assets in both the UK and France, as this can complicate things significantly.
Establishing tax efficiency by checking whether your investments are still viable when moving to France is crucial to ensuring the preservation and growth of your assets. It is easy to assume that what is tax efficient in the UK will be tax efficient in France, but this is not necessarily the case.
For example, ISAs and Premium Bonds are not taxed in the UK, but they would become taxable once you relocate to France, possibly making them inefficient investments.
The best way to ensure your investments are generating the best possible returns is to consult an experienced adviser who is familiar with the tax systems in your local area.
There is no denying that arranging the transfer of your financial arrangements overseas can be stressful – as well as costly if done incorrectly. However, this should not be something that prevents you from pursuing your dream life in France, regardless of which region you have chosen to make your new home.
In order to secure a robust financial future for yourself and your family, financial planning is essential. To get the most out of your savings, investments and pensions to provide yourself with peace of mind, get in touch today with one of our experienced advisers and start protecting your horizon in France.