Steep tax-hike for second-home owners in France
If you've moved overseas or have a second home abroad, you may be used to calling several places home. After all, living abroad won't always mean completely cutting ties with your country of origin as you may still have family living there or own other property.
But when you own property abroad it's crucial to stay up to date with any tax legislation and law reforms in that country or you could be in for a nasty shock.
Do you own a second property in France?
If you are a Briton with a second home in France, you are likely to be affected by new changes introduced by President Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 national budget. Likewise if you are an expat in France and have bought a second-property there as a rental investment, the new tax reforms could mean significant extra charges for you.
Since being elected in May of last year, the youngest president in the country's history has launched several economy-boosting initiatives, and now he hopes to calm disruption in the French property market, caused by short-term rentals, by introducing a new surcharge.
The surcharge can add up to 60 per cent to the basic council tax rate, meaning a second-home owner's current average tax bill of €1,000 could rise to €1,600.
French Town Councils with a population of over 50,000 now have the option of imposing the tax charge, which means there are 1,151 councils who could participate.
The change has the potential to affect many people – France's National Institute of Statistics (INSEE) estimates there are 3.4 million second homes in the country, accounting for one in ten of all housing units. Paris alone contains 110,000 secondary houses, which may explain why the capital city put the tax reform into immediate effect as soon as it was authorised. Other councils were quick to follow: Bordeaux, Nice, and Saint Jean de Luz have all adopted the new law.
While the 200,000 British expats who have their main home in France will not be negatively affected by this legislation, those who have not yet moved to France but may have been dissuaded from choosing France as a destination for their expat retirement planning could experience a positive effect as a result of the reforms.
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, is currently seeking permission from the government to charge second-home owners in Paris an even greater 250 per cent surtax. She was quoted in the Times saying that the high number of properties in the capital being bought to be rented out (including the 80,000 flats available for rent on Airbnb) is responsible for driving up housing costs for families moving to the city with the intention of staying there.
Because the surcharge makes rental property less of an attractive option, it therefore could lead to much more affordable housing for owner-occupiers.
Financial planning for a move to France
So, hopefully, if you are planning a move France in the near future – perhaps you have recently got a job in Paris – you won't be faced with such high property prices and housing costs.
And once you've established your life in France – whether that's in a main home or second home – sound expat retirement planning, involving support and advice from a professional financial adviser, is key to having the best expat life possible without financial fears.
If you are considering a move to France, or perhaps you just require financial advice regarding how best to manage your property assets abroad, either way, a Blacktower financial adviser will steer you on the right path, fulfilling all your expat retirement planning and financial services needs.