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Other Taxes

France - Other Taxes


There are a number of different taxes which apply to those who are living in France. Wealth tax is applied to both residents and non-residents who have assets. Wealth tax is referred to as ISF (impot de solidarite sur la fortune). For French residents this does not just apply to assets in the country but all over the world. The tax also takes into consideration the wealth of everybody in the house. The wealth tax will take into consideration any taxation treaties that are in place with other countries. Allowances are given for each child under the age of 18. Assets that are taken into consideration include cars, houses, jewellery, shares and bonds. There are also a number of items which are exempt from the wealth tax such as anything which is needed to run a business, pictures and other works of art, antiques with an age of more than 100 years, pension funds and cash (for non-residents). In 2010 wealth tax was only payable on assets worth more than €790,000.

Succession tax is a combination of inheritance and gift tax. This is paid by each individual who receives a gift or something in a will. This will depend on the value of the items or cash and the relationship that they have with the benefactor. These things are only taxable if the benefactor was resident in France at the time of their death or if the items being bequeathed are located within the country. There is no tax on items passed on to a spouse or those couples in a civil partnership if the items are an inheritance, but spouses are still liable if the items are a gift. A similar exemption can be applied to siblings who are not married and who are aged over 50 years or have a disability and have living with the deceased during the previous five years. There are differing rates of this tax for those who are a child of the benefactor, other relative or not related at all. Deductions are made on the value of property if it is being lived in by the surviving spouse or children. The taxes must be paid within 6 months of the death.

A separate gifts tax is applicable to those gifts that are formally passed on by deed or by the law. A gift can be made then taxed when the donor passes away and it can be calculated with any further inheritance. Alternatively the gift can be taxed and paid immediately.

Residents and non-residents have to pay local property taxes. The first owner of any property will be the one to have the property registered for taxes. Subsequent owners do not need to inform the authorities as the notary has to do this as part of his property transfer duties. Bills are sent out once a year and if they are not paid by the due date then penalties of 10% of the total bill amount are payable. The ‘taxe d’habitation’ is a tax on the occupier of a property. If you own a house and rent it out to a tenant then that person will pay this tax. This tax goes to the local authorities and is based on the possible rental value of the property. This tax can also be paid on caravans and mobile homes. If you are on a low income or have dependents then you may qualify for a number of deductions and more details can be obtained on this from the Mairie.

There is also the ‘taxe fonciere’ which is paid by the owner and is charged irrespective of who is living in it. This tax has 2 sections, one payable on the land and one on the buildings. The building part is payable on any habitable dwelling on the property. New-build homes are exempt for two years.

VAT is known as ‘taxe sur la valeur ajoutee’ in France and you may see it written as TVA. This is payable on goods and services and is already included in prices. There are three rates of this tax. 19.5% is the standard rate, but a rate of 5.5% is applied to medications, foodstuffs, books, food in restaurants and home improvement works. A special rate of 2.1% is applicable to some types of medications which are reimbursed by the social security department and press publications.

Capital gains tax is much more complicated than in other countries as there are differing rates and regulations for different types of assets. For most people it will only apply with the sale of a property and in France it is only applied to second homes. If you sell your main residence you are not liable. If you are disposing of any assets in France then your first port of call should be an accountant who will be able to tell you which category these fall into and how much tax you will have to pay.


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