Britons who own second homes in France are facing substantial tax increases, as the French government seeks to boost revenue through higher taxes on additional properties. This move is causing concern among the 80,000 Britons affected by these changes.
Impact on Residency Tax:
The latest announcements reveal that the minimum residency tax, comparable to the UK’s council tax, will be raised to 7.1 percent. However, this figure could climb significantly higher, potentially reaching a staggering 60 percent, as 3,399 local councils have been granted permission to levy surcharges.
In response to these new tax laws, many Britons are contemplating selling their second properties in France to avoid the substantial financial burden.
Paris-based journalist David Chazan has shed light on the situation, suggesting that French President Emmanuel Macron perceives Britons as a “soft target” and that sympathy is unlikely to be extended to those facing these new charges. Chazan notes, “They are a soft target. No one is going to feel sorry for those who have got enough money to afford a second home.” Additionally, second-home owners are unlikely to engage in the street protests commonly seen in France, making this tax increase an effective means of generating revenue.
While the residency tax increase had already stirred anger, the discretionary powers granted to local councils to impose surcharges ranging from five to 60 percent have intensified the outcry. This policy applies not only to towns and villages but also to rural areas.
Chazan emphasizes that the tax increase reflects a “growing feeling among people in areas that are very popular with second home owners that they are not themselves popular.” He adds, “Locals feel that they drive house prices too high and make them unaffordable for local people,” which contributes to their acceptance of the government’s actions.
No Disdain for Britain:
Contrary to suggestions that President Macron’s stance is rooted in a dislike for Britain, Chazan asserts that the tax increase is a manifestation of Macron’s frustration with Brexit.
As Britons with second homes in France grapple with these tax hikes, the debate surrounding the financial burden and its implications for the housing market continues. It remains to be seen how this policy will impact the relationship between British property owners and the communities where their second homes are located.