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French actress Deneuve to sell €4m château

Famed French actress Catherine Deneuve has reportedly put her holiday home up for sale. The Château de Primard, located 75 km from Paris, will go on the market for a cool €4 million.

French actress Deneuve to sell €4m château
Catherine Deneuve's Château de Primard, which she is selling for €4 million. Photo: Sotheby's

The doyenne of French cinema Catherine Deneuve, aged 70, is selling off her holiday home, the 18th century Château de Primard.

The luxury property, located in Guainville, in the Eure-et-Loire department to the west of Paris, has been put on the market for €3.9 million according to reports in the French press.

(Catherine Deneuve has put her "holiday home" up for sale at €4 million)

The 1,200-square-metre château comes complete with a swimming pool, a caretaker’s house and “many additions” and stretches along the left bank of the Eure River, according to the advert in luxury estate agents Sotheby’s.

The main house includes eight bedrooms, a 50-square-metre kitchen and a sauna suite of 70 square metres.

It also includes grounds designed by the famous Belgian landscape gardener Jacques Wirtz, who was behind the Jardin du Carrousel in the Tuileries and the Elysée Palace gardens. 

The property has been put up for sale with a number of agencies both in France and abroad.

(It is not clear whether these farm animals are included in the price)  

Deneuve also owns an apartment in the sixth arrondissement in Paris but recently spoke of her need to get out into the countryside to relax.

The actress, famed for playing the roles of aloof, mysterious beauties in French films, was recently involved in a war of words with fellow French actress Sophie Marceau over President François Hollande’s affair with Julie Gayet.

After Marceau labelled Hollande “a jerk” and “a coward”, Deneuve hit back saying Marceau was “very rude”.

“I am astonished at the casual way in which people, including journalists, speak about the President of the Republic.”

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PROPERTY

The post-Brexit tax rules on selling second-homes in France

British second-home owners in France who want to sell their properties are being warned of an extra layer of administration - and expense - in place since Brexit.

The post-Brexit tax rules on selling second-homes in France

Brits wishing to sell property in France may now need to appoint a représentant fiscal (tax representative) in France in order to properly declare the sale to French tax authorities. 

Who?

This law applies to people who own property in France but do not live here – mostly that would be second-home owners but it could also apply to, for example, anyone who has inherited property.

This requirement has always been the case for non-Europeans such as Americans, Canadians and Australians and now also applies to Britons since the end of the Brexit transition period. People who live in another EU or EEA country are exempt.

The law is based on residency, not nationality. So if, for example, you have your main residence in the UK but have an Irish passport, you would still be covered by this requirement.

Exemptions

As well as EU residency, there are a couple of other exemptions;

  • If you sell your property for less than €150,000
  • If you have owned the property for more than 30 years (in which case the sale is exempt from capital gains tax and social security contributions).

What is a représentant fiscal?

This is simply a representative for tax purposes in France, and the person does not need specific qualifications in law or accountancy.

The following can be appointed:

  • A company or organisation already permanently accredited by the tax authorities;
  • A bank or credit institution operating in France;
  • The buyer of your property, if they are domiciled in France for tax purposes (they do not need to be a French citizen);
  • Any other individual who is domiciled in France for tax purposes (they do not need to be a French citizen) – in this case they will need to be accredited by the local authority;
  • If the property is in Paris, the individual will need to be accredited by the Île-de-France tax authorities – département de Paris-Pôle gestion fiscale Centre-Missions foncières, 6 rue Paganini, 75020 Paris. Tel: 01 53 27 46 45

If you decide to appoint an individual rather than a company as your représentant fiscale, bear in mind that the process can be quite complicated, so it would be better to check that they are confident in dealing with the tax authorities, to ensure that you don’t end up with unfinished business with the tax office.

If you chose a company, they will naturally charge for the service. 

Whichever representative you chose, you will need to provide a dossier of documents relating to the property sale and also confirming that you are a tax resident of a country outside France (tax returns, banking information, for example).

Will you have to pay tax on the proceeds of the sale?

If your main residence is not in France, you have no other income in France and you do not complete the annual French tax declaration you will not usually have to pay tax in France on the proceeds of the sale, provided your total estate is worth less than €1.3 million.

Properties worth more than €1.3million may be liable for the impôt sur la fortune immobilière (property wealth tax).

You will of course have to declare the income from the sale in the country where you are resident and, if applicable, pay capital gains tax.

What about French property taxes?

If you have owned property in France you will have been paying the taxe foncière and taxe d’habitation.

These will cease, but bear in mind that taxe foncière is charged based on who owned the property on January 1st of the relevant tax year. So if you sold your property in February 2022, you will still get a tax bill in autumn 2022 to cover that year. Only the following year will the new owner become liable, unless the sale contract for the property included an agreement to share or split outstanding taxes.

Find more information on the Internationals section of the French tax office website HERE or pay a visit to your local tax office in France. Find your local office by searching ‘Centre des Finances publiques’ plus the name of your commune – tax offices are open to the public on a walk-in basis and the staff are usually friendly and helpful. 

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