SHARE
COPY LINK

TAX

France to slap hefty tax hike on holiday homes

Second home owners in France, including foreigners who own holiday homes, are set to be hit by a 20 per cent rise in the tax on their properties, it was revealed this week.

France to slap hefty tax hike on holiday homes
Second homes in France are set to be hit by a major tax hike. Photo: Vic Burton/Flickr

Owning a house in Paris, the French countryside or on the coast is a dream for many but it could soon become a little more costly to fulfil.

Tax on second homes in France could rise by 20 per cent, under new government plans to increase it in areas where housing is in short supply and prices are high, financial newspaper Les Echos reported on Tuesday.

The 20 per cent surcharge on the existing property tax – known as "taxe d'habitation" – for second homes would be applied to 30 zones across the country including Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts and Paris – where one in six apartments is believed to be a second home.

It is believed it would only apply to unoccupied homes, which have not been rented out.

The proposal is part of the government's supplementary budget for 2014 and it is estimated that it could bring in €150 million to those communes that apply it.

The French government claims it would also increase the availability of property to let by encouraging owners of second homes to rent them out when not in use rather than leave them empty.

The tax would also be used to raise funds for the affected communities, which would decide themselves whether to introduce the new levy. It would come into force on January 1st 2015.

Those involved in the property market have predictably reacted angrily to the proposal.

Jean Perrin, president of the National Union of Property Owners, said that real estate in France had become “a lamb to the slaughter”.

“It’s a new craze of this government to tax property," he said. "It is a mistake because it will increase the cost of real estate and punish owners who have worked hard to have a second home and make such an investment. Then they (the government) lie and say that this is to free up housing but that’s a fundamental error.”

Perrin said the “real reason” is to give money to communities, but added “It shouldn’t be a case of just transferring the load and saying ‘we’re going to save money’.”

Jean-François Buet, the president of FNAIM, France’s real estate federation also expressed his incomprehension.

“The market is already moribund and we are in the process of finishing it off,” he said. “What are they thinking? That those with second homes are going to sell their properties to avoid the taxes?

“No, they will just wait for the next elections, that’s all.  They can’t just govern by raising taxes,” Buet said.

Bernard Cadeau, the president of the ORPI group of estate agents said: “This is not how we will bring back confidence, which is the essential ingredient for the return of investment.

“What we need is a tax system that serves the economy, not the other way round.”

by Lindsey Johnstone

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

BREXIT

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Brexit hasn't just brought about changes in passport rules for humans, pets are also affected and now the French government has laid out the rules for pet passports for British second-home owners.

French government clarifies post-Brexit rules on pets for second-home owners

Pre-Brexit, people travelling between France and the UK could obtain an EU Pet Passport for their car, dog or ferret which ensured a hassle-free transport experience.

But since the UK left the EU things have become more complicated – and a lot more expensive – for UK residents wanting to travel to France with pets.

You can find a full breakdown of the new rules HERE, but the main difference for people living in the UK is that that they now need an Animal Health Certificate for travel.

Unlike the Pet Passport, a new ACH is required for each trip and vets charge around £100 (€118) for the certificate. So for people making multiple trips a year, especially those who have more than one pet, the charges can quickly mount up.

UK nationals who live in France can still benefit from the EU Pet Passport, but until now the situation for second-home owners has been a little unclear.

However the French Agriculture ministry has now published updated information on its website.

The rules state: “The veterinarian can only issue a French passport to an animal holding a UK/EU passport issued before January 1st, 2021, after verifying that the animal’s identification number has been registered in the Fichier national d’identification des carnivores domestiques (I-CAD).”

I-CAD is the national database that all residents of France must register their pets in – find full details HERE.

The ministry’s advice continues: “If not registered, the veterinarian may proceed to register the animal in I-CAD, if the animal’s stay in France is longer than 3 consecutive months, in accordance with Article 22 of the AM of August 1st, 2012 on the identification of domestic carnivores.”

So if you are staying in France for longer than 90 days (which usually requires a visa for humans) your pet can be registered and get a Pet Passport, but those staying less than three months at a time will have to continue to use the AHC.

The confusion had arisen for second-home owners because previously some vets had been happy to issue the Passport using proof of a French address, such as utility bills. The Ministry’s ruling, however, makes it clear that this is not allowed.

So here’s a full breakdown of the rules;

Living in France

If you are living in France full time your pet is entitled to an EU Pet Passport regardless of your nationality (which means your pet has more travel rights than you do. Although they probably still rely on you to drive the car/book the ferry tickets).

Your cat, dog or ferret must be fully up to date with their vaccinations and must be registered in the national pet database I-CAD (full details here).

Once issued, the EU Pet Passport is valid for the length of the animal’s life, although you must be sure to keep up with their rabies vaccinations. Vets in France usually charge between €50-€100 for a consultation and completing the Passport paperwork.

Living in the UK

If you are living in the UK and travelling to France (or the rest of the EU) you will need an Animal Health Certificate for your cat, dog or ferret.

The vaccination requirements are the same as for the EU Pet Passport, but an ACH is valid for only 10 days after issue for entry to the EU (and then for four months for onward travel within the EU).

So if you’re making multiple trips in a year you will need a new certificate each time.

UK vets charge around £100 (€118) for a certificate, although prices vary between practices. Veterinary associations in the UK are also warning of delays in issuing certificates as many people begin travelling again after the pandemic (often with new pets bought during lockdown), so you will need to book in advance. 

Second-home owners

Although previously some French vets had been happy to issue certificates with only proof of an address in France, the French government has now clarified the rules on this, requiring that pets be registered within the French domestic registry in order to get an EU Pet Passport.

This can only be done if the pet is staying in France for more than three months. The three months must be consecutive, not over the course of a year.

UK pets’ owners will normally require a visa if they want to stay in France for more than three months at a time (unless they have dual nationality with an EU country) – find full details on the rules for people HERE.

SHOW COMMENTS