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TECHNOLOGY

What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

If you get a shudder of horror every time you think about a French bureaucratic task, you may be surprised to hear that the country’s bureaucrats have set up something designed to make everyday tasks a little easier.

What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?
Image: FranceConnect screengrab

More than 25 million people living and working in France can now access 900-plus public and other services online, using a single user ID and passcode combination.

Any website that has the above FranceConnect logo means you can log in using your existing accounts, rather than having to set up a new account with a new ID and password every time you want to use a different online service.

Who can use it?

You need a French social security number, so this isn’t for visitors or second home owners. However if you live here and are working or registered in the French healthcare system you can use it, it is not reserved for French citizens. This needs to be a permanent social security number, not a temporary one.

You will find your social security number on your carte vitale health card or on you payslip.

What you can do
Using FranceConnect, you can access your tax and medical information, open a bank account; renew ID cards, French passports or driving licences; register your new car, or deal with utility bills.

More than 900 services are available to access via the site, including the newly launched section to download a version of your French vaccination certificate that works with the EU vaccine passport. 

How it works
To access services via FranceConnect, you need to already have an online account for one of the following online services in France:

Once registered with one of these sites, you can login to any website displaying the FranceConnect logo using the same ID and password that you use for that site.

Here’s a video, in French, to explain how it works.

If you moved to France recently and do not yet have an account on the tax website, you can apply for a tax ID number, called a numéro fiscal, before you have made a declaration. To do this, visit your tax office, or fill in the form here

Additional security
Whenever you log in, you will receive an email informing you of a log-in to your account. This is to help stop criminals accessing your account. Even if you do not see the email until later, you can still report any unauthorised log-in.

Member comments

  1. Been using it ever since it kicked off but it helps to use a password manager such as “Roboform” to help remember the login details.

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For members

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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