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Jul 1

Brits Buying and Living in French Property

Question: Are British people still allowed to buy property in France and live there full time? Colin.

Answer: Yes, indeed, we sell to British buyers every day of the week, and that has continued into this week of course!

The process of 'BREXIT' will potentially take a number of years to negotiate, and in the meantime nothing changes, British people are still moving to France to live.

So the consensus of opinion is that for now not much will change. The process of withdrawing from the EU will not be a speedy one, and the residency of those ex-pats living in France and elsewhere in the EU will no doubt form a part of that negotiation process.  

And of course we have a large number of French nationals who live and work in London (it is France’s 6th biggest city in terms of the French population).  

So there are people living on both sides of the channel whose lives will need to be accommodated. When I moved to France a residency permit known as the ‘Carte De Sejour’ was required; it was a relatively straightforward application process (or at least as straightforward as a French bureaucratic process can be!)  Perhaps this could be re-introduced for British residents in the future.

Clearly there are remain many questions to be answered, and fine details to be ironed out. But what is becoming apparent is that this will be a long process, possibly years in the making, and we will of course bring further news as and when it becomes available during the coming months.

But in the meantime life continues much as it always has done: the British have always lived, worked and retired to sunnier climes, and that will doubtless continue, even if some administrative aspects of live abroad may change.

I hope that helps reassure you somewhat.

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If so I will answer it....

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Jul 1

Capital Gains Tax in France

Question: Hi Alex, I have two apartments in Villefranche-sur-Mer, my question is, after owning them for 22 years are they both exempt from the capital gains tax in France or just one of them?

Thanks, Paul.

Answer: As I know you'll appreciate I am not an international taxation specialist, and so the advice I can give on this point will be of a general nature rather than specific to your personal circumstances.

In France CGT is paid on the sale of second homes, not on the sale of one's principal residence. So if you live full time in one of your apartments, and have done tax returns on earnings in France, then that is regarded as your principal residence and CGT is not applicable. However, if this is not the case and they are both second homes, then CGT is payable.

If you have been permanently resident in France and you are selling your principal home then any capital gain is fully exempt from capital gains tax and social charges.

In order to qualify the property must have been occupied by you on a habitual basis, although you need not actually be occupying it at the time of sale. However, if you leave the property before it is sold, you will only be entitled to claim main residence exemption if the property is sold within 12 months after you have ceased to use the property as your main home. In addition, you are not permitted to let out the property during the intervening period, or to leave other family members in occupation.

If you are selling an investment property, which does not qualify for the main residence exemption, you will benefit from progressive taper relief dependent on how long you have owned the property.

There are separate scales applying to calculate the gain subject to tax and the gain subject to social charges:

• the gain subject to tax is reduced by 6% for each year of ownership after the 5th year up to the 21st year. A reduction of 4% applies in the 22nd year, giving 100% relief after 22 years,so on the face of it it looks like you may well benefit from this exemption.

• the gain subject to social charges is reduced by 1.65% for each year of ownership after the 5th year up to the 21st year. A reduction of 1.60% applies in the 22nd year, followed by a reduction of 9% each year from the 23rd to the 30th year. This provides for 100% relief after 30 years, so it may be that there is a social charge element for you to pay.

As always I would advice taking tax advice specific to your circumstances, and of course these rules do change in France quite regularly, so it takes a tax professional to be fully up to date with the very latest developments.

I hope that has at least been of some assistance.

Have you got a question?

If so I will answer it....

Simply click on the image below that takes you to the "Ask Alex" page, fill out the form and I will get back to you very soon.

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Jun 29

Ask Alex!

Hi, Alex here!

At Cle France we get questions asked all the time and I don't think I can recall a question being posed that we could not answer or at the very least point our client in the right direction.

No doubt following the UK decision to leave the EU you may have a lot of questions surrounding this subject and indeed anything connected with searching for, viewing, making an offer, the buying process, owning a French property and moving to France etc.

If you have a question? I will answer it.

Simply fill out the form below and I will get back to you very soon.

NOTE: Scroll through these pages to see Previously Answered Questions.

Just Ask Alex

Cle France Ltd : Company No 7056720 : Registered address - 6/7 Castle Gate, Castle Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG14 1HD.

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Jun 29

Can Brits Still Move to France?

Question: Hi Alex, please could you tell if British people are still allowed to emigrate to France and acquire property. I ask you this because i would like to sell my properties in Britain and move to France.

Thanks, Philip.

Answer: Hi Philip, British people do not need to “emigrate” to France, it is not as complicated as that because within the EU countries there is free movement of people. The “Leave’ vote on the 23rd June has not changed anything at all, for the moment, until the PM or his successor invokes ‘Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty’.

At the moment of course there is an air of uncertainty but you will always be able to move to and to live in France, it just maybe that in the future there may have to be more paperwork involved and we do that with you anyway. At the moment it is looking more and more likely that the free movement of people within the EU will not change greatly if at all.

Also it is worth pointing out that everyday we sell French property to Americans, Australians, Russians, South Africans and many other people from various nations and NONE of these are even in Europe let alone the EU so, as I can see it, there is nothing to stop you following your plans and you will find, like many do and I did that living in France is a wonderful thing to do.

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Jun 27

Brexit - ExPats ask, what happens next for me?

Question: I am a British Ex-Pat already living in France, with a "Brexit" what happens next for me?

Answer: The short answer is... Nothing yet.

Following the vote to leave the EU and the inevitable shock waves in the UK, Europe and around the globe there has been surprisingly little done or agreed about the way forward.

David Cameron announced that he will stand down as Prime Minister, but not until October, so for now he will remain where he is to 'Steady the Ship' over the coming months. He said in his speech directed to Ex-Pats in the EU:

"I would also reassure Brits living in European countries, and European citizens living here, that there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances. There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold."

"We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union. This will need to involve the full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to ensure that the interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced."

Leaving the EU has to be negotiated, it is not an overnight thing, it may take many years and certainly at least two years. Even if the UK government invokes 'Article 50' of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty, it will take at least two years before the exit is agreed by the other Member States of the EU.

Mark D’Arcy the BBC’s parliamentary correspondent. said...

"Parliament would have to amend or repeal a series of other Acts, as well as 44 years’ worth of EU-derived secondary legislation, especially statutory instruments passed under Section 2(2) of the 1972 Act, which would have no legal effect after it had been repealed".

So, there are many steps to take but for now, and in the near future... nothing has changed.

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Countryside near Canal

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