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French residency

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Apologies if this has been discussed before - I did check but couldn’t find anything .

As Brits , we now have until the end of September to make an application for French residency (not citizenship ). This gives us the right to stay Longe than 90 days in 180 .We are second home owners who, like many snowHeads retirees , spend significant time in France and view ourselves as having two homes , albeit a little more time is spent in the U.K (particularly this last year for obvious reasons). We don’t particularly want to be tied down to time limits on when we use our French place .

If we get French residency (having had our place
for over 5 years , paid property taxes etc it seems we qualify ) - are there any disadvantages? Do we in some way lose any British rights ? Are other snowHeads taking this step to avoid limits on the amounts of time they can spend in their French places ?

What’s the informed view on all this ? I would love to hear !
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If you are a resident you have to spend the majority of your time in France and pay tax in France.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
As far as I can see it is possible to have two residences and there is a dual tax treaty that then determines where you pay your tax but this may be getting into waters in which I am not an expert navigator ….
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You need to spend more than 6 months of the year resident in France and also need health insurance. When we initially applied for our carte vitale and also when we renewed it we had to provide bank statements which I assume they checked to see you were actually resident in France.
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Although it is probably worth talking to the British Embassy in France and the sous prefecture in the area you intend to become resident to confirm what is required.
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Many thanks Davidoff and skichamp - v helpful. It’s not really looking feasible , I fear.
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Many thanks Davidoff and skichamp - v helpful. It’s not really looking feasible , I fear.
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This might suit you sir

"..VLS-T (Visiteur) – The visa de long séjour temporaire ‘visiteur’ (VLS-T Visiteur) entitles you to stay for between three and six months, so this is the visa type that will be most useful to second home owners hoping to spend the warmer months of the year in France. You must leave France when it runs out but can reapply on an annual basis from the UK..."

https://www.completefrance.com/home/how-to-apply-for-a-long-stay-visa-in-france-1-6962749#:~:text=VLS%2DT%20(Visiteur)%20%E2%80%93,of%20the%20year%20in%20France.


---------------------------------------------------------

"..For visits lasting three to six months, those nationals must apply for a temporary long-stay visitor’s visa (VLS-T) to stay at their second home. For visits lasting more than six months, they must apply for a long-stay visitor’s visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS), because their second home becomes their de-facto main residence, at least for the year concerned. The VLS-TS is equivalent to a residence permit (lasting a maximum of 12 months) and enables them to apply for a residence permit at a prefecture two months prior to its expiry, in order to extend their period in France..."

https://uk.ambafrance.org/France-sets-out-post-Brexit-residence-rights-for-UK-nationals#:~:text=Depending%20on%20their%20situation%2C%20those,to%2031%20December%202020%20but
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Thank you - I will look carefully at these .
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davidof wrote:
If you are a resident you have to spend the majority of your time in France and pay tax in France.


And if, in retrospect, it turns out you didn’t spend the majority of your time in France in whatever timeframe is used, what happens then?
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@Red Leon, if you were applying under the Brexit withdrawal agreement you had to be resident in France before 31.12 2020. If you weren't spending sufficient time in France you obviously wouldn't be able to apply for French residency or be classed as a French resident.
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If you applied saying you were resident before the end of December 2020 you would have had to have completed your French tax return by now so I assume they will consider that if you can't provide a copy of your tax return you aren't actually residing here.
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@albob,'s links are to the process lots of second home owners are counting on. Note that the visa would be in addition to your visa-free 90 days in 180. No-one yet knows how liberally they will dish them out though.
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@Red Leon, Good question. If someone qualified for residency and got the visa, and started and continued to make returns and pay tax, would the french authorities know or care if they subsequently spent too long out of the country? Would they rescind the visa and turn down the tax income if they found out? Who knows.
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@shep, are they tracking passports or is it done on an honesty basis?
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@Nadenoodlee, they know when you're inside or outside Schengen, but moving around inside Schengen is not recorded (currently Skullie ). Re. informing the french authorities, it's not a question on the tax return, no doubt the small print you sign up to when you apply for a resident visa mentions the rules, I've no idea if there's an obligation to declare somehow if you don't susequently continue to fulfil the requirement.
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Nadenoodlee wrote:
@shep, are they tracking passports or is it done on an honesty basis?


The French tax man has access to your Smart Meter records amongst other things. Also passports are being stamped.

I imagine this would only come to their notice if they wanted to get rid of you.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
davidof wrote:
Nadenoodlee wrote:
@shep, are they tracking passports or is it done on an honesty basis?


I imagine this would only come to their notice if they wanted to get rid of you.

Yes, this.
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The double taxation treaty is only there to ensure you don’t get taxed twice on the same income. It doesn’t in and of itself determine where you based for tax purposes.

Suppose you were resident in France and earn income on you property in the U.K. you will be required to pay income tax on that income in the U.K. You will also have to declare this income on your French tax return, but you would then (roughly speaking) deduct the tax you paid to HMRC from the tax payable to the French government.

As others have said, if you want to stay in France for more than 182 days in a rolling 6 month period you would have to be resident in France (which includes for tax purposes). This may affect your state pension (eg it could be frozen).

Also, from a tax point of view, certain things will attract more tax if you live in France. Eg capital gains tax in the U.K. is 10-20% (and 18-28% for residential property), but it is up to 35% in France. So if you dispose of an asset in the U.K. and you are resident in France, you would end up paying a lot more tax than if you were resident in the U.K.
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My missus just sent me this text from a group she's in on F'book. Thought it might be of interest to some:

"Yes. You can remain in France without tax complications up to a maximum of 182 days (more or less 6 months but exactly 182 days) no more than that without having to declare your income in france.

This 182 days max can be made up of a combination of a visa (4-6 months visitor, non-working, non residential) and also the Schengen 90/180 day rule allowance, but always no more than 182 days.

The Schengen rule means that you can spend, in any rolling 180 days, a maximum of 90 days in France which includes the day you set foot in France arriving, and the day your feet are still in France, departing. Obviously you cannot use up all of this allowance if you also have a visa as you'd exceed 182 days per year in France. You don't have to apply for a visa: you could depend entirely on spending 90 days in any 180 days in France without the inconvenience of applying for a visa but in that case you must be extremely careful of not overstaying the 90 days in any 180 days in France as there are severe penalties for this. It is therefore advisable to use a Schengen Calculator (several available via Google) to calculate this time as the 180 days are not static but roll on as time goes by.

You can therefore combine your Schengen allowance (90/180) with a visa. As an example you could spend 30 days at Easter in France using some of your 90/180 allowance, then have say 120 days (4 months) in France on a visa, and then come back say October for another stay of 32 days, total 182 days a year. This is what we're intending to do as frankly you need a few days spare in case of emergencies at your French home, eg God forbid but a roof leak or burglary or similar.

NOTE when calculating your Schengen 90 days in any 180 you do not include the time spent in france on a visa. However again the whole lot must not exceed 182 days/year.

If you get a visa for the full six months remember that this is a continual stretch of time from an arrival date and 6 months later a departure date (during which you can travel back and forth to the UK) and you cannot therefore go to France at any other time.

Most people opt to go for eg 4-5 months during the summer, and then use the rest of the time (max 182 days total per year) to check on their homes at another time."
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Also a thought:

I'd always thought that at some point after retirement I'ld like to spend a full year in Chamonix. Just really so I could experience it as the seasons changed and the tourists came and went. This now seemed to be a lot trickier, pre Brexit it may have theoretically triggered a French tax return, but in reality no one was looking and if you just did one year then went back to more standard holiday home use you'd have been fine.

Now with greater scrutiny I will be sticking to below 182 days in a year.
BUT
Is that 182 days in any French tax year?
So if that runs 01/01 to 31/12 (no idea if it does) could you arrive in France 3rd July and leave 29th June (few days buffer there) and be ok? Subject to having the correct visitor visas to make that possible (even if that meant the occasional odd days out of the country to 'break' the stay).

Just a thought. What do you all reckon?
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@midgetbiker, well there's something I hadn't realised. I had assumed that with a visa you could exceed the 90 days in 180 no problem, and hadn't realised you might give yourself a tax liability.

I don't think at the moment we envisage staying more than the Schengen limits - once things are a bit easier, and if ski lifts function next winter - but good to know.
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@midgetbiker, Isn't there a retirement visa as well as the tourist one ?
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rjs wrote:
@midgetbiker, Isn't there a retirement visa as well as the tourist one ?


Don't know, not really done any research yet as it's still a few years off and the situation is too fluid to forward plan (I think a lot will change as the impact of Brexit sinks in).

Either way though it's avoiding tax residency on a stay of over 182 days (but still a temporary stay) I'd be looking at achieving. You would think there would be a mechanism for that, maybe the retirement visa is that, but for example the non fiscal Spanish visa is mainly aimed at retirees but it does involve tax residency.
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midgetbiker wrote:
rjs wrote:
@midgetbiker, Isn't there a retirement visa as well as the tourist one ?


Don't know, not really done any research yet as it's still a few years off and the situation is too fluid to forward plan (I think a lot will change as the impact of Brexit sinks in).

Either way though it's avoiding tax residency on a stay of over 182 days (but still a temporary stay) I'd be looking at achieving. You would think there would be a mechanism for that, maybe the retirement visa is that, but for example the non fiscal Spanish visa is mainly aimed at retirees but it does involve tax residency.


I think you need to assume that you will be deemed ‘tax resident’ in any country in which you spend > 182 days, with some rather complex rules for transition years. That’s certainly the case now.
Of course, if you were to become non-dom rather than just non-res, that’s a different kettle of expensive fish wink
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A friend was going through the process and discovered you may be liable for a retrospective wealth tax (on UK assets) in the future. That would hit him hard so he stopped the process.
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@Red Leon, I think non-dom and domicile anyway are very much a UK issue, and in any case it is fiendishly difficult to renounce UK domicile (in terms of UK taxation).
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rjs wrote:
@midgetbiker, Isn't there a retirement visa as well as the tourist one ?


Yes but it is a fiscal one not like the spanish one, you have to declare ALL income, like any other resident.
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MorningGory wrote:
A friend was going through the process and discovered you may be liable for a retrospective wealth tax (on UK assets) in the future. That would hit him hard so he stopped the process.


I'm not sure why it would be retrospective tbh.

Wealth tax is principally levied on property since the Macron reforms. This could be an issue for anyone with a house in the UK, at least a house in the SE of England. Or BTLers.

The company I work for does a lot of s/w for the government and I've had to work on bits and pieces so have some idea of the capabilities.

They can tell how many days you've been in the country, or if they can't it would be up to you to prove how long your stay was. However AFAIK they don't routinely process this information, it is only used if you've come onto the radar for some reason - like you've been engaged in some serious activity like drug smuggling.

If you are not on the radar then you would almost certainly go unnoticed.


If you submit a tax return you are on the radar: there will be checks to see if you have any overseas bank accounts or property from information supplied via the data exchange agreements (but maybe you didn't tell your bank you were a non resident now so they won't automatically supply that information). This is routine for all French tax payers. They may not know about your main house in the UK unless you rent it out and declare the earnings to the UK tax man. (I'm assuming all the data exchange agreements - AEOI - are all still in place post #brexit). The tax laws are difficult to negotiate, especially the French tax code, so you would need to find an accountant competent in legislation where you are based if you have a complex situation. If you are caught cheating they can go into a lot more detail about your lifestyle using a variety of automated tools but in general the penalties are not terrible, costly to some extent, yes but you would rarely go to prison.

TLDR; if you don't tell anyone in the UK you are a French tax resident it is likely the French tax man won't get any information


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Mon 16-08-21 9:37; edited 8 times in total
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@davidof, BTLers??
I am sure it will be clear as soon as you explain.
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Pamski wrote:
@davidof, BTLers??
I am sure it will be clear as soon as you explain.


BTL - Buy to Let.
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Idris wrote:
rjs wrote:
@midgetbiker, Isn't there a retirement visa as well as the tourist one ?


Yes but it is a fiscal one not like the spanish one, you have to declare ALL income, like any other resident.


You have to (declare global income) with the Spanish non fiscal visa too, I think the non fiscal bit just means you cannot generate earned (as opposed to investment) income in Spain, ie don't take a job a Spaniard could have.
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@davidof, of course!
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@davidof, Dunno, but that's what he says and he's a smart guy!
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Problem between getting ensnared in another country's tax system is that you don't quite know the rules nor the rules of engagement. You might find yourself literally doing eveything by the book, where local nationals very much ignore many aspects, or alternately making poor judgements over what to be cavalier about. That's why corporate expats generally have support complying with tax requirements in host countries as part of their package.

On the fly under the radar part - it can presumably be triggered by many things. A bad car accident with other vics where the gendarmerie suddenly take an interest in your status in the country, planning dispute with a neighbour etc?
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@Dave of the Marmottes, we know a few people that pay UK and French tax and there looks to be some advantages with getting an allowance from both countries, our situation is that we pay tax on the pensions at source, and our small property portfolio rentals will again be taxed in the UK, our income from our Internet work will be the only income that we'll declare as being French income.

The five-year wealth tax is on our radar, though it's what you declare!!

Friends of ours who live in a camper-van in France managed to get residency so it's not too complicated Laughing

It's the Carte-Vitale that we're still waiting on which is based on my OH's reciprocal S1 (health agreement) and as the spouse, I too will get a Carte-Vitale, when we started all this, I thought that I'd have to take out private health insurance.
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I'm not sure you get the choice - if you are French resident you need to declare all your income including UK received pension and property income. You then get credit for UK taxes paid against your French tax.

French income tax information
Permanent residence in France are required to pay income tax on their worldwide income. One of the major differences between income tax in France and income tax in the UK is that, unlike in the UK, income tax in France is calculated based on the household income – not the individual’s (Foyer fiscal in French).

from https://www.expertsforexpats.com/expat-tax/expat-tax-advice/tax-in-france-for-expats/
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Well there's clearly more sharing of data between FR & UK than there used to be. About 4 years ago I had to supply my UK National Insurance Number to the French bank I use.

This year, when I did my UK tax return on line, up popped the statement "we understand you have property interests overseas do you have any income to declare". I don't, but I suspect they may ask for more details in the future. And ultimately, when I sell my pad, i will have to declare the capital gain.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
I'm not sure you get the choice - if you are French resident you need to declare all your income including UK received pension and property income. You then get credit for UK taxes paid against your French tax.

French income tax information

from https://www.expertsforexpats.com/expat-tax/expat-tax-advice/tax-in-france-for-expats/


That's correct. Your basic state pension and serps attract a lower rate of tax but everything needs to be declared.

Fortunately I don't have to worry about wealth tax. Very Happy
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Sorry should have been clearer, there's tax declared and tax to be paid, from what I understand.

So my French Accountant takes all that we have paid in tax for the UK and will declare that, then there's the tax I need to pay on my French sourced income if that makes sense?
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