A few days ago the new French President, Francois Hollande, announced a new tax on foreign-owned second homes something that has a direct impact on those who want to do the Peter Mayle thing part-time. This article in the Telegraph gives the particulars:
On Wednesday (July 4th), the French government announced it was to increase taxes on foreign-owned second homes. Tax on rental income would rise from 20 per cent to 35.5 per cent, and capital gains tax on property sales would rise from 19 per cent to 34.5 per cent. The extra in each case is being labelled a "social charge".
These taxes are in addition to the basic property taxes that everyone pays (residents and non-residents): the taxe fonciere (paid by the property owner) and the taxe d'habitation (paid by whoever occupies the property - renters or owners).
The Brits are not amused. The British government is likely to challenge it and the stories in the UK press have an interesting flavor exemplified by the title of the Telegraph piece, "Francois Hollande announces French tax grab on holiday homes." Tax grab? Interesting choice of words....
The French press (from what I have read) seems to be saying, "So, what's the problem?" This article from Le Figaro, Les Anglais en France peu inquiets d'une possible taxe (the English in France not really worried about a possible tax) shoots back by quoting British residents here who seem to be quite sanguine about the whole business and consider this a small price to pay to realize their French dream.
Who's right and who's wrong here? No clue. In the race for revenue, this is low-hanging fruit - it only impacts foreigners here who are not residents and cannot vote and it's likely to be very popular with the French public. I was struck by this comment in the Telegraph article, "The plummeting pound meant that the English had almost disappeared from the Dordogne house market. With this, it's as if they want to totally kill off the foreign home owner market in France." Well, not necessarily but it's clear from the various remarks I've heard over the years from friends and family here (French) that they are not entirely comfortable with the British invasion of small towns and villages in rural areas of the Hexagone.
As an American here I plan to stay out of it and watch the whole business unfold from the sidelines.
Should be interesting to watch - European tribal politics at their finest. :-)