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Best value MAPS of FRANCE, and keeping the children amused

Taking up residence in France?  Take advice early.

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

It is not difficult to appreciate why so many people fall in love with France and consider making it their home.  There are, however, some tax and financial essentials you need to be aware of and plan for if you are to get the best out of living in France.

While you should review all the various aspects of your wealth management when moving from one country to another, in France it is particularly important to look at the tax and estate planning implications nice and early.  The way you hold your assets can make a significant difference to how they are taxed as well as to inheritance issues.

Ideally you should take advice before you buy your property and make the move, so that you do not miss out any tax and succession planning opportunities. However it is never too late to review your position as there are often steps you can take to improve your tax situation.

Property ownership

There are various ways of owning property in France.  There is personal ownership in sole or joint names.  You could have a community marriage contract or insert a tontineclause in the French conveyance.   Alternatively, you could own the property in an SCI, a form of French property-holding company.

When deciding how to own your French property, you also need to take the strict French succession laws into account. The best option for you depends on a number of factors, such as your family situation (particularly if you have an unmarried partner or stepchildren); what you want to happen to your property on death; whether you will be a French or UK tax resident etc.

Tax planning

The French tax regime is completely different to the UK’s, not to mention very detailed and complex.  Anyone moving to France or recently arrived needs to be prepared for this.  There are various tax traps and many people pay more tax than necessary or get their tax planning wrong.  It is usually fixable, but of course getting it right from the outset makes life much easier.

What is tax-efficient in the UK is not usually tax-efficient in France, so you need to review your savings and investment structures.  The tax burden can be high in France, but you can usually take steps to reduce it, sometimes considerably, particularly on investment capital.

So take specialist cross-border tax, estate planning and wealth management, and as early as possible. It will prove invaluable and give you peace of mind that everything is in order as you get on with enjoying your new life in France.

Download a free copy of the ‘The Blevins Franks Guide to Taxes in France’.

The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here

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