Ask the experts
Whether you’re planning your move to France, or are already living out there, our panel of professionals aims to keep you fully informed with the best advice for every eventuality
SECOND HOME TAXES
QWe have a cottage in Normandy and spend as much time as we can there. We are both retired and only have our pension and annuities which we pay tax on in England. This coming year, we plan to spend 223 days in our second home in France which would be spread out over the year. Will this mean that we would be considered French residents? This is not something we would necessarily want to do. Wendy and Tony Christopher
AThe rules governing tax residence in both the UK and France are complicated, but it is important to see how they would apply in your personal circumstances, since you cannot choose where you are tax resident. You are deemed to be a tax resident of France if at least one of the following points apply: 1) France is your main residence and the place where you spend the majority of your time, regardless of whether or not you spend periods of time away. This is the rule the French authorities will rely on most. 2) France is your lieu séjour principal, your principal place of abode. This usually means you spend more than 183 days in France per calendar year. Usually, the French tax authorities will accept an individual as being a non-French resident if you have spent more days in one single other country than France. 3) Your principal activity is in France, e.g. your occupation is in the country or your main income arises in France. 4) France is the country where you have most
ROB KAY of your substantial assets (centre of economic interests).
If you are planning to spend 223 days in France, you would clearly meet the second condition above and therefore would be considered tax resident in France. If you spend the rest of the year in the UK, it is likely that you would be considered resident also under the UK rules. If you are considered resident in both the UK and France, you would have to apply the tiebreaker test in the UK/France double-tax treaty to work out which country has the right to treat you as resident. It is always risky to rely on the treaty and, if you want to avoid becoming French tax resident, it would be safer to limit your cumulative number of days in France to below 183 days in the calendar year. ROB KAY
QMy wife and I are moving to France later this year. We are both early retirees and wondered what our healthcare options are, as I believe the S1 form is no longer issued by the UK government? Paul Milner
AIn order to reside habitually in France, you must have health insurance and in the absence of such, you will be invoiced for any medical treatment received. In January 2016, a new health law called La Protection Universelle Maladie (PUMA) came into force aiming to assist people with healthcare payments. The reimbursement is subject to a number of conditions. To qualify,
exclusivehealthcare.com you must have lived in France for three months and be resident there for six months out of the year. If you are employed, with a regular salary, your health tax is deducted from your income whereas retirees have no healthcare costs to pay.
If you are granted Form 735 affiliation by your statutory health office, any health contribution charges due will be sent to you directly by your tax authority. Each individual must consult their relevant statutory health office in order to get official answers to any questions concerning their affiliation. For further information, you should consult the official site ameli.fr.
If, for whatever reason, you are unable to access this healthcare scheme, you could go down the route of private health insurance.
Health insurers may be able to propose a private health policy to suit your situation and applications for them are subject to completing a medical questionnaire. Going