RE­FUND ON FEES

Living France - - The Essentials -

QBe­fore 1 Jan­uary 2015 all non-French res­i­dents had to ap­point a tax agent ( fis­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive). A fee of just over 1% of the sale price was paid to the agent de­ducted from the sale pro­ceeds by the no­taire on com­ple­tion. I be­lieve this was found to be il­le­gal un­der EU law for EU res­i­dents and the French gov­ern­ment has started re­fund­ing these fees to sellers. I sold my prop­erty at the end of 2013 but I’m not sure if a tax agent was in­volved. Would I be el­i­gi­ble for a re­fund too? PA­TRI­CIA GOODALL

ATax agents are a small num­ber of pri­vate ac­coun­tancy firms who have spe­cial ap­proval from the French gov­ern­ment to work out non-res­i­dents’ French cap­i­tal gains tax on sale and as­sist the no­taire in de­duct­ing it on com­ple­tion. Be­fore 1 Jan­uary 2015 they had to be ap­pointed in most sales.

How­ever, on 1 Jan­uary 2015 the French gov­ern­ment ac­cepted the re­quire­ment for EU res­i­dents to ap­point a French tax agent was il­le­gal un­der EU law and abol­ished the re­quire­ment. The French gov­ern­ment has re­cently started re­im­burs­ing these fees and we have been in­volved in suc­cess­fully re­cov­er­ing these fees for many UK sellers.

Peo­ple af­fected by this in­clude Bri­tish and other EU res­i­dents who com­pleted a sale of a French prop­erty be­tween 1 Jan­uary 2014 and 31 De­cem­ber 2014, and they may be able to re­claim fees paid to French tax agents.

If you are el­i­gi­ble, you will be able to re­claim French tax agents’ (fis­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive) fees which you paid on the sale. These were typ­i­cally 1% of the sale price and the no­taire usu­ally ap­pointed the tax agent, of­ten with­out telling you. This might ex­plain why you’re not sure whether a tax agent was in­volved in the sale of your own prop­erty in France.

It is un­clear whether or not those whose prop­erty sale was com­pleted be­fore 1 Jan­uary 2014 will re­ceive any fees back. This is un­clear as the French rules on pre­scrip­tion (time bar­ring claim) may ap­ply. It is likely the French gov­ern­ment will op­pose this and you will have to go to court in or­der to pur­sue this. Our view is that you can go back and claim for any sales be­fore 1 Jan­uary 2014, how­ever your claim must be lodged be­fore 31 De­cem­ber 2018. Our view is that you should not de­lay and claims should be lodged im­me­di­ately.

DAVID AN­DER­SON

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