Emmanuel Macron has hit Brits who own second homes in France with a rise of up to 60 percent in council tax charges, according to reports.
British owners of properties in European Union countries have already been hit by post-Brexit restrictions on how long they can stay without a visa.
But the latest move by the French government has been described as a ‘double whammy’ by those affected, with the higher rates called ‘galling’ by some of the 86,000 British households that own second homes in the country.
According to The Times, pensioners – who once spent several months of their year in French holiday homes – are particularly irritated by the EU residency restriction, which states Brits can only stay for 90 days in a 180-day period.
Now they say the latest intervention means they are being forced to pay more residency tax on homes that they can’t even live in for half of the year.
Emmanuel Macron has hit Brits who own second homes in France with a rise of up to 60 percent in council tax charges, according to reports
The Times reports that the minimum increase in residency tax (one of France’s main two property taxes, similar to the UK’s council tax) will be 7.1 percent.
However, with 3,399 councils being given permission to apply a surcharge, this figure could be much higher and rise by up to 60 percent for some.
Many of the councils listed are in regions that are popular with Brits who own French holiday homes, such as Brittany, according to The Times.
Before the change, residence tax was paid by all of France’s homeowners, and last year was an average of €772 (£660) for a house and €941 (£800) for a flat.
But under Macron’s reform, they will now only be imposed on those who own two homes in an attempt to dissuade people from using properties as their second homes in areas where locals struggle to rent and buy.
Steven Jolly, a First World War battlefield guide who owns a second home in Normandy, complained to The times about the increase.
He said it was particularly painful in light of the restrictions on how long Brits can now stay in France and other EU or Schengen countries.
‘If you are paying more taxes for a property and you are not allowed to go there when you want it adds insult to injury,’ he told the publication.
Taking last year’s national average residence tax of €772 for houses and €941 for flats, then a 60 percent increase would mean second home owners would be paying more than €1,200 and €1,500 on their houses and flats respectively.
Of course, this would be even higher in areas with an above average residency tax.
Initially, the surcharge was limited to 1,136 of France’s councils – mostly in big cities and tourist resorts. But it has now been expanded to 2,263 rural authorities.
In Brittany, 156 councils have been given permission to increase the residence tax by up to 60 percent. About 12 percent of the region’s properties are second homes.
With Brits owning about 8,900 homes in the region, many will be hit by the tax rise.
Things could get even worse for British owners of French homes, too.
The Times reports that the country’s local tax, called the property tax – which applies to both main and second homes – is also set to rise.
Under Macron’s reform, the residence tax will now only be imposed on those who own two homes in an attempt to dissuade people from using properties as their second homes in areas where locals struggle to rent and buy.
In Paris, for example, the city council has decided on a 51.9 percent rise.
And it is not just Brits who are angry and frustrated at the tax rises.
There have been a number of legal challenges against the changes, which some owners have described as excessive, presenting yet another challenge to Macron.
The increase in the property tax is meant to cover inflation (which in France rose to 5.2 percent last year, according to local reports). However, second home owners will note that a potential 60 percent rise far outpaces this.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.