French property sale or Income? Register your tax refund claim now – or lose it.

French Rental property income?
French property sale?
Register your tax refund claim now.

There has been little except bad news for English people with French property investments over the past few years.

In a week when the newspapers have reported the opinion of the US Chief Executive of Titan International that “France might as well be a communist country” – there may at last be a gleam of light among all the black clouds.

The problem as you will know if you are an investor in French property – whether as a buy-to-let owner or someone who has recently sold a French holiday home – is that the French have been applying additional taxes, over and above normal income tax, of 15.5% to income from rents or to the base rate [of 19%] of capital gains tax.

This extra is called the “social contribution” and has no equivalent in the English Tax system. One can understand that French residents in France might be required to make social contributions to the infrastructure of France, but the argument seems harder to apply to citizens of other EU countries who already make contributions in their Home Country income tax, and council tax in respect of their main homes. Although English people are of course citizens of the European Union, they will receive no credit for French Tax (social contribution) against their UK tax bill.

It now appears [although the actual detail is somewhat vague] that a case currently proceeding through the courts of justice of the European Union (the case of Gerard de Ruyter) may decide that it is illegal under EU law for France to charge non-French residents with social contribution tax.

It seems that the case is not yet finally decided and it further seems that decision of one Judge in one case will not of itself immediately change the law of France nevertheless one point seems clear:
WHETHER OR NOT A TAX REFUND WILL BE DUE TO YOU, YOU WILL LOSE THE CHANCE OF IT IF YOU DO NOT APPLY THIS MONTH – ON OR BEFORE 31st DECEMBER 2014

It may soon be possible for English people who have been charged the social contribution to obtain a refund – but the even more clear likelihood is that the final date to lodge a claim in respect of tax levied/paid in 2012 or in 2013 is the last day of this current year 31st December 2014.

Please print this article and take it to your legal advisers who act for you in France for guidance as to how to make your claim to the French tax authorities.

Please be warned that time is fast running out.

And of course, do contact me if I can assist and whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation – at http://www.atkinsonnotary.com or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

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