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CGT and social charges applied to rental income and investments in France

By Amanda Johnson
This article is published on: 14th September 2014

I often get asked to explain how French Capital Gains Tax is applied and when & if they can expect social charges to be levied on their investments. These are two very interesting areas for expats:

Capital Gains tax

A capital gain arises when an asset has been sold for more than it was originally bought for. For example if you originally invested £50,000 in a unit trust and now sell it for £75,000. Your gain is £25,000 and therefore has a potential liability for Capital Gains Tax. Different levels of relief apply depending on how long you have held this investment, so not all of the gain is subject to tax.

Capital Gains Tax is also due is when a house is sold for profit which isn’t your primary residence. You may live in France permanently in rental property however, if you have sold your UK home and made a profit, this profit is subject to Capital Gains Tax in France. This applies even if it is the only property you own. Again there are different levels of tax relief depending on how long you have owned the property.

There are tax efficient investments and savings for expats that shelter your liability to capital gains and now you are living in France you should be taking advantage of them.

Social Charges

Social Charges are applied to all income, irrespective of where it is earned. There are as several exceptions to this, namely Government & UK State Pensions. If you rent out property in the UK, although you may pay your income tax in the UK you will have to pay Social Charges on the income in France. Social Charges also apply if you receive an income from savings, investments or a private pension.

There is a double taxation treaty in place which means you won’t pay income tax twice when you complete your tax return here in France but income tax should not be confused with Social Charges.

Social Charges can also be charged on certain Assurance Vies’ and this depends on the type of fund that you are invested in. If your Assurance Vie is invested in a Fonds en Euros, where growth is physically applied periodically, social charges will be due. This is not the case on several other Assurance Vie options, where social charges are only levied once a withdrawal is made & only apply to the gain proportion of the withdrawn amount.

If you have existing investments whether in France or in the UK it is worth contacting me to chat about the most tax efficient way to hold your savings and keep the tax you pay to a minimum.

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Article by Amanda Johnson

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