It’s taxing

It’s been a bit of a shock for maison secondaire owners to learn that there’s a good chance that we’ll get hit next year by another tax, apparently 20% of the notional rental value of our houses. The logic is that we should pay our share of the cost of national infrastructure – the 2 taxes we pay already, the taxe fonciere and the taxe d’habitation, go towards local costs, I believe.

Obviously we should contribute towards the infrastructure since we benefit from all the advantages of living here part-time. However part-time is the significant word. Many people only spend a few weeks in the summer at their houses, not using the services at other times. They don’t really put much of a burden on services. It looks as though the tax will take no account of this.

There is concern that a new tax may discourage foreigners from buying in France. This could impact on the French economy in so many ways. Restaurants, supermarkets, DIY stores, tourist attractions would all feel the pinch if second home owners decided to desert France. Also many Brits in particular buy houses in need of renovation and then use local artisans (builders, plumbers, electricians etc) and local materials to do the work. Many of the houses they buy are those that don’t really interest locals, who often prefer smart new villas or flats. These houses would just linger on the market and decay.

Colombier is a good example – floors and ceilings needed replacing, electrics renewing, heating putting in – and that’s just for starters.

For many who have retired to France, already hit by worsening exchange rates and substantial rise in cost of living, a new tax could prove the last straw.

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