Do I Need a Fiscal Representative (Représentant Fiscal) When I Sell My French Property?


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Do I Need a Fiscal Representative (Représentant Fiscal) When I Sell My French Property?

Charlotte Macdonald is a Senior Associate Solicitor in Stone King’s international and cross-border team. She answers legal and practical questions that are often asked by her clients in relation to France; whether that be buying or selling property in France, inheritance law, or how inheritance and capital gains tax are treated between the UK and France. Here, she looks at when a fiscal representative is required by a UK owner selling a French property.

Do I need a Fiscal Representative (Représentant Fiscal) when I sell my French property?

Under French law, broadly speaking, capital gains tax will need to be paid in France on any gains made on the sale of a property that is not your main home. This applies even where the seller is not resident or domiciled in France.

Since Brexit, if you own a property in France but are resident in the UK you will likely be required to appoint a fiscal representative on the sale of your French property.

What are Fiscal Representatives?

A fiscal representative is a tax agent, and their role is to provide a calculation of any gains or losses in relation to the sale of your French property. Many notaires will appoint a fiscal representative on your behalf, but if not, you will need to find one through an accredited private company.

Their fees usually fall between 0.3% to 1% of the selling price, and some will charge a flat rate. Notably, you will not be able to access the sale proceeds until your notaire receives confirmation from the fiscal representative that either no tax is payable or proof of payment of tax.

Do I have to appoint a Fiscal Representative?

Whilst normally, a non-French resident will need to appoint a fiscal representative, it is not always required. Some commonly listed exemptions, where a fiscal representative is not required, are listed below –

  • If you live in the EU or in an EEA country that has signed a mutual administrative assistance agreement with France.
  • If you have owned the property for over 30 years.
  • If the sale price does not exceed €150,000.

If you are married or in a PACS (the equivalent of a civil partnership in the UK), the threshold of €150,000 applies to both you and your spouse/partner because you will be considered to be a ‘single household’. On the other hand, if you are not married/PACSed and the property is owned ‘en division’, the threshold will be proportionate to your share of the property e.g. if owned 50/50, then no more than €150,000 each.

What do they require to carry out the tax calculations?

The fiscal representative will want to know (and see evidence) relating to the acquisition and sale values of the property, and any proof of allowable deductions (such as building receipts).

If you are a UK resident, the fiscal representative will also want ‘proof’ that you are affiliated with the health and social system in the UK so that they can apply a lower rate of social charges (in France, both capital gains tax and social charges can be levied on gains). This could be a letter or a form from HMRC confirming your National Insurance liability. You should check early on in the sale process exactly what your fiscal representative wants to see, as it can take some time to acquire the required paperwork from HMRC.

What steps should I take if I want to sell my French Property?

If you are in the process of selling your property, it would be sensible to start looking for a fiscal representative early on in the process. They do vary in cost and accreditation, so it is worth speaking with a few before instructing one.

As mentioned above, it is best to ask them exactly what documentation they require early on in the process. You will not be able to access the sale proceeds of your property until the notaire is satisfied that all tax has been paid – and the fiscal representative will not be able to confirm this to them until they have all the information that they require from you.

For more information please contact the international and cross-border team at Stone King LLP – Charlotte Macdonald, Dan Harris, Raquel Ugalde, Emma Seaton, Bryony Anning, or Marina Emmanouel, either by calling +44(0)1225 337599 or by emailing [email protected].

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