Since Brexit, UK residents have been subject to the full ‘non-EU’ rate of 17.2% social charges on investment income and capital gains in France. However, new legislation has granted Brits the right to an exemption, reducing that rate to 7.5%. Here’s what you need to know.
Am I liable to pay French tax on my investments and capital gains in France?
While many French tax liabilities depend upon whether you are tax resident in France or the UK, if you have income from French sources (for example, investment income), you will be liable to pay French taxes on this income. If you sell your second home in France, you will also be liable to pay French capital gains tax, even if you are a UK resident.
As well as submitting a French tax return and paying French income tax, you will also be liable to pay French social charges (social security contributions) on any investment income and capital gains. As the rates of social charges in France are much higher than income tax rates, this is generally the most significant payment to take into account.
How much are the social charges on French investments and capital gains?
French social charges on investments and capital gains are calculated based on three different rates with a maximum total of 17.2%:
- CSG (Contribution sociale généralisée or Generalized social contribution) –9.2%/0%
- CRDS (Contribution pour le remboursement de la dette sociale or Contribution to the repayment of social debt) – 0.5%/0%
- Prélèvement de Solidarité (Solidarity tax) – 7.5%
The same rates of social charges apply to both residents and non-residents; however, for non-residents affiliated with another EU or EEA social security system, there is an exemption from the CSG/CRDS taxes. Essentially, this means that EU residents only pay the 7.5% solidarity tax on any investment income or capital gains.
Should Brits pay 17.2% or 7.5% social charges post-Brexit?
The big question as the UK left the EU was whether or not this exemption would still apply to British residents. From January 2021, Brits were no longer entitled to the exemption on CSG/CRDS social charges, leaving them liable to pay the full 17.2% on any investment or capital gains income.
However, there was question over the legality of this, and whether or not the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TAC) between the EU and UK (signed in December 2020) protects the rights of UK residents from these additional social security liabilities.
The good news is that, as of February 2022, the French tax authority has published a revision of their tax guidance regulations, stating that UK residents can continue to benefit from the social charges exemption. This exemption applies under the following conditions:
- You are a national or legal resident of the United Kingdom
- You are affiliated with the British social security scheme
- You are not covered by the French social security scheme
Social Charges on Investments and Capital Gains Post-Brexit: 17.2% or 7.5%?
The above changes are good news for UK residents with investments or property in France. Providing that you are a legal UK resident, pay your social security contributions in the UK, and do not benefit from the French social security scheme, you will from now on be subject to social charges of 7.5% only on any investment income or capital gains in France.
If you have already paid 17.2% social charges on investment income or capital gains in France since 1st January 2021, you may also be entitled to claim a refund. It’s a good idea to do this sooner rather than later, as there is a two-year window on claims.
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