Every month the UK government hosts a Facebook Q&A for British nationals living in France, or planning to do so, to ask questions about what will happen with their rights, access to healthcare, money and family lives after Brexit. Here are some of those questions, and their answers from the government. Some questions and answers have been edited for length or clarity. The full set of questions and their answers can be found here.
I’ve lived in France since 1975. I have a half share in my late parents’ house, currently occupied by my brother. If he dies before me, what might the inheritance tax position be? And similarly, If I sell the property, what might UK and French positions be regarding tax?
Succession raises complex legal questions, the answers to which are heavily dependent on individual circumstances and you should seek expert legal advice for this kind of question.
UK nationals habitually resident in Member States in which the EU Succession Regulation applies can choose UK law to apply to matters of succession to their estate, under the Regulation. That means, for example, that your brother living in France, if/when he creates a will, can choose UK law to apply to succession to their estate. If it were to come to you selling the property, the double taxation treaty between the UK and France avoids
you being taxed on the same income in both countries. However, you would need to seek independent tax advice on the details.
Does the withdrawal agreement cover all rights, or might British people living in Europe be at a disadvantage in some areas, akin to third-country citizens? For example, if we buy property, will we be subject to higher taxes than EU citizens?
The Withdrawal Agreement secures the rights of residence, right to work or study, access to healthcare, benefits and education, lifetime protection of pensions, and the right to bring existing close family members to live with them in France. You fall in scope if you are a UK national living in France at the end of the transition period for as long as you remain resident in France. There are issues not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, such as the right to vote in French or European elections. Property tax is a separate issue, but will not be affected. UK nationals will become Third Country Nationals but they are treated the same as EU citizens in regards to property tax.
I’ve owned a home in France for very nearly 5 years and live there full time whilst not working. My company is based in the UK where I pay my business taxes. I work overseas on assignments. I’m hoping to start an additional business in France in 2021. I have not registered at my local commune for a CDS. Is it possible to stay in France under my current conditions?
As you are living in France now, you will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and need a residence permit linked to this special status. You will need to apply online to the residency application website which will open from the start of July 2020. This is the case for all UK nationals living in France. You should seek independent tax advice for the workings of your companies. There is a bilateral treaty on double taxation between the UK and France but we cannot advise on where you should be paying tax.
The WA discusses family reunification after the transition. Please confirm that an elderly U.K. parent can join their U.K. family resident in France, after the transition, with the S1 and with the same legal residency requirements as pre end of the transition.
The WA does indeed cover family reunification. The definition of a close family member includes spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, children under the age of 21, grandchildren and dependent children and parents and grandparents. We are waiting for the French authorities to confirm what criteria, if any, those family members would need to meet in terms of residency, and how their healthcare would be covered. I realise that doesn’t give you complete clarity at the moment, but we will share more details as soon as we can.