Recent studies show that the Brits no longer make up the market share of foreign buyers in France, a third extension has been issued for the new property tax declaration, and a new website aims to simplify customs declarations on non-EU imports. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Airline tax hike in France
France’s nationwide push to encourage sustainable travel has already seen a number of flight routes cancelled – a bill was passed this year to ban short-haul flights in instances where a train route of less than 2.5 hours exists. Now, transport minister Clément Beaune has announced plans to increase taxes on airline tickets in the 2024 French budget.
There’s no indication of how much the taxes would be or what kind of price bump travellers would see in flight tickets, but the good news is that it could potentially see a corresponding fall in train prices. Beaune insisted that more investment was needed in France’s railways, sympathising with public complaints that “often the plane costs less than the train” and promising that the money from the increased taxes would go to fund railway investments.
During the same interview with RMC, he also talked about plans for an EU-wide tax on airline fuel, as well as a new train travel pass that would allow young people in France access to unlimited low-cost tickets.
2. New customs website for EU imports
Post-Brexit, one of the biggest bugbears of British travellers is the new requirement to declare any new purchases or large items being brought into the EU area – a rule that already applies to travellers arriving in France from other non-EU countries. Strict allowances on the value (in the case of electronics, clothes, furniture, and other items) or amount (in the case of alcohol and cigarettes) are in place, and anything exceeding the value will potentially be subject to VAT and customs duties.
Our articles Removals to France After Brexit: What You Need to Know About VAT & Customs Duties and French Customs/VAT When Bringing Items to Your Second Home will talk you through the rules, but there is inevitably still a lot of confusion over the customs declaration forms required and the amount of taxes and duties owed when bringing items into the EU.
To help simplify the process, a new website DéclareDouane has been set up to help travellers to make their declarations online and print or save the relevant declaration form (which you will need to present at the border) prior to travel. Thewebsite is currently in its testing phase (so you will need to click ‘ignore’ or ‘ignorer’ in the top right corner to access the site), but you can use the simulator to work out whether you owe any VAT or customs duties and generate your import declaration. When the website is fully up and running, it will then be possible to pay your taxes and duties up-front via the online portal, saving time (and any unexpected fees) at the border.
3. Third extension for France’s property tax declaration
Another week, another extended deadline for France’s property tax declaration – the ‘declaration d’occupation’! After an initial deadline of June 30th, 2023, the deadline for this new one-off declaration, which is mandatory for all property owners (including non-residents and second-home owners), was first pushed back to July 31st, then last week extended a further 24 hours to August 1st. Now, a further week extension has been announced, with the new deadline this Thursday, August 10th, at midnight.
If you still haven’t completed your declaration, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you out. If you are having problems accessing or completing the form, you can send a message via your personal space online, call the French tax helpline on 0809 401 401, or head into your local tax office or France Services branch to seek assistance.
4. Brits no longer take the lead in foreign property sales
Notaires de France has released its property market report for the second quarter of 2023, and one of the most notable trends among non-resident purchases is the steady decline of British buyers. The graph below shows the breakdown of non-resident buyers from 2012 through 2022, with the Brits (in blue) clearly leading the market up until recent years.
The decline in British buyers started in 2016, unsurprisingly the year that the UK’s Brexit referendum saw the country vote to Leave with a small majority. Since then, sales continued to decline, hitting a new low in 2021 (likely due to Brexit, which finally came into force on January 1st 2021). British buyers started creeping back up in 2022, but the once-dominate Brits now remain in second place behind the Belgians.
Leave a reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *