France targeting increased foreign investment

British expats and investors who own properties and sizable assets in France may benefit from an amendment to the country’s wealth tax laws.

At the start of this year, changes which were announced by French President Emmanuel Macron back in October, became law.

Until 1st January, impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) was an annual levy of up to 1.5 per cent) imposed on residents with property and assets held worldwide worth over 1.3 million euros.

However, the law will mostly now apply only to the property and assets held by full-time French residents.

“The implementation of these new tax changes on 1st January 2018 is certainly welcomed by expatriates with property and assets in France,” said Fleur Buckley, property services manager at FrenchEntrée. “It will bring a renewed surge of interest from buyers and investors alike into some of the prime real estate markets in France, including Paris, the Alps and of course Provence-Cote d’Azur.

“This comes at a time when agents are particularly proactive at bringing new properties to market in the anticipation of gearing up for Spring interest from new buyers.”

President Macron has in recent months taken a number of steps to encourage increased foreign investment in France. A bill to make the labour market more flexible passed with remarkably little opposition, last year, as did a budget bill which cuts corporate tax from 33 per cent to 28 per cent and then down to 25 per cent in 2022.

The ultimate ambition is to change foreign investors’ perception of France as a place of crippling red tape and onerous taxes. Business France has been created, a unit of the Finance Ministry designed to promote the country abroad and bring in capital.

Article published 4th January 2018