Wealthy and even comfortably circumstanced Brits tired of their country’s famously dreary weather head to France, where some 200,000 of them have second homes. Those homes are about to get more expensive, thanks to President François Hollande’s plans to raise taxes on foreigners who own property in France. The tax is expected to bring in 7 billion euros, and an additional 2 billion euros will come from those with a net worth of more than one million pounds. This amounts to a near doubling of the current tax rate, and many experts are worried about how this will affect one of France’s more lucrative businesses:
It said this would add €50 million (£40 million) to French revenue this year and €250 million in 2013. Jean-Claude Cassac, the secretary general of the French estate agency federation, in the Dordogne, home to thousands of British expatriates and holiday home owners, said the new move was a “catastrophe”.“The plummeting pound meant that the English had almost disappeared from the Dordogne house market. With this, it’s as if they want to totally kill off the foreign home owner market in France.”
Hollande probably doesn’t care all that much. The only thing more fun for a French socialist than taxing the rich is taxing the foreign rich. All over America, resort areas tax tourists and out of towners as much as they can; nothing makes a Vermonter happier than an ingenious new way to tax a New York investment banker’s summer home.Sticking it to the Brits: it’s a favorite French sport whether it’s good economics or not and the new tax should help President Hollande mount even higher in the polls.Joan of Arc would approve. So would Charles de Gaulle.