France Plans Tax Surcharge On Second Homes

By Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels 06 November, 2014

France's Finance Minister, Michel Sapin, has confirmed that the Government is planning to empower local councils in areas with housing shortages to impose a 20 percent tax surcharge on second homes.

The plan has been dubbed the "weekend tax," as the charge is targeted at properties that are left empty for much of the time. The move is expected to impact expatriates in particular. The amount will be added to the habitation tax payable by property owners, although properties that have been rented out to tenants are not expected to be included.

The power will be given to councils in about 30 metropolitan areas across the country. Some of the affected areas, such as exclusive districts in Paris, contain many second properties owned by foreign buyers. The Government had previously insisted that no new taxes would be imposed during 2015, but Sapin explained to journalists that this did not mean an "absolute freeze."

The surcharge will be debated in Parliament next week as part of the Budget for 2015. According to Les Echos, which broke news of the proposal ahead of Sapin's comments, it could raise EUR150m (USD187m) for local councils.

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