EU residents eligible for reimbursement from France

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France's President Francois Hollande introduced a 'social charge' in 2012 on non-French EU residents on selling or renting their French property, forcing them to pay an extra 15.5% 'social contribution', bringing in an estimated €250 million a year for the French welfare system.

Hollande said the measures, raising tax on rental income from 20% to 35.5% and capital gains tax from 19% to 34.5%, were to remove an unjustified tax advantage to non-residential owners by making them contribute to social charges on gains from renting or selling their properties.

However, this meant they were paying towards a social security system from which they would not benefit as well as paying towards the welfare state in their EU country of residence.

A new ruling on 26th February by the European Court of Justice states that the tax violates EU law, since a resident of the union should only have to contribute to the social security system of one member state. The social charge is therefore considered illegal.

France faces the possibility of having to reimburse tens of millions of euros to British and other EU non-resident owners who have let out or sold their properties in the past two to three years.

If you believe you fall into this category, you are advised to submit a claim to the French authorities asking for your money back.

Owners currently thinking of selling may still have to pay the charge and claim it back later once the French law has been changed.

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