French Wealth and Estate Issues
In addition to income tax, capital gains tax and social charges, if you move to France or if you own assets in France there are other issues that you might need to plan for.
The value of your assets is calculated each year as at 1st January and is subject to tax. This is effectively a tax on your capital assets, rather than income or growth in value of disposed assets (i.e. capital gains tax). This can be a complicated tax, and potentially very expensive for those who are unprepared for it.
Succession law applies to the worldwide assets of French residents (with the exception of non-French real estate), and to French real estate belonging to non-residents of France. Any children of the deceased, whether from within the current marriage or outside that marriage, are “reserved heirs” who are entitled to up to 75% of the deceased’s estate, even in preference to the current spouse.
Succession tax is a tax on both lifetime gifts and assets passing on death, and
always applies to French real estate, regardless of where the person gifting/bequeathing the asset is resident. It is also payable on all assets of the donor/deceased if they are resident in France at the date of the gift/death. It can also apply to inheritances or gifts received by an individual resident in France if they have been resident there for more than 6 years.
This is a highly effective structure in which French residents can hold their investments and capital to protect themselves from French taxes and succession law.