Would six-month visa plus 90-day visit make us French tax residents?

Length of stay in France is not the only element in deciding fiscal residency

20 August 2021

If you only came for 90 days, you would not fall foul of any of the tax rules Pic: HJBC / Shutterstock

Reader question: We are UK pensioners with a second home in Brittany. If we were to visit France for a 90-day period in a given year and then apply for a six-month visa to entitle us to stay longer, would this cause our pensions to be subject to French taxation? J.F 

The law is that your incomes are only taxable in France if you become a fiscal resident of France.

What defines fiscal residency is found in article 4b of the Tax Code: having your home or main place of residence in France, spending most of the (calendar) year in France, having one’s centre of economic interest in France, and, in some cases, having a business in France. 

So, if you only came for 90 days, you would not fall foul of any of the tax rules and your UK income remains taxable in the UK. 

If you apply for a visa to spend longer in France, you should watch out for the ‘most of the year’ rule. If you are here in France for most of the tax (calendar) year, you will have met one of the conditions to be considered tax-resident in France. 

Even so, it is unlikely that the tax authorities will take any action because they will probably want to see the repetitive nature of you being in France for most of the year.

In any event, the other three conditions will show you as being resident in the UK, so the Fisc will most likely only take action after a few years of continually breaking the rules.

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