Second home: Is declaration vital if we stay over half year in France?

Length of stay is not the only element taken into account by French tax authorities - we explain

6 January 2022

''The French tax authorities generally have an unwritten rule that spending less than two tax years in France does not constitute residency'' Pic: Philippe DEVANNE / Shutterstock

Reader question: We are Canadian citizens and residents. We have a home in Canada and our economic interests are there. In 2022, we are thinking of staying more than half the year at our second home in France. Am I correct that we will not be required to file French tax returns in 2022 because we will not have severed ties with Canada? Under the Canada/France tax treaty, if we are residents in both countries, tie-breaker rules indicate we are “residents of the state with which our personal and economic relations (‘vital interests’) are closer”. That is Canada. 

You are correct, though another consideration is whether the French tax office would even consider the level of taxes and charges they could levy on you as making it worth their while to treat you as residents. 

The Fisc (French tax office) also generally has an unwritten rule that spending less than two tax years in France does not constitute residency, so your status would probably not attract attention, though spending more than two years might well do so. 

Remember, however, that to do what you plan will require a long-stay visa for France.

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