top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Can I change my second home to my main one in France for tax purposes?

Tax considerations for this move include local tax bills on properties that are main homes verses secondary as well as ‘taxe d’habitation’ and capital gains tax

Beware of bigger local tax bills that come with moving your main residence to your second in France Pic: Thomas Dekiere / Shutterstock

Reader question: I want to make my second home in the country my main home but keep my city flat. Can I just swap them for tax purposes?

The answer is yes – but beware of bigger local tax bills. Main residences pay around 20% less in local tax than second homes of a similar size. So you are likely to see the tax on what was your second home go down – but taxes on what was your main residence go up.

If the former main residence was in a tourist area or a city such as Paris with high local taxes, and your new main residence is in a rural area with lower taxes, the extra amount paid could be significant.

One new factor is the taxe d’habitation, which has been scrapped for most people in France, but is still paid on second homes. Also, second homes do not qualify for government grants for renovations to enhance energy efficiency.

Another point worth noting is the capital gains tax that applies when you sell a second home, but not a main residence.

So if you make your cheaper country home your main residence, and your city flat a second home, when the time comes to sell the flat, you risk paying up to 19% of the capital gains (the difference between the price you bought the flat and the selling price) from the sale in tax, and 17.2% in CSG and CRDS social security charges.

Related stories

Taxe foncière France’s local property tax: who pays and the exemptions

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now