Could long lockdown stays affect French tax residencies?
Some readers have asked if spending the lockdown at a second home in France and staying much longer than planned could affect their tax residency.
Initial advice for Britons in France
For Britons, initial British Embassy advice at the start of coronavirus restrictions was that those visiting France should return to the UK. It was impractical for some, and travel options were limited. It was then recommended to stay in the place where you began your confinement until the rules eased, if possible.
First, there is unlikely to be any presumption that you have changed to French tax residency unless it means you will have spent most of the year here (or more time than anywhere else). Secondly, this is not the only factor France would consider. The others are whether your residence in France could truly be said to have become your “home”, a somewhat imprecise notion, and whether you manage your financial affairs from France or run a business here.
The general double tax treaty principle is that you remain UK tax-resident unless France can categorically show you to be French residents. It is not the fact of staying slightly more than six months that would be likely to override everything else, especially where the longer stay was not by choice. It is also unlikely the French tax authorities would spend time and money trying to prove such a person has become a French tax resident.