How long before French home is deemed main residence?

Rules are not to do with time, but how property is used

Tax officials should be informed if you move into what was previously a second-home

Reader Question: We have moved into a property that we previously let out. It is now our main home and we want to sell. Will tax be due?

There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how long it takes for a home to become your ‘main residence’.

It is more a question of fact – for example, is it the place where you have your strongest attachments (whether family and/or work-related) and ‘habitually’ spend most of your time?

You should also typically spend most of the calendar year there (the calendar year aligns with the French tax year).

Read more: Is my French home my ‘main’ or ‘second’ residence?

When ‘moving into’ a former second home, you should inform the local tax office that it is now your main home.

You could do this in person, by letter (preferably sent registered post with a receipt slip) or, probably the easiest option, via a message in your personal space on the tax website.

This is because it affects the property taxes you have to pay, for example taxe d’habitation is only levied on second homes.

Biens Immobiliers form could help

Depending on when the property became your main home, you might also have declared it as such in the online Biens Immobiliers declaration that people owning property in France were asked to make this year with regard to occupation on January 1, 2023, and/or changes since then.

If you moved into it too late for that to apply, however, make sure it is declared as your main home via the online process with regard to your occupation of the property on January 1, 2024, presuming you are still living there.

Assuming that the property is your ‘main residence’, there will not be any capital gains tax or social charges payable on a sale.

However, while there is no strict rule on this, it is said to be safer to wait at least for some key tax deadlines to have passed – for example, regarding the local property tax bills or an income declaration.

The tax office could run checks if they have doubts, so the move must be ‘real’ – for example, you should have your main bank in the same area, your spouse,(if applicable) should have moved to the area as well, and any children you have should be attending a local school.

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