Is my French home my ‘main’ or ‘second’ residence?

Rules depend on how long you generally spend in a country, as well as where you work or obtain income from

Residency rules usually depend on where you spend the majority of your time, and not necessarily the number of properties you own

Reader question: I am retired and hold British and Irish nationality. I bought my French house in 2010 as my ‘main residence’. I do not own any others. I asked the tax office why I am still charged taxe d’habitation but they said as I do not pay my income tax in France (I chose to keep my tax affairs in the UK) my property is treated as a second home. Is that correct?

Tax residency in France is not a question of choice, but rather of whether or not you meet France’s tax-residency rules.

One states that if your foyer (home) is in France, you qualify and should declare your income to France.

This refers to your ‘home’ where you ‘habitually’ and permanently live, and often, if applicable, where your spouse and/ or minor children live.

If this is unclear, the French consider whether you spend more of the tax year in France than anywhere else.

If in doubt, further rules look at issues such as where most of your income arises and where your main work, if any, is.

Bearing all this in mind, if indeed you are a tax-resident of the UK, then it is normal that the French tax authorities consider your French house to be a second home, regardless of whether you own in France but rent a property in the UK, for example.

Read more:

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