Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Everything posted by Sprogster

  1. On another French Forum a poster has reported receiving a similar letter. By way of background, HMRC is currently putting a lot of resources into identifying UK residents with second homes in the UK and abroad. Within the EU it is now much easier to discover, with automatic exchange of information between the main EU member countries tax authorities. (If you have a second home you will have been paying local property taxes, so will be known to the competent authority.) What HMRC want to check is the source of funds used to buy the property originally, in that the cash used was previously declared and taxed if appropriate, whether the property has been rented and if so rental income declared in the UK and if the property has been sold any gains declared in the UK. According to HMRC there are quite a few UK residents that have used non declared income or gains to buy a second home and then also not declared any rental income or gains on a subsequent sale. Similar exercise is going on regarding expensive boats and cars!
  2. If I could just add further considerations in that one of the main reasons people give for selling their holiday home, apparently the vast majority do within 8-10 years, is that it ties you to the same destination and after the novelty and initial excitement wears off, you might hanker for other destinations to holiday in. The other factor is that the poor economic situation in France is likely to lead to a further decline in house values, especially in rural areas according to the experts, which could make a holiday home more difficult to sell, and the addition of social charges to gains by foreigners selling French properties, which are not subject to tapering or allowable as a double tax credit.
  3. Where I am in the Var the hunters go after wild boar or sanglier, the population of which is growing out of control. In hunting season it is generally not advisable to go walking in the forest and hills, as the hunters use rifles and the bullets can travel a long way. Another problem is that a minority of hunters can imbibe a few glasses of the old vino, which does not help their aim. Most people are very supportive because of the havoc being created by the sangliers, but if you are against blood sports, France will be something of a culture shock.
  4. Susa, Welcome to the forum. Culturally the French are far less sentimental to animals than Brits and France has one of the highest gun ownership ratios per head of population in Europe. In the UK legal gun ownership was severely constrained after Dunblane, with a total ban on handguns and semi automatic weapons, but in France gun ownership controls by comparison are very relaxed and there is far more of a gun culture. As for hunting, well that is an ingrained part of the French culture and yes in hunting season you will often come across hunters with loaded rifles, even in populated areas that border woods and fields. As for farmers, I am sure that as part of what they see as pest control most small animals not accompanied by an owner would be seen as fair game if on their land!
  5. A Brit retiree can spend six months a year in New Zealand or Australia as a tourist and is covered under a reciprocal health agreement with the UK. Sounds an appealing way to avoid winter! Like Chiefluvie my French house is in PACA and the winter weather has undoubtedly got a lot worse in the nine years I have been there. Before I arrived, forest fires were the main concern due to the lack of rain, now it is flash floods and torrential downpours, as we have recently seen on the news effecting Corsica and Sardinia.
  6. Chiefluvvie has an interesting point about the French weather and I am sure that a lot of Brits who move to France are shocked by how cold the winters can be there. If the experts are correct and we are in for a decade or so of harsh winters for Northern Europe, a lot of us will have to think again as to alternative warmer countries, especially retirees who are looking for a mild winter climate to minimise fuel costs.
  7. Hoddy, if I were your London friends I would be worried, as the summer service to Brive is a slot parking exercise by Citiflyer, as their owner Air France desperately seeks a buyer for this loss making subsidiary. With slots at the busiest British airports if you don't use them, or sell them you lose them and they are therefore a valuable asset on Citiflyer's balance sheet and will almost certainly be used on a more valuable business City destination when sold.
  8. If you need to rent out your second home to cover the costs, then you are taking a significant risk, if you struggle to find renters. Also the French have started to charge 15.5% social charges on non residents renting or on gains when selling French property, which other countries including the UK will not accept as a tax and allow as a tax credit. From my experience, you budget an overall number and then double it, as there is always the unexpected maintenance item.
  9. Frederick, I think you will find that the long range forecast holds good for France as well, following the trend of much wetter and colder winters in Northern Europe over the last few years. For a true comparison with the Florida snowbirds you need to get much further south to the Canary Islands, which shares the same lattitude with Florida, as the relatively short distance as the crow flies between Dorset and the south Vendee, is not sufficient for a meaningful improvement in the winter climate and in fact many areas of inland France will be a lot colder than Dorset, which benefits from the moderating effects of the Gulf Stream.. Even where I am on the Med, recent winters have been abysmal!
  10. I think as a retiree a lot comes down to how important a mild winter climate is to you, not forgetting that heating bills are probably one of the most significant living costs. Statistically, there are far more Brits in Spain than France and a large part of that probably comes down to the fact that southern Spain averages a good ten degrees warmer than the mildest part of France during winter, with the potential significant saving in energy costs. The Canaries and Majorca are even warmer. I am convinced a lot of Brits who move to France have totally unrealistic expectations as to the winter climate and are shocked how wet and cold France is that time of year.
  11. I am near Saint Maxime and love the area, but have been disappointed with the winter climate between November and May, which in recent years has been unusually wet and cold. The last few winters have experienced records amounts of rain with resulting flash floods.  You should still find the weather reasonably good this month, but come the beginning of November when the clocks have gone back you can almost guarantee the heavens will open and whilst you will get the odd good day, the reality is that the period of settled weather does not start until well into May these days.  
  12. Roger, not sure your expectation to find lots of societes you can join is realistic in the real France, as the French tend to socialise within the extended family and although often very polite and on the surface welcoming, are culturally xenophobic. You are right about the forum being quieter as are the other French forums I participate in, no doubt reflective of the poor economic situation in France, weak euro/£ rate which has led to a lot of Brits going home and that France as a retirement destination for Brits seems to be losing favour. Maybe recent bad winters in France have not helped and the lure of bargain basement property in Spain has become more tempting.
  13. James, I am not too far from you and the only thing I would strongly recommend is put in reverse cycle air conditioning if you can, as it is an energy efficient way to heat and cool a house these days. Also it keeps the house dry and if it is a mason secondaire it heats and dries out the house within hours, if you visit in winter, as a log burner or conventional electric panel heaters can take days to warm and dry out a cold house. A lot of people who buy in the south of France under estimate how very cold and wet the winters can be, especially in recent years. I hear what you are saying about the village not closing for winter and being inland will certainly not be as bad as the Var coast, which shuts down in winter, but don't fool yourself as even inland where you are a lot of places do close, although I quite like it that time of year for the peace and quiet.
  14. Just a further thought, but have you checked property prices in Provence, as in areas like the Luberon you could be in for a shock!
  15. My recommendation is go back to Provence at least a couple of times more to scout out areas you like and Estate Agents that cover those areas. Also visit in mid winter and mid summer, as Provence tends to have extremes of weather going from unbearably hot in summer to extremely cold with biting winds in winter. (Like Scotland!) I read an article on Provence property the other week saying that foreign buyer interest was waining, as you can find yourself somewhat cut off with little to do once the novelty has worn off and buyers were increasingly looking to be nearer larger metropolitran areas or the coast. Either way with the weak French property market forecast to continue to decline you are in no rush so take your time, as buying and selling costs are much higher than the UK, so buying in the wrong area can be an expensive mistake if you decide after a few years to move again.
  16. Kitty, if the demand was there I am sure Easyjet would operate the route during winter at a lower frequency, However, the low cost carriers have to operate at 85% plus capacity to make a profit and in winter from the UK regional airports thats a tough ask and there is no doubt in recent years a lot of Brits in France have left or cut bank dramatically their expenditure and hence travel.
  17. A trade off you have to accept with low cost airlines is that unlike the legacy carriers they will not use higher profits earned in season during the summer to subsidise a route in winter and provide a year round service. So if you need a reliable year round service you have to be near to an airport serviced by an airline like BA. 
  18. According to a thread on another French Expat Forum, the UK government have gone out to consultation about stopping issuing S1's for early retirees from April next year. Apparently, the entitlement of early retirees to an S1 is unique to the UK and not an EU requirement and stopping this will save the UK government money. If this comes into effect, it means UK early retirees moving to France will need private health insurance from day one.
  19. Not quite as generous as it seems, as the abatement does not apply to the 15.5% social security costs also charged on gains.
  20. It is mainly a small section of extreme right wing Republicans called 'The Tea Party' that are so strongly against Obamacare, as they see it as increasing costs for employers and removes freedom of choice in that taking out health insurance becomes compulsory. However, if you are going to prevent health insurance companies precluding cover for those with existing health conditions, or loading premiums due to age, then you have to have the actuarial benefit of as many people young and old being covered, not just the sick and elderly. The main problem is that many voters do not understand how it works, although once it is fully introduced as it was yesterday even the Republicans admit there is no going back, as like Medicare before once the benefits become better understood and recognised voters will not contemplate its removal. With increasing numbers of employers in the USA discontinuing the provision of health insurance for their employees and or immediate family members such as spouses and minor children, the numbers of Americans uninsured was sky rocketing, as obtaining private health insurance outside an employer plan in the USA is very expensive or impossible to obtain in you have pre-existing health conditions.
  21. I hope I am allowed to do this, but I have copied the message from John;s wife Jackie that she posted on the other French Forum. I am sure she won't mind as John was a far more active poster on this forum and Jackie probably does not realise John was active on more than one French forum. "This is the wife of JohnRoss. I am very sorry to have to tell you that John passed away on the 18th September at l'Institut Mutualiste Montsouris in Paris. His operation the previous day was completely successful and he appeared to be doing well, but the following day he suffered a massive heart attack following a pulmonary embolism as he was about to be taken back to his room from the intensive care unit and they battled for 8 hours to save him. There was a problem with the coagulation of his blood and there was absolutely nothing they could do. I would like to thank all those on the forum for their kind words and thoughts and helpful information. Needless to say I miss him terribly. Jackie Gibbons"
  22. From my experience in France, under their rigid employment laws, restaurants do not have the same flexibility as the UK or USA to staff up at short notice during busier times, by being able to call in zero hours temporary contract staff on a shift by shift basis. So during busy times long waits for service can be the norm.
  23. Quillan is correct, but of course the exchange rate could in future equally go in the other direction, causing a loss when transferring euros back to £'s. Most currency analysts see the £ as under valued in the longer term against the Euro at the current rate, so the risk goes both ways.
  24. Don't rely on historical weather statistics, as like the UK, France has in recent years being going through a period of wetter and colder winters, that experts are predicting could last another 15 years! I have a house in an area that historicaly has one of the highest sunshine records in France, but the last few winters have been anything but sunny, with record rainfall and low temperatures lasting well into the Spring.
  25. It is very much a buyers market in France, with older rural residential properties especially difficult to sell, but many sellers have yet to adjust to the new reality that the French property market is likely to be very soft for the forseeable future, as the current French government have undermined buyer confidence with all the continuous changes to tax regimes. As a result you need to be more careful than ever that you research the area you plan to buy in to ensure that you do not overpay, and that if you decided you wanted to move after a few years, you are not stuck with a property that will not sell.  Better still as many other posters recommend rent before you buy to get a better feel for the area you think you like, as I get the impression from quite a few posters on this forum that where they first buy is often not where they end up settling and the costs of selling and buying in France are much higher than the Uk, so even if you end up selling a house for what you paid for it, the notaires and other selling costs will leave you thousands out of pocket.
  • Create New...