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Share Dealing - UK?/France? - Taxed in France?


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I have a sum of money I'm looking to invest and have several options available.

Before I do, I'd like to know how it is taxed in France (is the capital gains considered as income?). Is there anything like an ISA in France?

Also, I used to use the sharecentre in the UK to deal on-line - any recommendations for dealing with shares in France?

Many thanks,


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Hi, Rob

Yes, there is something similar to an ISA i n France.  It is called a "plan d'éparge actions" (PEA).  There is no annual limit on contributions - you can contribute up to 132,000 euros over your lifetime.  A couple can have 2 plans, giving you a contribution limit of 264,000 euros.  You are only ever allowed to open one plan in your lifetime.  After 8 years, the capital gains are tax-free but subject to "prélèvements sociaux" of 11%.

Like the ISA, the PEA is a sort of tax-free envelope in which you can place all sorts of investments, subject to certain criteria.  In my own case, for example, I started out drip-feeding money every month into a couple of equity funds managed by the Société Générale.  I'm not over-impressed with the performance of these funds (or the charges attached to them) and am now thinking of suspending the monthly payments and channelling the money instead into a selection of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), still within the framework of my PEA.  Lyxor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Société Générale, now offers a great range of  ETFs, allowing you to cover a particular geographic region or sector.  As with all ETFs, the fees are considerably lower than with actively managed funds.  I'm thinking of putting a lump sum into Lyxor ETF Russia and Lyxor ETF DJ Stoxx 600 Financial Services.  Bear in mind, though, that the PEA is not a suitable vehicle if you want to buy and sell shares - you can't make withdrawals in the first 8 years of the plan (you can make withdrawals after the 8 years, but in that case, you won't be allowed to make any further contributions) so it's really only useful if you want to buy and hold. 

If you don't want to use a bank, you can use an on-line broker such as Fortuneo, Boursorama or Symphonis.  I haven't tried any of these, so I can't vouch for them.  Basically, I don't like trying to sort things out in French over the telephone when things go wrong.  I prefer to be able to go the "guichet" in my bank and physically lay hands on somebody!

Good luck!




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Hi Sugarfree,

Many thanks for your detailed reply.

I have looked into these in more detail and I think it is what I am after. There seems to be also a rule which says that (if I understand well) if your total shares sold is less than 15,000 euros then there are also no taxes.

(there also seems to be a rule which means that if you go back to the UK/another country then there are no taxes).

The "need to keep the account open before you don't pay tax" limit seems to be reported as 5 years on several sites.

You can now buy and deal with UK / european shares if you want which is good.

Also, if I understand well, it would be good to open one ASAP as the five year starts fromthe time of opening. I put a few hundred euro's in it and then in, for example, in three years time I decide to put several thousand in it, then I would only have the two years to wait before it's tax free (if you see what I mean).



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Yes, go for it.  The sooner you start a PEA the better.

If you find anything good to put in it, let me know.  As I said, I'm not too happy with the way my two Société Générale funds have performed and am now looking into Exchange Traded Funds.  I put 2400 euros into the Lyxor Russia ETF yesterday and am looking to invest another 2400 somewhere else.  Not sure whether to pick another geographic regon, such as Asia Pacific ex Japan, or a sector, such as Financial Services.  I'm in the for the long haul (about 20 years) so I can withstand a bit of turbulence.  No doubt the Russian investment will be a rollercoaster ride!






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5 years is the relevant time for "escaping" CGT on withdrawals but then if you make a withdrawal, you must close the plan.

8 years and you can make withdrawals but keep the plan going.

If I understand correctly, then there is no question of any CGT until time of first withdrawal.

I am fairly certain that Fortuneo offer the best deal in terms of charges (I certainly hope so, having just mailed off the application form and a cheque to open the account). Boursorama were my main comparator.

I will be actively trading shares within the PEA, the same as I do within my ISAs & PEPs (which will be robbed somewhat to fill up the PEA). This will cost me somewhat more per trade since the mostly UK shares I will be trading have a higher commission than those available on the Paris Bourse.

There are some weird and wonderful regulations but I like the fact that most UK AIM shares are eligible for a PEA (basically the ones that aren't are those with Oz or Canadian listings as x%[50+?] of shares have to be held within the EU for a stock to be eligible), as are most stocks listed on any EU exchange (presumably not the "funny" German one).

PS. I think you'll find that the threshhold (€15k) applies to stocks held outside a French tax wrapper (i.e. same kind of idea as in UK) and is not relevant to a PEA.

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