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Reclaiming French Tax Agents fees

Please note that French law is a complex subject and you should not rely on this article without professional advice on the facts of your case.

Am I affected?

UK and other EU residents who completed a sale of a French property between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2014 may be able to reclaim fees paid to French tax agents.

What can I reclaim?

French tax agents (fiscal representative) fees which you paid on the sale. These were typically 1% of the sale price. The notaire usually appointed the tax agent often without telling you.

What are tax agents?

Tax agents are a small number of private accountancy firms who have special approval from the French government to work out non-residents French capital gains tax on sale and assist the notaire in deducting it on completion. Before 1st January 2015 they had to be appointed in most sales.

Why can I reclaim their fees?

On 1st January 2015 the French government accepted the requirement for EU residents to appoint a French tax agent was illegal under EU law and abolished the requirement. The French government has recently started reimbursing these fees. Sykes Anderson Perry has been involved in successfully recovering these fees for many UK sellers.

Do I get the fees paid back from the French government rather than the individual accountants?

Yes.

Can I get fees back if I completed before 1st January 2014?

This is unclear as the French rules on prescription (time barring claim) may apply. It is likely the French government will oppose this and you will have to go to court. Our view is that you can go back and claim for any sales before 1st January 2014. However your claim must be lodged before 31st December 2018. Our view is that you should not delay and claims should be lodged immediately.

How can Sykes Anderson Perry help me?

We will deal with your claim for sales during 2014 on a no win no fee basis. Claims for sales before 2014 will be appraised on a case by case basis but in most cases we will take on the cases on a no win no fee basis with our fees being 25% of the French tax agent’s fees which we recover. This will include lodging the claim with the French Government and litigating the claim before the court. It will not include any appeals from the court of first instance.

May 2017

David Anderson

@SAPLaw on Twitter