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French Tax Agents Fees

This article is for general information only. French law is a highly specialised area and you should only act or refrain from acting after receiving full professional advice on the facts of your particular case. This article is for general information and does not constitute investment advice. Always consult an IFA.

Until 1st January 2015 non-French residents who sold French property for a price of over €150.000 were required to use a French tax agent to work out the French capital gains tax payable. Notaires were not permitted to release the sale proceeds to non-French residents without a tax liability certificate from the French tax agent. There are a very limited number of tax agents who have to be approved by the French government. This requirement on sale was abolished in France for residents of EU countries following a decision of the European Court.

The tax agents’ fee was typically 1% of the sale price and was usually non-negotiable. Following the abolition some sellers have sought to claim back the tax agent’s fee as it was illegal for the French Government to insist on it. The French government argues the arrangements between the non-French resident and the tax agent were a private commercial arrangement to pay fees and had nothing to do with the French government. This argument has little merit and it is likely the courts will find against the French government.

Claims for refunds of the fees should be made to the French Tax authorities and court applications should be made to the Administrative Tribunal in Paris which has jurisdiction in these matters and not to the local administrative tribunal where the property is situated. There may be issues with claims being out of time so prompt action is advisable. Sykes Anderson Perry Limited are dealing with a number of these claims and are in a position to assist with refund claims on a no win no fee basis.

July 2016

David Anderson