ECJ offers favourable decision in relation to French social charges for non-residents

The European Court of Justice recently offered a favourable decision that will impact whether non-French residents owning French real estate will be subject to French Social contributions.

As many people know, since 2012, French non-residents have been subject to French social contributions (at a rate of 15.5%) on their French source rental income and their French capital gains.

In the case of a UK resident and domiciled individual this meant that they would be subject to French income tax and French social contributions on rental income generated in France. Under the UK-French double tax treaty, an individual is able to offset income taxes paid in both jurisdictions, but they are unable to offset the French social contributions.

French and British etiquette: How to avoid the faux pas

As a French expatriate, there are some faux pas you should avoid in the UK and vice versa. Although only separated by a small channel, there are numerous cultural differences to be aware of. Subjects of conversation can differ greatly between French and Brits: philosophy is regarded by some as boring and stormy debates are not often experienced between British people, though the French love this. When it comes to punctuality, the French can be very approximate, sometimes even referring to being 15 minutes late to be polite. For the British, especially in business, punctuality is key and a sign of respect and determination. As a French expat, you will have to make a real effort and learn not to skip the cues as often as you would do in France. Finally, while the art of writing has almost been lost in France, the British love sending cards. So if you are looking to integrate and make a few British friends, get used to sending cards and to thank your host in writing after a dinner invitation….  This is to name only a few of the many cultural differences to be aware of.

Education: demand for French schools is strong

When it comes to schools in the UK, there are numerous decisions to make. Private or state? Mixed or single sex? French or English? It is completely normal for parents to panic and be confused about what is best for their children.

For French families there are also many French or bilingual French-English schools to choose from. Due to such a high demand for French schools, the college Francais Bilingue de Londres opened its doors in 2011 and a new school will open in Brent Town Hall in Wembley in 2015.

Number of French people in London

There is no actual figure for the number of French people living in London or the UK, but what we do know, is that there is a large number. The most often quoted figure is 400,000 which is attributed to the French consulate in London, but we could argue that this number is potentially much higher since many French do not bother to register with the French consulate and are therefore not taken into account in this figure. One only needs to walk around the streets of Notting Hill, South Kensington or Hampstead and see the number of French shops, restaurants as well as the number of French schools increasing in London.

Number of French people abroad up by 35% over 10 years

A parliamentary report about the number of French expats was released on October 8th 2014. The report called the ‘exile of the lifeforce’ has generated many debates and articles in the French press. According to the report there are now 1.6million French people living abroad. This represents an increase of 35% over 10 years. It is likely however that the number of French people living outside France is much higher, as this figure only takes into account those officially registered with French consulates. The interpretation of the increase varies between left and right wing parties in France. Left wing politicians believe the increase is just the result of globalisation and freedom of work within the EU, and argue the French expatriate population is well below the British or German ones therefore certainly no reason for concern. The right wing opposition on the contrary say the left is in denial and France is a sick patient victim of fiscal exodus, high unemployment and bleak economic outlook.