Britons will have to pay a new tax on their French holiday homes in a shock move by President Sarkozy, it was announced today.
The tax only applies to foreigners with second homes that are unoccupied all year whether the property is owned personally, through a company or a trust.
Sarkozy is introducing it to help raise revenues and improve his poll ratings.
The new charge was approved after a marathon debate in the National Assembly which ended as dawn broke.
But France's newly-affluent will pay less after it was agreed that no-one should be taxed more than 50 per cent.
Non-resident French homeowners already pay two taxes - one by the person who owns the house and the other paid by those who live in the property.
Under the new proposals, even if homes are only used for a few weeks a year, the French government will estimate the annual rent that could be gained, and then charge 20 per cent tax based on that sum.

If the property is let out for the whole year with a local letting agent, it will be exempt.
French property taxes vary by region, so tax payable on one in the South of France will be different from that in Normandy.
Those on the Riviera are likely to rocket, forcing owners to sell up because the property would become too expensive to run.
Already there is some debate whether the tax discriminates against foreign owners and that it will be challenged in the European courts.
Sarkozy won power in 2007 promising that tax would not rise, but he is under pressure as the April 2012 election looms to fend off Left-wing critics who say he helped a wealthy minority.

 Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2002503/Britons-French-holiday-homes-face-shock-new-tax-increase.html#ixzz1PKFTvbui

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