French laws require that non-resident sellers outside of the EEA are obliged to appoint a représentant fiscal on the sale of property in France.
The role of the fiscal representative is simply to verify that the correct amount of tax is being paid on the transaction.
Given that this also happens to be the role of the notaire there does seem to be a degree of duplication in this task!
The process was removed for EEA residents from 1st January 2015 following a judgement in the European Court, as being discriminatory and against the free movement of capital within the EU.
There are no fixed tariffs for this 'service' and very little transparency about those who impose them. The charges are sometimes quite eye-watering. Expect to pay a minimum of 1% of the selling price of the property, although most sellers will pay substantially more.
These representatives are accredited private companies and, as they are relatively unknown to non-residents, they are frequently appointed by the notaire at the time the sale takes place.
You are not obliged to accept their recommendation, and we would strongly advise that you consider carefully their recommendation. That said, there are not many of these companies around, so the choice is limited. Whatever price you are offered, you should seek to negotiate.
There is also a huge lack of transparency about the way these companies operate, and you will find few details about their fees and practices on the internet.
There is dispensation where the sale value of the property is less than €150K, or where there is an exemption from capital gains tax.
Where the couple are married or in a civil partnership then they are treated as single fiscal household for the purposes of the €150K threshold.
Where they are not married or in a civil partnership, and the property is held ‘en indivision’ then the threshold is appreciated by the proportionate ownership of each ‘indivisaire’.
Private companies are always required to use a fiscal agent.
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