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Who Pays Wealth Tax in France?

Wednesday 08 September 2021

Who pays the wealth tax in France and where do they live?

Last year, 143,000 households paid the tax, a figure down substantially on the nearly 350,000 who were liable in 2017, before reforms were introduced by President Macron.

Those reforms scaled back liability to the tax from one based on all net assets, to one based solely on real estate, both bricks and mortar property investments.

As a result, the Impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) was retitled Impôt sur la Fortune Immobilière (IFI).

Alongside the reduction in households who pay the tax, so has the amount collected, from over €5 billion to €1.56 billion last year.

The property wealth of those who paid the tax totalled €347 million, an average of €2.4 million per household.

Liability to the tax only arises if the value of your net real estate assets (excluding the main home) is greater than €1.3m on 1st January of the tax year, but the tax is zero rated to €800,000.

Non-residents with second homes are also liable, but only on their assets in France.

The average amount paid by each household last year was €11,000. Nearly half paid less than €4,000 and 0.4% paid nearly €200,000.

The majority of IFI households reside in the Ile-de-France region, in major cities in metropolitan France or abroad.

Thus, among households that have declared income tax in Paris, 2.58% are subject to the IFI, the highest number in France, ahead of Hauts-de-Seine at 1.38%. These two departments account for approximately one third of IFI households.

As a proportion of the total population it is the commune of Neuilly-sur-Seine, to the west of the capital city, in the department of Hauts-de-Seine, that might better be characterised as the most wealthy place in France.

Indeed, the department of Hauts-de-Seine contains five communes in the list of the top thirty wealthiest places in France. In addition to Neuilly-sur-Seine are Boulogne-Billancourt, Rueil Malmaison, Saint Cloud, and Levallois-Perret. It is closely followed by the department of Yvelines in the Ile-de-France region around Paris.

Within Paris, five arrondissements stand out - the 7ème, 8ème,16ème,15ème and 17ème. The top twenty communes in France in terms of total number of households liable includes 11 districts of Paris..

Outside the Ile-de-France, the Alpes-Maritimes have the highest rate of "IFI" households (0.70%). The lowest rate in metropolitan France is found in Haute-Marne, Meuse, Ardennes, Ariège and Haute-Saône (0.05%). The rate is particularly high among non-residents,, which counts six communes in the top thirty - Versailles, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, La Celle-Saint-Cloud, Maisons-Laffitte, Le Chesnay and Chatou.

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