Advice for property purchasers from Blevins Franks
Posted on 3rd April 2019
Blevins Franks, our show sponsor and leading international tax and wealth management specialists, offers the following advice for prospective property purchasers during this uncertain period.
Understand as much as you can about your position under the different potential best and worst case scenarios in the areas of main importance to you – legal residency, subsidised healthcare qualification and impact on pensions.
Almost all scenarios for leaving the EU means UK nationals spending more than 3 months a year in France will be required to apply for a temporary (annual) residency card, which can be renewed each year, and after 5 years replaced with a permanent residency card (valid for 10 years). Under Theresa May’s deal, the requirements, both administratively (paperwork) and financially (income required per annum so as not be a burden on the French social security system) are lower than if the UK was a regular “third state”, like South Africa or similar. A no-deal scenario might reflect these more onerous rules.
From a healthcare cost perspective, a deal would currently allow the continuation of the S1 system, whilst a no-deal would not. The new rules around PUMA (protection maladie universelle –French health care), minimum income levels and social charge payments on investment income might mean the cost of qualifying for French subsidised healthcare through this route rather than S1 are not that costly, but it is something that needs to be considered and costed out.
With regard to pensions, under the current deal the UK state pension would still benefit from “triple-lock” when received by a UK national living in France. Under a no-deal, the UK State Pension would become frozen. With regard to private pensions, at the end of the transitional period, or if the UK leaves on a no-deal, the UK may well choose to extend the 25% exit charge to people who move to the EU (as well as those who already move to non-EU countries), and choose to transfer their qualifying UK pensions to a QROP (quality recognised overseas pension).
Overall, Blevins Franks advice is that if you are choosing to move to France during this period, be aware of the various different scenarios you could be in under whichever Brexit outcome could eventually transpire.
Meet the team from Blevins Franks, the show sponsor, at The French Property Exhibition at Wetherby Racecourse on 18-19 May and don’t miss their informative daily seminar “A New Beginning – What might change for UK expats moving to France?”