Has my tax status changed because of Covid-19?
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For UK residents stuck in France due to the lockdown, and vice versa, will tax status be affected?
I live in the UK and own a holiday home in France, and I was at my home in France when the coronavirus lockdown measures came into effect. I have now been here since March and it looks like I will be here for some time to come. Will this affect my tax/domicile status?
Rob Kay of Blevins Franks replies:
The test for tax residence in France is not purely time based – i.e. in most cases you are only considered tax resident if your main home or foyer is in France. If your main home is not in France, there are other tests that can be applied.
You may be considered to be French tax resident if your habitual abode is in France, which generally means that if you spend more than 183 days in the country per calendar year you are likely to be considered tax resident.
Fortunately, the French tax authorities have confirmed that a stay in France due to the Covid-19 lockdown or a travel ban imposed by the country of residence, would not in itself cause an individual to become a French tax resident. The French authorities have confirmed that the principal place of abode of an individual (the number of days they spend in a country) is only taken into account when a taxpayer does not have a home, i.e. a usual place to stay with their family.
If you live in the UK and are tax resident there, the time you exceptionally spent at your holiday home in France when the lockdown measures were in place should not affect your residence status.
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For any readers who are in the opposite situation – normally tax resident in France but unexpectedly stuck in the UK – HM Revenue & Customs has specified that being unable to leave the UK because of border closures or quarantine could be treated as an ‘exceptional circumstance’, potentially giving you an extra 60 days in the UK. However, this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
For more information on French taxes, you might find these articles useful: