Property taxes: an overseas guide

picture of French hilltop village St Cirque LaPopieIf you agree with Winston Churchill that there’s no such thing as a good tax, then governments introducing rules to grab more cash from homeowners won’t fill you with joy.

But help is at hand with the handy primelocation tax guide.

Taxing times en Francais

Most people will be better off under France’s new tax system, with the exception of those with high-value assets and a relatively low income, suggests Richard Way, editor of the Overseas Guides Company.

“If your chargeable wealth is below 1.3 million Euros, you don’t pay the wealth tax, as the wealth tax threshold has been increased,” he explains.

From next year there will be just two tax rates: 0.25% for households with wealth between 1.3 and 3 million Euros, and 0.5% for those with wealth over 3 million Euros.

Capital gains tax for non-residents remains at 19%, while the tax rate for second homes for French residents rises from 31.3% to 32.5%.

Greeks bearing taxes

We might have the Elgin Marbles, but British second homeowners will suffer from a new property tax levied on the electric bill in Greece, regarded as the only way to plug the 2 billion Euro budget shortfall.

The emergency levy, that’s being compared to Margaret Thatcher’s unpopular poll tax, means about an extra 1,000 Euros in taxes for the average household. Rates are rising sharply from a low of 50 cents to 16 Euros per square metre.

Based on house size and location, this extra tax on a typical home equates to about 300 Euros a year, still a fraction of UK council tax, Mike Saunders from Snobby Homes reassures us.

“Even with these changes, it’s still far cheaper to live in Crete than Britain – and with 320 days of sunshine a year, solar heating gives you boiling water for free,” he adds.

Spanish practices


The newly elected Spanish government plans to introduce a series of property tax cuts and force banks to acknowledge losses on toxic property assets.

Prices should, especially for new-build property, fall further, which means “the best bargains could be yet to come,” sums up Way.