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Controversial proposals that would have seen around 180,000 British expats pay an additional tax on their property in France have been scrapped by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy. The Daily Telegraph reports that even though the French parliament approved the law, the president chose to remove it through an amendment after protests from both British and French Property owners. After next year’s election, French expatriates will be represented by an MP for the first time. The proposed changes to the law which would have seen them pay a substantial additional tax on their homes would therefore have been ‘electoral suicide’ for Mr Sarkozy.
The new proposals would have made homes used for only part of the year liable for a tax based on 20 per cent of the annual market rent of the property. Owning a second property in France would therefore have cost significantly more on an annual basis.
The new law would have affected 360,000 families with second homes in France.
Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, one of nine senators who oppose the tax and met Mr Sarkozy on Saturday, told the Daily Telegraph: "The president told us he had been convinced (the law was a bad idea) and had taken his decision (to scrap it).
"British people help rejuvenate some of our countryside and have a very positive influence, and we should be grateful.”
Denis MacShane, Labour MP, former Europe minister and regular visitor to France, said: "This is welcome news for the hundreds of thousands of Brits who live and work or have homes in France and other European countries, as it is clear that EU rules would not permit a selective tax just on one group of residents in France."
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