Is there a wealth tax and, if so, which factors bring an individual within the scope of that tax, at what rate or rates is it charged, and when must tax returns be submitted and tax paid?
A wealth tax was applicable in France up until January 1st 2017 (see § 4.1.) a new one only based on real estate properties is applicable as from January 1st 2018 (see § 4.2.).
4.1. ISF (“impôt de solidarité sur la fortune”)
Up until January 1st 2017, a wealth tax applies in France (so called “impôt de solidarité sur la fortune” “ISF”) based on worldwide assets owned by French resident individuals and on French assets owned by non-resident taxpayers. Some exemptions applied on pieces of arts and business assets.
Non-resident individuals were also exempted from wealth tax on their French financial assets. Real estate properties located in France owned directly, through French or foreign companies or through companies qualifying as “société à prépondérance immobilière” (real estate holding companies) or companies owned for more than 50% by the same family members were also subject to wealth tax as qualifying as French assets.
In a nutshell are qualified as “société à preponderance immobilière” companies owning (directly or indirectly) French real estate properties having a market value exceeding those of other French assets they own. The concept of “société à prépondérance immobilière” for ISF purposes is defined in the same way than for gift and inheritance taxes (see § 5). This definition is however, different from those applicable for capital gains tax purposes (see § 2) and from those applying for transfer duties purposes (see § 8.1.)
Finally, settlors of trusts, as well as, after their death, beneficiaries who are appointed as deemed settlors by the deed of trust and/or by the trustees were also subject to wealth tax as if they were the owners of trust’s assets (see § 20).
Wealth tax (ISF) has been repealed by the Finance law for 2018 and replaced by a new wealth tax only based on real estate properties owned directly or indirectly by individuals. This new tax is called “Impôt sur la Fortune Immobilière” (“IFI”).
Certain rules applying to ISF also apply to IFI such as the freehold under which the tax is due and the progressive scale rates (see §4.2).
On the other hand, other rules are different. This is the case of the concept of “société à prépondérance immobilière” (real estate company) which does not apply for IFI purposes. Since real estate properties owned by a company are subject to IFI whatever the companies’ assets composition is. New rules also limit the deduction from IFI taxable basis of the debts incurred by French resident and non-resident taxpayers.
The statute of limitation period for ISF as well as IFI is as a general rule, six years, but can be limited to three years under certain circumstances.
4.2. IFI (“impôt sur la fortune immobilière”)
As from January 1st 2018 French resident individuals as defined by article 4B of the French tax code (see § 1.1.) are subject to IFI on real estate properties regardless their place of location (France or abroad) they own directly or through entities, companies or trusts.
As from the same date, non-resident individuals are subject to IFI on real estate properties located in France they own directly or through entities, companies or trusts.
French resident taxpayers benefit from a five-year exemption of IFI in respect of their real estate properties located abroad.
IFI is payable by individuals whose real estate properties’ market value after deduction of qualifying debts exceeds a certain limit on January 1st each year (1.300.000 € for 2018).
As a general rule, all real estate properties owned directly or indirectly, through trusts, entities or companies (French or foreign) are subject to IFI.
Only real estate properties used for the business activity of their owners can benefit from an exemption, under certain conditions. Rental activities of unfurnished buildings do not qualify as a business activity.
As a general rule, the market value of shares corresponding to the value of real estate properties owned by the companies are subject to IFI.
Only the shares of companies (even if they own real estate properties) running a business activity or representing less than 10 % of the share capital or voting rights benefit from an exemption for IFI purposes.
Only debts incurred for the acquisition, refurbishment, repairs or maintenance of the real estate properties are deductible, under certain limited conditions.
Bullet loans are not fully deductible. Only a fraction of the principal corresponding to the total amount remaining due divided by the duration of the loan can be taken into consideration on January 1st of each year.
Loans granted from affiliated companies held by the ultimate owner of the real properties are not deductible.
Loans borrowed by family members can only be taken into consideration if their terms and conditions correspond to arm’s length transactions.
Finally, for real estate properties having a market value exceeding five million Euros the deduction of the debts exceeding 60% of their market value is limited to 50%.
For 2018 individuals liable to IFI will be subject to the following progressive scale rates:
- Up to 800,000 € – 0
- From 800,000 € to 1,300,000 € – 0.50%
- From 1,300,000 € to 2,570,000 € – 0.70%
- From 2,570,000 € to 5,000,000 € – 1.00%
- From 5,000,000 € to 10,000,000 € – 1.25%
- More than 10,000,000 € – 1.50%
Market value of assets subject to IFI and corresponding deductible debts should be reported in the annual income tax returns of resident and non-resident tax payers. They should be filed before 31 May of each year. The corresponding tax should be paid upon receipt of the tax notice established by the French tax authorities.
The Italian legislation does not provide for a comprehensive wealth tax. Wealth taxes apply to certain types of assets. They are levied upon residents (see 1) on worldwide financial products (a sub-category of financial assets) and real estate, while non-residents are subject to wealth taxes only on Italian-situs financial products and real estate. The rate is 0.2% for financial products and 0.76% for real estate. Wealth taxes are generally assessed through the annual income tax return and the timing of the payments generally coincides with the timing of the payment of income taxes (see 2).
There is no wealth tax in Israel.
There is no wealth tax in Greece.
However, the following taxes are applicable as follows:
(i) A progressive special solidarity tax is imposed on the annual individual income, as follows [to be reduced from 1.1.2018 if Greece meets certain fiscal and monetary criteria]:
exceeding 220K: 10%
(ii) A uniform tax on real estate property (EN.F.I.A.) is applied on real estate rights [ownership, usufruct etc] and imposed yearly.
EN.F.I.A.’s calculation takes into account co-efficiencies such as surface, year built and location. In general, the final tax amounts from 0,1% to 1% for individuals [and 0,55% for legal entities], computed automatically on the property’s value.
(iii) A luxury assets tax is also imposed upon the ownership of cars exceeding certain engine capacity [cars that are 10 years old and over are exempted], aircrafts, helicopters, swimming pools and leisure boats exceeding certain length.
There is currently no wealth tax in Germany.
There is no general wealth tax. However, real estate is subject to an annual tax which is calculated on its deemed income (‘cadastral income’).
As from 1 January 2018 individuals will be subject annually to a new tax on Belgian and non-Belgian securities accounts. Portfolios of EUR 500.000 or more will be taxed at 0,15% on the full amount of the account.
British Virgin Islands
There are no wealth or gift taxes in the BVI.
There is no wealth tax in New Zealand.
Monaco levies no wealth tax.