Do you have to pay import duty when moving items between home and your French gite?

Now the prospect of travel is beginning to open up and the potential to start a new life in France is set to become a reality, how will it all work? Specifically, are there taxes to pay when moving furniture or items to France?

Whether it’s to a second home, gite or you’re moving permanently, there is a lot of confusion around whether you have to pay import duty on the items you move.

Import duty when moving to France

As far as we can tell, current advice from French customs is:

  • If you’re moving to France permanently, you won’t have to pay duty on your items as long as you have owned them for at least 6 months.
  • You will need to provide a detailed inventory of everything you’re moving and the approximate value in EUR of every item.
  • You’ll need to declare that you’re not planning to sell any of your items in France and you’re moving those items to your permanent home or gite.

As long as you can demonstrate that, there should be no import duty to pay.

That said, there is still a lot of confusion around moving to France. The deal was only recently done and because of the pandemic, there hasn’t been a lot of travel to test the systems and the customs processes.

Moving to France

Before Brexit, moving yourself to France was simple. Hire a truck or van, pack it up, create a basic inventory and drive to your gite.

Now it’s not so simple.

Britain is now a separate country and is treated as such. That means conforming to customs regulations, even when you’re moving your own furniture and property to France.

Now we recommend using a specialist moving firm. They can prepare the paperwork and handle customs. They can also create the detailed inventory of all items as required by customs.

You’ll need to help with values and have your own paperwork to do.

You will need to provide:

  • A copy of your passport picture and number
  • That detailed inventory with costings (if your mover doesn’t do it)
  • Proof of French property such as lease agreement or purchase contact
  • Proof of your residency in the UK for at least the past 12 months
  • Copy of your Attestation de Domicile provided by the Marie of your new French home town

These requirements may also change depending on what happens over the coming months and years.

If you’re buying a gite in France, we recommend using English-speaking representation for the entire process. Not just the buying of the property but also handling residency, the Attestation de Domicile and any visas you may need.

It does cost money but reduces your own responsibilities at a time when you’re going to be busy enough with the move.

As long as nothing much changes, moving to France or investing in a gite is still an excellent way to invest money or enjoy a new life in the sun. Long may it continue!

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