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It runs in the family . . .

Family businesses are the oldest model of economic organisation.

When Joseph celebrated the birth of his son in the lowly stable, he was probably pleased to have someone to inherit the family carpentry business. Family firms are hugely important to the UK economy, currently turning over £180 billion a year, more than the annual turnover of the UK’s entire manufacturing industry.

A family-run business can be anything from a mom’n’pop-run corner shop to a huge multinational where the major shareholders are still members of the founding family. 44% of the Forbes 400 member fortunes were derived from a family business. Britain’s largest family-owned businesses where the family still holds a controlling stake include household brands, even though the holding company may be less well-known: ABF Foods (Ryvita, Twinings, Kingsmill, Patak’s), Stemcor (steel trading), the Swire Group (Cathay Pacific airline, property, trading etc), Laing O’Rourke (construction), Arnold Clarke Automobiles (car dealerships), SCH Group (IT) and Bestway Group (wholesale cash-and-carry).

The great thing about a family firm is that its key members are usually passionate about the business and this dynamism translates very well into sales and success. Individual members of a family can often supply the myriad skills a modern company requires with its different generations each bringing something new to the party.


All these international players started life as very small acorns before growing and metamorphosing into international giants. And all, at some point in their development, took on personnel in the shape of sons, daughters, siblings, in-laws or, in the case of Swire’s, 200 years of family enterprise.

And the model continues . . . Take South France Holiday Villas, for example, a holiday rental company based in Béziers specialising in the Languedoc, Provence and the Cote d’Azur. Founded in 2006 by Juliana Forte originally just for property management, the company has evolved and now the bulk of its business comes from its rentals website As the business has grown, so has Juliana’s family. Whilst her children, Jake and Gina, were still kids at school when Juliana opened the business they are now in their twenties and instrumental in the daily running of the company.

Left to right: Sander, Gilles, Aisling, Juliana Forte, Jake, Gina. Seated: Caroline, Jill

Left to right: Sander, Gilles, Aisling, Juliana Forte, Jake, Gina. Seated: Caroline, Jill

Like most teenagers, Gina was always very active on social media. For her, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are just a way of life. She now uses the skills that her generation takes for granted and specialises in promoting the company on the internet, through social media and via blogs. Luckily for Juliana, Gina’s boyfriend, Sander is also gifted in the communications department and together he and Gina maintain South France Holiday Villas at its premium position on Google. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is at the heart of everything they do. When they went globe-trotting last year, they still maintained a strong presence, whether working from a hostel in Thailand or Sander’s home in Holland. Have WiFi, will travel!

Jake, on the other hand, has taken over the property management side of the company and deals with clients, owners and contractors on a daily basis. His personality is better suited to hands-on work so being out and about checking on some of the lovely properties SFHV has in its portfolio suits him down to the ground.

The family empire does not stop there either. Juliana’s partner, Gilles, is also now active in the business handling property maintenance.

So how does a business manage when it is staffed by parents, children and siblings?

How do the individuals relate to one another?

Do siblings still vie for attention as they did when they were little?

Do the parents lay down the law to the exclusion of all else?

“Well”, says Juliana, “It’s a bit of a balancing act. It’s important to respect each other and their work. We are all professionals now and have to relate to each other on that level. I think the secret is to have very strong parameters as to job title and what that job involves. When the lines between one person’s job and another’s are unclear then that is where tension will build. You also need just one person in charge. A business can’t necessarily work as a democracy, sometimes you need a benign dictatorship. I try to act as the CEO of a business rather than as a mother. Staying objective and not getting too emotional is not always easy but it’s the only way you will all be able to function together. The bottom line is, we all have a part to play in building SFHV’s success and we are all, family relationships aside, incredibly committed to that.

For further information: 

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 21.14.56

November’s reading

Dynomike: Back to School

by Frankie B. Rabbit

As soon as you open this wonderful children’s book you fall in love with Dynomike. He is young green dinosaur, and he’s scared, and afraid, because today, he must go to school for the first time…

He doesn’t know what to wear, boots, slacks, cap, nothing feels right. His mom knows he is scared, but he must do this thing alone, and so she gives him the best advice she can “Be yourself and be kind,” she knows, if he does this, he will be fine.

He wonders if there is a way out, something else he can do, but no, he must be brave. And so, even though he’s worried, and a little afraid he walks out to the bus, with his mom’s wise words playing in his head.

Bravely he faces his fears, and discovers everything is okay, all the 41rk1wKpxaL._AC_US160_kids are different, unique in every way, and he learns they don’t judge, they just want to be his friend and play.

What a super, confidence building book for children of all ages who are facing new challenges for the first time. After all, everyone can relate to this type of situation when things are scary, and new, and you don’t know what to do!

This children’s book is beautifully illustrated, sensitively written, and its important message shines through.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon in Kindle format 



Deborah Rising: A Novel Inspired by the Bible 

by Avraham Azrieli

It was the author’s family trip to the ruins of the ancient city of Shiloh in Israel, which vividly reawakened the stories he had been told, and brought back to life the Holy Tabernacle. Inspired by what he had seen, and motivated by his imagination, the author felt compelled to write this outstanding story about Deborah, one of the most remarkable women in biblical lore.

41fFLGU+lALIn this fascinating novel, the author asks the reader to join him on a journey, a voyage of the imagination, to ponder on the past of Deborah, an amazing woman whom the Book of Judges describes as “a prophet, a judge, and a military leader who liberated her people form Canaanite oppression.”

She was the first woman in the history of mankind to lead any nation to freedom. What would it take to make a woman so strong, empower her to follow the strength of her convictions, against all the odds? Well in this book, the author offers a fictional hypothesis.

Set in ancient Israel, an amazing scene plays itself out in front of the reader from the very beginning, as it opens with young girls collecting stones and putting them in a pile near the Pit of Shame.

The story unfolds of the plight of Tamar, Deborah’s sister, and how, at the tender age of 14, Deborah is forced to observe her fate. Brutally misjudged, solely because of a claim made by her new husband, Seesya. Tamar has no opportunity to defend herself, and no one to speak in her defence, and in accordance with the law, Deborah looks on as Judge Zifron pronounce her fate.

With the realization of what the future may hold for her, Deborah, decides she must take her destiny into her own hands, before it is too late…

However, what can she do?

This intriguing question is the subject of this captivating novel, as, with the arrival of her womanhood, we follow her desperate flight from what appears to be her only fate.

Bravely travelling strange lands, a woman alone, her adventures unravel before the reader’s eyes as she urgently seeks a slave, who it is told, has magical powers, and may be her only hope, whist being relentlessly pursued by Seesya.

Her strength and fortitude, fueled by conviction and the knowledge that her father dreamt that she was destined to be a prophet of God, leads her down a very hard path, but one which is to be her destiny…

In the modern world we are used to women being equals, however this has only happened in very recent history. This enthralling story gives the reader an amazing insight into what life was really like for women at this fascinating time in history.

I found this book absolutely absorbing and highly recommend it.
Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon in Kindle format



Dynomike: Happy Shoes

by Frankie B. Rabbit
In this wonderful new rhyming children’s story from Amazon Best Selling author Frankie B. Rabbit, we join everyone’s favorite dinosaur Dynomike on another fun, yet educational adventure.

51EEzRpoPSL._AC_US160_Poor Dynomike has a real problem, and he doesn’t know what to do! He has too many shoes, and can’t decide which ones to wear. Sadly he realizes that he will never get out of the house, unless he can choose a pair, but which ones?

You see, there are all sorts, some are new, and others are old, all different colors, and styles, a pair for every occasion. He is spoilt for choice. What should he do?

So he thinks hard to try and find a solution, then he realizes that there is one great answer which will not only help others, but will make him happy too.

You will have to read this lovely book to see what Dynomike will do!

I did just that, and read this book to my grandsons who are five and seven, and I found it a very good way to explain that helping others can be really good, not only for the people who receive, but also for those who give.

I especially loved the way that it conveyed the very important message, that it is not necessary to have lots of the same things, and sometimes less is more.

The book, with the engaging character of Dynomike is very easy to read in its rhyming format, and is beautifully illustrated.


Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon in Kindle format


Flybe puts more early release Summer’17 routes on sale

Flybe regional airline’s preliminary summer schedule features 59 routes with emphasis on regional France, Euro City and summer sun services

flybe-logoFlybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, on 18th October put more early release routes on sale as part of its preliminary Summer 2017 schedule. To date this features 59 routes including a large selection of those to regional France and Euro City services from Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton.

These join the first wave of routes already announced from Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Exeter and Norwich airports. One way fares from £27.99 including taxes and charges can be booked now at and are currently available for travel between 26th March and 9th September 2017.

“We appreciate that many of our customers plan their next summer holidays well in advance to take advantage of the lowest possible fares,” comments Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer. “This is why we have put an initial selection of some of our most popular leisure routes on sale early, including some of our summer sun routes and those to regional France. This is by no means our complete summer schedule, the full details of which will be released shortly.”

Included in the preliminary 2017 Summer schedule released to date, are three new routes – two from Doncaster Sheffield to Dublin and Dusseldorf, and to Rome Flumincino from Cardiff.

Also featured in this latest release are the following routes with schedule details at :
Birmingham to Avignon, Bastia, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Lyons, Nantes, Rennes, Toulouse, Berlin and Newquay
Edinburgh to Bergerac
Exeter to Bergerac and Rennes
Newquay to London Gatwick
Manchester to Bergerac, La Rochelle, Lyons, Rennes, Toulouse and Newquay
Southampton toBastia, Biarritz, Bordeaux, Bergerac, Limoges, La Rochelle, Nantes, Lyons, Nantes, Perpignan, Rennes and Verona.

Three months after the referendum, the figures suggest no Brexit effect

Leggett Immobilier, has released their sales figures: the number of properties sold to British clients between July and October 2016 is equal to last year’s figures during the same period of time.

cover_480x270Leggett Immobilier, the French Estate Agency, was created in the Dordogne nearly 20 years ago and is the first stop for British buyers looking for property in France. With over 500 agents in the whole of the country, teams of experts at the head office and a strong presence at the main property shows in the UK, Leggett Immobilier is the leading agency specialised in the needs of British buyers in France.

During the first three post-Brexit months, the agency reported an equal number of sales compared to the same period of time in 2015:

-          July 2015 Vs. July 2016: -2.2%*

-          August 2015 Vs. August 2016: -0.7%*

-          September 2015 Vs. September 2016: +2.9%*

In September, Leggett Immobilier was at the French Property Show in London and at the A Place In the Sun show in Birmingham. Joanna Leggett, head of marketing,noticed that “the profile of the visitors has changed. They no longer come to be convinced to cross the Channel; they have already made their mind up. 62% of the buyers at the September 2016 shows said they wanted to buy within the next 6 months. In September 2015, only 45% had the same intent.”

Leggett Immobilier received over 14,384 information request from the UK over the last three months. Despite Brexit, British buyers remain very active on the French market.

One fine stay . . . and it’s not AirBnB

Where did this one come from?

The idea behind onefinestay was thought up by co-founder Greg Marsh in 2009, following a trip to Pisa. A tip off from a local Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 21.20.21friend took him off the beaten track to Piazza delle Vettovaglie. He realised he’d never have experienced Pisa the same way if he hadn’t had this connection with someone who lived there. When Marsh returned to his flat in London he had a second realisation: it had been empty while he was abroad, and every time he travelled someone else could be experiencing London while staying in his home.Marsh’s home was the first to be listed on the onefinestay website.

Founded in 2009, onefinestay launched its unique concept in London in May 2010 with just six homes. Over the course of 2011 the business grew tenfold, and soon expanded internationally, launching in New York in May 2012, and in Los Angeles and Paris in September 2013 before launching in Rome in March 2016.

In April 2016, it was acquired by Accor Hotels for £117 million. The company is committing to a £50 million investment in onefinestay over the next few years.

But how does it work ?

onefinestay allows homeowners to rent out their homes to vetted guests. onefinestay manages everything for the homeowner Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 21.09.55including all reservations. Its in-house housekeeping team prepares everything for the guests’ arrival. They will clean the house before the guest’s arrive and also after they leave. They will also put away any valuables the homeowner does not want on display. Members keep onefinestay up to date on their home’s availability using an online calendar.

Once a homeowner has been selected to join the service, onefinestay learns everything about the home, enabling them to answer any guest queries.

The homes listed range from one-bedroom apartments to town houses and boats. The home owners earn an income from a home which would otherwise sit empty.

What about staying in one ?

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 21.20.00Web and travel advisors help guests find their home. Each home is prepared with white sheets, towels and toiletries. All guests are welcomed on arrival, and the onefinestay team is on call 24/7. Guests are given a onefinestay iPhone, with unlimited data and local calls, as well as local neighbourhood recommendations from onefinestay homeowners

What do people say about it?

The Guardian describes onefinestay as “a fantastic option for staying in London” as it is “Better than house-sitting, in that you have no responsibilities, more interesting than a self-catered property or serviced apartment because the owner’s possessions, their style, their touch and their personality remain.”

Country Life magazine also encouraged it readers to try onefinestay when they wrote “So next time you’re heading into town Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 21.19.29for a meeting, dinner or trip to the theatre, think twice before booking the familiarity of your usual hotel, and live like a local instead”.

This point was echoed by The Financial Times who said “Glitterballs, private lifts and antique cocktails might be fun but how much more compelling is the chance to step into the shoes of a local?”. These reviews have also been reflected by the European Startup Awards which named onefinestay as Best Travel and Hospitality Startup in 2011.

Looking good in the garden

All of these plants prefer a well drained soil in full sun. They have all survived this years’ drought with an occasional deep water and a mulch of garden clippings.


Ornamental grass Sporobolus heterolepsis (Prairie Dropseed) with Salvia lycioides (Canyon Sage) and S. ‘Violette’

Ornamental grass Sporobolus heterolepsis (Prairie Dropseed) with Salvia lycioides (Canyon Sage) and S. ‘Violette’

Signage A5 poster

Dark pink flowers of Salvia greggii ‘Purple Haze’ against the blue-grey foliage of Salvia leucophylla (Purple Sage)

Dark pink flowers of Salvia greggii ‘Purple Haze’ against the blue-grey foliage of Salvia leucophylla (Purple Sage)

Teucrium hircanicum ‘Purple Tails’ (Wood Sage)

Teucrium hircanicum ‘Purple Tails’ (Wood Sage)

Candy floss-like Muhlenbergia reverchonii (Seep Muhly Grass) with Miscanthus sinensis  ‘Adagio'

Candy floss-like Muhlenbergia reverchonii (Seep Muhly Grass) with Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’


An ‘apply way to pay from BA

Customers on the move with an iPhone can now pay for their British Airways flights using Apple Pay through the airline’s hugely popular app.

britishairways_216862116284740_thumb_3Apple Pay automatically stores any payment card details to make it quicker and easier than ever to pay for flights with just a swipe of the finger*.

Entering card payment details every time to book a flight becomes a thing of the past thanks to Apple Pay’s added payment safety and security features.

As well as providing an additional way to pay for flights, the latest update to the British Airways app also has a new upgrade offers feature – for both Apple and Android phone users – which enables customers to take advantage of promotional upgrade offers, through their smartphone.

Sara Dunham, British Airways’ head of marketing and direct, said: “Adding Apple Pay to the British Airways app means more than ever customers can take control of their booking and travel experience.

“Apple Pay gives customers the simplicity and flexibility to pay how they want with absolute peace of mind and it also puts Apple and Android smartphone users in the best position possible to take advantage of any promotional upgrade offers.

“These new features are proof of our continuing investment to innovate in digital and online to make the British Airways app, and, the best mobile booking tools for our customers on the go.”

Apple Pay and upgrade offers are part of the latest upgrade for iPhone users, which are now available for download from the Apple App Store and on Google Play for Android phones.

Earlier this year British Airways introduced a new bespoke app specially designed for iPad users with exclusive features, such as a new 3D globe to discover British Airways’ destinations and prices and a way for customers to create their own viewing plan for their flight’s movies, TV shows and music.

The airline also launched a new multiple boarding pass feature which allows up to eight individual mobile boarding passes to be viewed on one phone, providing everyone travelling together is on the same booking reference number. is also being revamped with beta testing of new technology to deliver an even smoother and simpler booking experience, and make it seamless to use whether on a computer, tablet or smartphone is viewed by over half a million unique users every day, using it to inspire, plan, and manage their trips around the world while use of British Airways’ Mobile Boarding Pass has grown by more than 650 per cent in the last three years.

November brings the fog…

imagesNovember’s weather: The only difference between a mist and a fog is the visibility. If visibility is reduced but it is still greater than 1000 metres it’s a mist, but if it is less than 1000 metres then it’s a fog.

It has nothing to do with droplet size, formation mechanism or anything else.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation enshrines these definitions in its regulations – see

Day-by-day on a knife edge – October’s diary of Chateau Rives-Blanques’ vineyard

Sunday October 2

MauzacOnVineVG-225x300Oh you amazing, magnificent mauzac!  How much longer can you make us dance to your tune?  A couple of days?  A week? Ten days?  Just how much longer can you hold out?

(How much longer can we hold out?)

The grapes look beautiful, and they are basking in the sunshine, in no hurry to go any where very fast.  So our harvest is on hold.

We all have our favourite weather forecast.  BBC versus France Metéo, versus the Norwegian Yr.  The Norwegian Yr has conveniently reduced the rain forecast for this week, so it is the current favourite. We need a solid week’s sunshine, no rain please: no rain, no rot – and that would be such a shame.  Seldom have we seen  mauzac so marvellously magnificent at this stage of the game.  How dreadful it would be to lose it.

Tuesday October 4

janwCheese16-300x300Last year’s Occitania, harvested so effortlessly from mauzac that had read the textbook and followed it to a T, features in Hubrecht Duijker’s October wine magazine on his website:  he being the most internationally known Dutch wine-writer, and Occitania being the most internationally known mauzac (thanks to KLM’s World Business Class).  The lesser-known Jan Panman is pictured there, alongside the aforesaid, talking about a subject close to our hearts: white wine with cheese. Generally so much better than red wine! The trouble is, the article’s in Dutch – though there’s nothing like the language of trying  it out for yourself for the proof of the pudding.  Click on the picture for the article.

In the same edition, the emeritus wine-writer included our chenin blanc Dédicace 2015 as one of his ‘finds of the month’.

Well, that’s a good start to the month.  A little light diversion from more pressing matters, so to speak.

Wednesday October 5

mauzacNest-300x225Cold today.  Overcast.  My forecast says 4.3 mm tomorrow.  Jan’s says thirty mm.  The TV says ‘severe thunder storms’ and ‘chance of flooding’.  I’m plumping for the benevolent Norwegian forecast – though there is definitely a threatening echo of distant rumblings in the sky over our heads.

Heavy rain now would be utterly disastrous.



Thursday October 6

The day broke broken by a dark,  ominous  grey sky. Great slashes of lightening overhead. Simultaneous roars of thunder crashing around directly above us. Then the heavens open.  I pray for the empty-nester mauzac vine  photographed yesterday, the one with a perfectly constructed nest clasped to its very heart.  And for all the rest of the vines waiting there to be harvested.

(And for us.)

In the end we got just over 10 mm, we can handle that.   Friends in Limoux got hail: we could not have handled that.

Michele, our neighbourly purveyor of fresh vegetables, casts a weathered eye at the sky.  “It’ll rain some more” she says.  “Mark my words, it’s not finished yet.”

Friday October 7

And she was right.

In the end we got 15 mm: four times the amount of one forecast, and half the amount of another – too little to be a big problem, but too much to be no problem at all: so the harvest goes back on hold.

Saturday October 8

TWO-copie-257x300Well, it’s true.  It doesn’t rain but it pours.   Today we get the news that the authoritative Wine Enthusiast magazine has put up tasting notes on four of our wines, giving two of them the top distinction: Editor’s Choice.  Another hallelujah moment at Rives-Blanques.  And a great day for our chardonnay, Odyssée, and our mauzac, Occitania.




Sunday October 9

Weather forecast has changed again. Now they’re saying rain on Wednesday.  So we phone around our long-suffering team to see who is free to come and harvest on Tuesday.  That will be the last field … until we get around to the late harvest sitting quietly at the top of the vineyard, waiting to take all the elements full square on the jaw.

Tuesday October 11

mauzacjardin-300x225A most gorgeous day.  Hills and mountains behind sketched in Cloudy Bay colours. We are already feeling quite nostalgic. These are our last grapes.  The last time we will all meet, shake heads, kiss cheeks with cheerful ‘bonjour’s’ before heading off into the sunrise, buckets and secateurs swinging.  Breath rising like smoke in the cold air.   The last time the tractors roar into life.  The last time we get on our knees before the mighty mauzac and dive into its dense heart for the grapes.  The last incredible back-aches.  The last seau tipped into the last trailer.  The last trailer pouring the last grapes onto the sorting table.  The last press.  The last cleaning of the press.  The last supper.

Excepting it’s not.

mauzacjardin2-300x225Tomorrow we continue, because there’s still about four hours’ worth of harvesting left to do. We didn’t manage to get it all in.  But we will get it in just before the rain comes, we think.





And then we can be nostalgic about Vintage 2016.

Wednesday October 12

The sun had some difficulty in getting going this morning, as did we.  Never did the end seem so near; never did the end seem so far.  The weather was bitterly cold, and clearly the  rain that was forecast was actually intending to fall.

But not before we finished picking every last grape from every last vine in the field we call Jardin.Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 22.16.06

Then we went down to the cellars and had a celebratory glass of fizz together.

The harvesters wanted to know how their work was converted into wine, so Jan gave them a guided tour.  Took them up to the press, took them around the barrel cellars.  They stood at the sorting table and started helping take leaves out.  ” I won’t leave so many next year” one of them promised.

Will she be there next year?  You never know.  Most of them have been with us before, some of them haven’t missed a beat in a decade.  Some have disappeared from sight to places like Réunion, and then suddenly reappeared on our doorstep eight years later.

And then we said the last goodbye.

Or did we?

Friday October 14

Stopped in my tracks at Schiphol airport by the guy from Budget who gets all misty-eyed about my driving licence.  “Haven’t seen one of those in years!”  he exclaims affectionately, “really, Mevrouw, you should keep it … it’s a museum piece!”  The only trouble is, despite the fact it says it’s valid to 2019,  it is not valid at all.  Hasn’t been for a decade or so.  Go to the  police at Schiphol responsible for missing documents, they all look bored and unpromising.  But this galvanizes them into action, and they cluster Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 22.16.26around my tattered driving licence, abandoning all the lost and missing passport people.   But no, they cannot help me either.  So that’s that, no car for Caryl.

We’ve come for a Meet the Winemaker Dinner in Katwijk, a seaside resort not far from the Hague.  In the old days, these beach restaurants were pretty simple, straightforward affairs, offering a fried plaice and a glass of plonk at best.  The KW106 is all together another kettle of fish, so to speak.

Five glorious courses to accompany five of our wines.  Magic – and utterly delicious.  Jan and I circulate among the 80-odd diners,  enjoying the happy coincidence of loving to talk about our wines with talking to people who were happy to hear about them.  Until I got to the table with a bottle of bog-standard red Rioja, because mijnheer doesn’t drink white wine, that is …

Then Jan went his way and I went mine, criss-crossing the country on the train.  Fortunately Holland is small, and the trains are good.


France Budget for 2017

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

It is that time of year again, when the government releases its proposed budget for the following year and it starts to make its way through the parliamentary process. 

The 2017 draft budget was presented on 28th September 2016. Here is a summary of the main measures affecting expatriates. Please note that these are current proposals and there may be changes before it is approved by the French parliament.

Income tax

As previously announced, a French Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system will be introduced from January 2018. The reform will apply to employed and self-employed individuals, and those receiving income from French pensions and unfurnished lettings in France. It should also apply to wages, pensions and annuities paid by non-French entities to French resident individuals, although the mechanism for how this would work is unknown.

There will be a 20% income tax reduction for taxpayers with low income – up to €18,500 for individual taxpayers and €37,000 for couples subject to joint tax returns. A scale rate mechanism is introduced for those earning up to €20,500 (individual taxpayers) and €41,000 (couples). These limits will be increased by €3,700 for each additional half part for dependants.

The scale rates of income tax for calendar year 2016 (paid in 2017) are:

Net income subject to tax Tax rate
Up to €9,710 0%
€9,710 to €26,818 14%
€26,818 to €71,898 30%
€71,898 to €152,260 41%
Over €151,260 45%

Some tax credits will be extended:

  • The tax credit for sustainable development is extended up to 31st December 2017. This credit reduces the French income tax liability if you make energy efficiency improvements to your main home.
  • The tax credit for ‘Pinnel’ investments is extended up to 31st December 2017. This credit applies to green homes let for a minimum of six years.
  • The credits for non-professional furnished landlord under the ‘Censier-Bouard’ rules are extended up to 31st December 2017. This credit applies to French resident taxpayers acquiring a property to let unfurnished. Only retirement homes, care homes or student residences qualify.
  • The credit for home help should now be applicable to all taxpayers. Currently an individual who employs a home help (for domestic work, child care, gardening etc) may deduct 50% of the amount paid to the home help from his tax liability, up to a maximum of €12,000, plus €1,500 per dependent or household member aged over 65, maximum €15,000.  The maximum tax reduction is €7,500.
  • A tax credit is planned to be introduced on property for energy renovation work or adaptation for persons with disabilities. The tax reduction will equal 20% of the cost of the work, with a limit of €22,000.

Impatriate regime

The special impatriate regime for employees should be extended from five to a maximum of eight years. In addition, those under this regime will no longer be subject to ‘salary’ tax, a special tax payable by the employer on the employee’s income.

Tax cap

Currently combined French income tax, wealth tax and social charges cannot exceed 75% of your total income for the previous year.  An anti-abuse clause will be introduced in the wealth tax cap to prevent the use of holding companies to take income out of the cap calculation.

Wealth tax

The wealth tax holiday period has not been extended up to eight years as was predicted, so this remains at five years for now.

Succession tax

The succession tax reduction for families will be removed. Currently, where the beneficiary has more than three children, they can reduce their succession tax bill by €610 for the third and subsequent children, where the inheritance comes from a parent or spouse. This reduces to €305 if the inheritance is from another relative.

Corporation tax

For businesses whose turnover is less than €50 million, the corporation tax rate will reduce to 28% in 2017 for profits between €38,120 and €75,000. Corporation tax is currently levied at 15% for profits up to €38,120. Above €75,000 the normal 33.1/3% corporation tax rate will apply.

Compared to the budgets we had a few years ago, the measures in this draft budget should have little impact on retired British expatriates living in France.  However it is still important to review your tax planning from time to time to ensure it is up to date on all the tax reforms of recent years.  You also want to make sure you are not paying more tax than necessary on your investment income, pensions and wealth.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change.  Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change.  Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

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