I think several of us on this forum do try to stress to newbies that moving to a country, as opposed to visiting a country on holiday, involves understanding and accepting that country's laws, values, priorities, obligations, cuture etc. France isn't the UK/Belgium/wherever with a different climate and different scenery. However much you love what you see on the surface, it is all underpinned by strict laws that bind it all together and make France what it is. It's no good moving to a country if its laws and culture are going to be unpalatable to you, because as you say you will only be creating endless stress for yourself. It's naive to expect there not to be downsides to wherever you live - find them out before you go, all the information that you are jumping up and down about is easily available on the internet and shouldn't have come as a surprise to you. Countries are a bit like people, you can't say whether you love them enough to stick by them until you know their faults as well as their good points. If you do go in blind, yes you will probably end up feeling bitter and having a sour-grapes rant about how 'unfair' it was that you didn't like what you found.Hi, I spent a lot of time researching french tax laws and they are simply disgusting. I am single but my heirs are neices and nephews and if u die resident in france then your worldwide assets fall under french inheritance laws. If you have substantial assets or are considering investing in france then dont move there as residents buy a second home and spend six months a year then you dont need to worry about the tax laws otherwise u will be really sorry when u find out the facts. As Bev mentioned only immovable property outside france is not tied up in their tax laws...but all worldwide movable property including cash investments, bonds, stocks, fixed deposits etc all fall under the taxation and its pretty high especially if your inheritance goes to someone other than your children....even in case of children its like 45% and for others is more like 65% ...worst if is you buy a million euro property in france and die then the government gives ur heirs an option to get a loan and repay 65% of the value over several years or sell the property and pay upfront. There is also a horrible wealth tax in france research that if u havent already.
I found out that all the rich foreigners living in france are not residents there - they own properties with mortgages cleverly so only the equity in those properties are taxed in france for wealth tax and inheritance tax purposes (all property owned in france will be taxed regardless of ur residency status there)...and none of these foreigners spend more than six months a year in france...the cost of being fiscally resident in france is ridiculous and totally unfair but i believe its worse in spain...the only good latin european country in this regard is italy as they have no wealth tax and inheritance tax i think is maximum 5% which is very less. As I said if u love france....get a cheap second home or property with a mortgage and spend six month a year without becoming residents there...not only are tax laws horrible, the bureaucracy is a nightmare to deal with. Even if u buy an expensive car in france an enquiry is sent automatically by the car dealership to the tax office and u will get a letter in the mail....france may be a slow country for many reasons but when it comes to taxing people they have a very efficient and fast system.
Spent a year in France and left....now just visit when i feel like and satisfy myself.....believe me its a much better way of enjoying france without all that stress.
Taxes ARE very high, it IS hard to understand the system if you don't speak French, and French succession laws ARE more restrictive that many countries'. There's good and bad aspects to all these things. If you personally find that they disgust you, France obviously isn't the place for you, and your mistake was to do your research after you arrived and not before.
This is a great post because it highlights to other people how important it is to look before you leap - perhaps it should be made compulsory reading!
(EDIT - just to clarify the succession taxes in particular so as not to panic people, because the figures aren't as quoted above, for instance it's nowhere near 45% for children unless your propery is worth literally millions: