James Bond and the $47 Million French Estate

September 21, 2020 Ian Hull In the News Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

September has brought some news out of the world of James Bond.

Labour Day saw the release of the new trailer for No Time To Die, the 25th installment of the blockbuster spy franchise, and fifth (and final) for current 007 Daniel Craig. While Craig is exiting, and there is no word yet as to who will don the most famous code name of all time, the newest trailer sees the return of familiar characters, friend and foe alike: Ernst Blofeld, head of the notorious terrorist organization, SPECTRE, CIA Agent Felix Leiter and of course, Ms. Moneypenny.

As for those looking for a cottage or a second home, September also brought the news that Sean Connery, the most famous 007 of them all, has placed his house in Cote d’Azur, France on the market for a cool €30 Million.

Truly a house built for a super spy on the banks of the Mediterranean in Cap de Nice, Connery’s 1.24 acre Belle Epoch-inspired abode boasts a saltwater pool, indoor gym and pool, and two guest houses. While Sir Sean may be leaving town, Elton John and Tina Turner have also owned homes nearby, and Monaco is just a 30 minute drive away.

One is encouraged to be mindful of the tax liabilities in France, however, as the Taxe Foncière is based on the cadastral income of a property, while the Taxe d’Habitation is traditionally only paid by residents. While the TH has been the subject of much political attention for primary residences, if the house is a second home, authorities can levy a surcharge of as much as 60% if a furnished home is left vacant for more than 120 days per year. Finally, France has a wealth tax that applies to residents and non-residents alike if they have real property assets of €1.3 million or greater. A significant tax risk for cottaging Canadians to be sure.

If a Canadian is considering a property purchase on the Riveria, it’s worth investigating the consequences for an estate plan. While Canada has no tax on testamentary gifts, one would be wise to check with the jurisdiction in which a prospective beneficiary lives. In the United States, for example, citizens are taxed on their worldwide income, so a gift of this size to an American relative may yield a tax burden. Finally, while personal property is governed by the jurisdiction in which the testator lives, real property is governed by the jurisdiction in which it’s located. So France will decide what taxes will apply to the property itself.

Thanks for reading!

Ian Hull and Daniel Enright

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