In spite of all the press speculation in recent weeks, Assurance Vie policies were left largely untouched in the official announcements made on Wednesday 13th November. This is excellent news both for existing holders and those considering taking out or topping up an Assurance Vie policy.
Here is a summary of the main changes proposed:
No changes are proposed to the income tax treatment of withdrawals from Assurance Vie policies.The only change is the social charge increase for the pre 1998 policies that had already been announced. The gain element of any withdrawal from these old policies is now subject to 15.5% social charges, something which already apply to policies set up since 1998.In particular, none of the changes proposed in the 2012 Berger-Lefebvre report were put through. These included extending the 8 year period for lower fixed rates to 10 or even 12 years, or even getting rid of the fixed rates altogether for withdrawals in the first 8 years. The policyholder still has the option of using the normal scale rates if the marginal tax rate is lower than the applicable fixed rate.
The fixed rates remain at the same level as follows (inclusive of 15.5% social charges):
1-4 years 50.5% 5-8 years 30.5% 8 years + 23%
Currently the first €152,500 per beneficiary is exempt and any balance up to €902,838 would suffer tax at the rate of 20%. Where the amount received by a single beneficiary is more than €902,838 (after the €152,500 allowance), i.e. €1,055,338, the excess over €152,500 is taxable at a rate of 25%. The current proposal is to increase the rate of 25% to 31.25% where a single beneficiary receives more than €1,000,000. One of the proposals of the 2012 report was to realign the allowances with the standard succession tax allowances – this would have reduced the €152,500 allowance to €100,000 (current allowance for inheritances from parent to child). Again, this change was not included in the 2014 budget proposals.
New Types of Assurance VieThe creation of a new form of Assurance Vie, called Eurocroissance is also proposed. It will be a mixture of funds held in Euros which will provide a stable base, and shares, which will carry a higher risk. The funds invested will benefit from a capital guarantee after eight years.The other ‘new’ Assurance Vie will be more heavily orientated to shares and investments in small businesses and social housing. The new rate of 31.25% would not apply to this type of policy and amounts above €1,000,000 received by a single beneficiary would still benefit from the 25% rate.At Blevins Franks we offer exclusive access to Assurance Vie, which are deliberately sited in the most secure financial environments, with access to a range of multimanager investments covering all major asset classes and tailored to an individual’s risk profile.
Please note that not all Assurance Vie policies are the same, so you do need professional advice.
Retirement Homes in
You have retired to
Sheltered housing, often called “résidences services” in the private sector or “foyer logements” in the public, is a stepping stone between complete independence and a retirement home. It is particularly useful for those (not necessarily over 60) who are either able bodied, but need a level of support, or who are looking to the future and wish to have various services and support on hand “just in case”. This type of accommodation gives the occupier complete independence with the security of knowing someone is on hand if they have a problem. It is normally associated with the provision of some services, such as gardening and decorating. There may also be a social element, such as a restaurant or bar.
Retirement Homes (maisons de retraite) are for those who are no longer able to live alone, either due to physical or mental disability. These homes usually provide an individual private room with community facilities (restaurant, living areas, garden etc.) and community activities. A retirement home will NOT necessarily provide on site medical care, although medical support will be available as the home will have an arrangement with local nurses and doctors.
All retirement homes are subject to inspection and must meet quality standards.Nursing Homes (maisons de rétraites medicalisées) are for those people who need access to full time medical care. Again, an individual private room would normally be available and medical staff will be on the premises 24 hours a day. There will be shared common rooms and staff will ensure that those who are able have the opportunity to participate in activities. These too are subject to inspection and must meet high quality standards.
And what does it cost? Of course this depends entirely on the type of accommodation required – full medical care being much more expensive than a room in a retirement home. However, there are social security benefits available which may be claimed by persons who are French resident, albeit not French citizens. Some minimum benefits are available to everyone irrespective of income.
Why not consider staying in your own home? It is worth remembering that there are a multitude of services available to help people remain in their own homes, if they wish to do so. Everything from cleaning to shopping to washing services can be provided, at a cost, but also with the possibility of benefits if income is below a certain level.
Penny Parkinson: Vice Pesident Cancer Support France-Sud De France firstname.lastname@example.org
CAN YOU HELP
I am searching for a couple of books by Author ‘Melanie Rose’.
Coming Home and Down to Earth
and wondered if any of your supporters have copies they don’t want.
Many thanks – I would appreciate any help in my search Jill Tel 0468 322351.
Safety rules to be relaxed for all European airlines from December
Data shows that there is no real aviation safety risk from devices
Airlines may have to install new technology to take advantage
Aeroplane passengers will soon be able to make calls, send emails and surf the internet during
take-off and landing after a relaxation of safety rules.
The changes have been in place in the
but the European Aviation Safety Authority announced that it is to follow suit this week.
However, there's still the old 5.5% rate which applies to a limited range of goods/services including works related to the
supply of energy and other related issues including strictly limited gas boiler installations, servicing etc.,
some insulation work as well as education etc. Politicians seem to be still haggling over this rate at the time of writing.
There's even a 2.1% rate which I won't bother to go into. Needless to say the whole thing is just as confusing as ever.
Despite the gap narrowing, it is still often more economical to use a TVA registered builder,
plumber etc. It all depends on the material content...
Let's say you're having works on your house that involves spending 1000€ without TVA on materials, plus 200€
labour. Using a non-TVA registered company (auto entrepreneur for example), you will pay 1200€ including TVA
for materials, plus 200€ labour = 1400€.
Using a TVA registered business for the same materials and labour costs means paying 1100€ materials + 220€
labour = 1320€ including TVA. You've just saved yourself 80€.
Some people find the concept of TVA difficult to grasp. Basically it works like this – all TVA registered businesses
pay TVA at the standard rate (20%) (Except in a very few cases where the rate is lower) exactly the same as
non-TVA registered businesses and consumers would pay. But, being TVA registered, they claim the tax back
from the government. They then have to impose TVA again when they sell the goods/services. If the rate is
the lower 10%, they can actually sell for less than they bought when tax is allowed for.
Clearly, each job you're having done would need to have the tax calculated if you're to avoid paying any more
TVA than you need to. Also remember that generally speaking all invoices relating to works on your house count
towards relief on Capital Gains Tax (your friendly Notaire/lawyer/accountant will brief you in detail on this). So
having works done for cash can often be a double whammy – you pay more TVA, and your CGT bill will one day
be more than it needs to be.
Which perhaps leaves the question as to what qualifies for the lower rate and what doesn't? Very simply, if the
job is to do with fixtures and fittings in or on the house (not uninhabitable out-buildings), then the rate is 10%.
Some other work qualifies as well – boundary fences and dealing with trees that threaten human life are a
couple of examples. Decorating also attracts the lower rate. Simple examples of how it can work as follows – you
call someone in to supply new curtains and curtain rods. The rods and associated labour is 10%; the curtains
and associated labour is 20%. A free-standing cooker is 20%, but a fitted oven or hob is 10%.
Something to ponder over Christmas. Have a good one.
You can have yourself pampered in time for Christmas
Bruce is now on hoilday untill 9th December, but you can leave a message for his return
The Book Exchange at McDonald’s in December will not be taking place as it falls on Boxing Day.
Advance notice for the January Book Exchange on Thursday 23rd January 2014 will be a morning
Event from 9am till 11am. McDonald's will be offering (if required) a breakfast menu of
Fruit juice- Egg Muffin with bacon and coffee for only €2.50.