PRACTICAL LIFE – Voluntarily selling a property in advance, without waiting for expropriation, can generate a tax adjustment, including for a project said to be of public interest.
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“You should never sell the skin of e bear before having killed it, “says a French expression. In this case, if you inherit, do not take advantage of the property acquired to sell it immediately without having taken the necessary steps authorizing you to sell. Justice grants the tax authorities a strict right of scrutiny over a possible premature sale and in this specific case, the public interest does not hold, specifies the Court of Cassation about the following case.
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A landlord sells land leased to a farmer to his municipality under a long-term rural lease. The following year it is subject to a tax adjustment. “Long-term leases allow you to be partially exempt from inheritance tax provided that the property is kept for at least five years by the heir “, specifies the FISC administration. However, in this case, only three years had passed since the inheritance.
The owner defends himself by ensuring that it is a sale with a public interest, in order to allow the creation of a public utility zone with waste reception center and fire station. He assimilates this case to that of expropriation for public utility. In fact, the expropriation being a forced sale, it does not remove the tax advantage.
Of no interest public
The Court of Cassation did not follow the owner’s reasoning. “The public interest in a sale is not a criterion. there is no expropriation procedure, it is a voluntary sale. ” Thus, the owner who did not wait to be expropriated voluntarily avoided the obligation to keep his property for five years, a condition of the reduction of taxes on the inheritance.
A certain number of goods such as sustainably managed woods and forests, goods located in Corsica, protected natural areas or historic monuments may benefit from reduced rights. This is the case when the sale relates to goods which were acquired with reduced inheritance or gift taxes. But, except for Corsica, the exemption is subject to variable conditions which may create obligations for several decades.
Wood and forest owners must therefore apply sustainable management for at least years and those of natural areas protected for at least 18 year. Owners of long-term leased farm property must retain ownership for 5 years. Owners of historic monuments must prove an agreement signed with the State to organize their opening to the public, etc.
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