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Real estate capital gains: calculation and exemptions

Posted on April 27, 2022

Capital gains on the sale of real estate are subject to income tax and social security contributions.

However, there are many exemptions.

How is a capital gain calculated?

Capital gains are taxable when they result from a sale for valuable consideration: sale of a property or the rights attached to it, exchange, contribution to a company, etc.

It is calculated in two stages:

  • the calculation of the gross capital gain (1), and
  • the application of allowances (2)


  • Calculation of the gross capital gain

The gross capital gain is the difference between the sale price and the purchase price.

The sale price is the price mentioned in the deed of sale added to the charges and indemnities paid by the buyer (e.g. eviction indemnity) and minus the costs incurred by the seller (e.g. the cost of real estate diagnostics or the costs of mortgage release).

As for the acquisition price, it corresponds to the purchase price or the value appearing in the declaration of inheritance or in the donation.

It is increased by:

  • acquisition costs (notary’s fees, registration fees, etc.) for a fixed amount of 7.5% of the purchase price or actual costs based on receipts; and
  • works for a fixed amount of 15% of the purchase price for a property that has been held for more than five years or at actual costs based on receipts.

Example: for a purchase price of €200,000, the flat-rate valuations allow the price to be increased by €15,000 for the acquisition costs and €30,000 for the works.

  • Application of allowances

Allowances for holding periods are applied to this capital gain.

Holding period Allowance rate for each year of holding for income tax purposes Allowance for each year of holding for social security contributions
Les than 6 months 0% 0%
From the 6th to the 21st year 6% 1.65%
22nd year 4% 1.60%
Beyond the 22nd year Exemption 9%
Beyond the 30th year Exemption Exemption

For example, for a property that has been held for 15 years or more, the seller benefits from an allowance of :

– 60% for income tax,

– 16.5% for social security contributions.

For a capital gain of 40,000 €, only 16,000 € will be subject to income tax and 33,400 € to social security contributions.

Please note

For properties located in certain “tight” areas between supply and demand, an additional allowance of 70% is applicable if the sale allows the construction of multi-family residential buildings and 85% if the majority are social and/or intermediate properties.

In practice, this exceptional allowance applies to sales made until the 31st of December 2022 (provided that the preliminary contract has acquired a specific date between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2020).

The taxation rate of the capital gain: after the allowance, the capital gain is taxed at a rate of 19% and social security contributions are taxed at a rate of 17.2%.

An additional tax is due for capital gains superior to 50,000 €, after the allowance.

It is 2% to 6% depending on the amount of the capital gain.

What are the exemptions?

There are many exemptions for capital gains on property, each of which is subject to specific conditions such as sales of principal residences, those with a price of less than 15,000 € or sales to social housing organisations.

The capital gain is also exempt when the seller does not own his main residence and uses the money from the sale price to acquire one or when a non-resident sells a home located in France.

In addition, pensioners and people living in social, medico-social or nursing homes for the elderly or disabled adults can benefit from an exemption subject to income conditions.

Cabinet Nicolas BRAHIN

Advokatfirma i NICE, Lawyers in NICE

Email :  contact@brahin-avocats.com

1, Rue Louis Gassin – 06300 NICE (FRANCE)

Tel :   +33 493 830 876      /    Fax : +33 493 181 437


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