Having the right information and choosing the right ownership structure can be key to maximizing the potential of your property investment.
There are several options for structuring the property purchase:
- in your own name
- in the joint names of you and your spouse or co-purchaser(s)
- in the names of your adult children or of someone who will eventually inherit the property from you
- through an ordinary limited company, whether foreign or French
- in the name of an SCI (société civile immobilière), a real estate holding company formed under French law, specifically structured for owning and managing properties in France. The organization is similar to a corporation since it is under shareholder ownership and control, but it is treated like a partnership for U.S. tax purposes.
Each option has its own advantages; the best structure depends on your own personal circumstances and your intended use of the property. The pros and cons of buying under an SCI are discussed more in depth here.
For any purchase, the right choice can be important for inheritance tax and other financial planning considerations. Be sure to complete the purchase with the ownership structure that you will want long term, because changing it in the future can be costly.