If you are lucky enough to own a property in France, or only considering one, then it is likely that you are familiar with the very topical French word: “La rentrée” – if not, well, this coincides with the end of the summer holidays. Everybody in France go back to work and school. It also coincides with new calculations for taxation, updates usually arrive by mail in September. You may want to refer to this previous article for more details. The Sextant Properties team wanted to recap on the property tax also called “Taxe foncière” in France. Reason being that this tax is quite lenient compared to others. This is why it is important that you double check your tax notice especially its calculation. It may well be you are entitled to a discount or an exemption.
Who has to pay the property tax in France?
Key question indeed! The straight answer is quite simple but there are many exceptions. The landowner has to pay for the property tax if it belonged to him or her on January, 1st of a given tax year. This would include agricultural land but not our concerns as Sextant France only deal with French properties. In this very instance, if the usufructuary (Legal term in French is “usufruitier”) is different than the landowner then the property tax is for them to pay. In the case of long term rental that is that say beyond 18 years and up to 99 years then the property tax is one for the tenant. This also applies for technical tenancy agreements such as “réhabilitation” and “construction” – please contact our team if you’d like to know more about these.
For shared properties, which is often the case in cities, then the owner must pay the property tax for each unit that they own.
How is the tax calculated?
The methodology is similar to the one for the housing tax. It depends heavily on bracket of the property as well as its weighted surface. The latter will be calculated from other criteria such as location, state, consistency and affectation. These are quite technical too so don’t hesitate to contact our property law team.
How and where to contest your France property tax calculation?
This is quite straight forward for French nationals but because of language barriers can become a nightmare for non native speakers. Before we delve into details, be aware than brand new constructions are exempt of tax for the first two years. This usually is taken into account but worth checking. Also, elderly people who are above 75 years of age or are struggling financially will be exempt. There are various statuses which directly qualify you for exemption, please note that you will still have to provide some official documents to initiate your case – the statuses in question are as follow: ASPA, ASI and AAH.
Should you want to discuss the calculation of your property tax, the most common route is to pay a visit to local tax office. In the case of foreign owners, we recommend that you send your request online though at the official website here: www.impots.gouv.fr the equivalent for the HMRC website.
Remember you still have to pay what you are being requested, otherwise you face a 10% charge – pay in full and just wait for refund when this occurs.