The Taxe Foncière is the responsibility of the owners of a property.
The Taxe d’Habitation is the responsibility of the occupiers of a property – whether they own or rent.
Payment of the Taxe d’Habitation must be made within the stated deadlines of the invoice – failure to do so will mean a fine and the possibility of the authorities taking the money directly from a bank account.
In the event that the authorities don’t have bank account details, or there are insufficient funds to pay the bill, they can arrange to send a bailiff (huissers) to the property to claim assets to be sold to cover the amount due. Non-payment can also result in a blocked bank account and long term problems with references.
The Taxe d’Habitation invoice includes a TV licence fee.
We are routinely asked if second home owners are eligible to pay a television licence payment for a TV in France – the answer is YES! Even if your TV in France is only used for playing DVDs and you never ever watch television on it – French, Satellite or other – you are obliged to pay.
If you do not have a TV at all in France you can request a form from the local tax office (Centre des Impôts) to be exempted from payment.
How much is Taxe d’Habitation?
Of the two property taxes in France, this one is almost always lower. The tax levied varies from region to region though country properties are generally much cheaper than towns and cities since they have fewer amenities.
Calculations are made taking into account various factors such as the level of comfort of a home (number of bathrooms for instance), size and location. A theoretical “rental value” of the property (called valeur locative cadastral) times the local tax rate is applied to get a final figure. Improvements to properties are likely to result in increased taxes – adding bathrooms, sinks, extensions etc are taken into account and will mean an update to the cadastre (the land registry) of the property that feeds into the administrative tax process.
The local authorities will issue an invoice for the Taxe d’Habitation around October to November each year.
As with the Taxe Foncière there may be discounts and exemptions for elderly residents, students, the unemployed, those on a low income and owners of new properties. You will need to apply to your local tax office to see whether your circumstances make you eligible or not. Only residents who file tax returns in France are eligible; once you have sent in your tax returns paperwork, claiming concessions is easier since the authorities have all the details on record.
In France, the person who inhabits the property as at 1st January of the year to be billed is legally responsible for the annual payment. If you are buying a property make sure that this is covered with your notaire (property lawyer).