In France there are two property taxes to pay – Taxe d’Habitation and Taxe Foncière – both are forms of a council tax.
The Taxe Foncière is payable by property owners – whether they live in the property or not.
The Taxe d’Habitation is payable by the residents of the property – whether they own it or not. It is a higher rate of tax than the Taxe d’Habitation and is based on location and size of the property – a sort of land tax. The rate is set by the local authority in the region and this varies from region to region and of course on the size, location and state of the property and land.
How much is Taxe Foncière?
Taxe Foncière is reviewed annually and can change – usually in an upwards direction of course. The calculation for individual properties is based on the state and size of the building (number of bedrooms/bathrooms etc) and the amount of land attached to the property.
If you make improvements to a property it will very likely affect the tax that is due – for instance adding a swimming pool.
Taxe Foncière is usually paid annually – around October to November. The local authorities will send an invoice which will include details of what they have based their calculations on. From time to time there are errors, particularly after planning permission has been signed off and the records updated. If this is the case we recommend you visit your local Centre d’Impôts (Tax Office) and keep a record of all paperwork and conversations until matters are resolved.
New property owners in France should make sure that the authorities have the correct address to send the invoice to as late payment can result in fines.
Exemptions and discounts – elderly residents, students, unemployed and those on low incomes may be eligible for reduced Taxe Foncière invoices – you will need to check with your local tax office (Centre des Impôts Fonciers).
If you are buying a brand new property or building a new property you may be eligible for discounts or exemptions for a limited period – apply to the local tax authority for details.
When buying property you can ask the estate agent (immobilier) or seller to give you details of the current tax payments on the property as an indication of what to expect. Every region differs but as an example a big two bedroomed/two bathroom home in Pas de Calais (12th most expensive property region in France) and acre of land is approximately €600 per annum (2013); the second property tax – Taxe d’Habitation is usually around 25% less.
Payment of the Taxe Foncière is due to be paid by the owner of the property as at 1 January of the year of payment.
When you are buying a property – check with your notaire (the French equivalent of a lawyer and the only legal authority able to process property sales and purchases) about liability for payment of Taxe Foncière between you and the seller to ensure that you do not end up paying all of the tax if you moved half way through the year say.
Useful website: http://impots.dispofi.fr/centres-des-impots/