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Understanding the Taxe Foncière

By Katriona Murray-Platon - Topics: France, Taxe Foncière
This article is published on: 19th October 2019

As the last quarter of the year approaches, there is one thing that is certain and that is that taxes are due. In September the final instalment of the income tax must be paid, in October the Taxe Foncière is due and in November the Taxe d’Habitation must be paid.

Taxe Foncière is a tax paid by property owners on the 1st January of each tax year. Note that it is paid by the owner not the occupant and applies to both buildings (houses or apartments) and land (agricultural or constructible).

If you sell your property or land, the tax liability for that year is apportioned to each party, by the notary, according to the timing of the sale.

You may qualify for an exemption if:

    • the property is a new construction used as a main residence (the exemption is for 2 years)
    • you are in receipt of disability allowance
    • you are in receipt of old age allowance
    • you are over 75 (depending on level of income)

The tax office may also allow an exemption for unoccupied property which is habitable and normally rented, provided that:

    • it is unintentionally unoccupied
    • it is unoccupied for at least 3 months
    • part or all of the building is unoccupied

However, as the tax reduction is not automatically granted, you have to apply for it and demonstrate that you qualify (with reference to the specific points above).

Taxe Foncière is based on rental value according to the land registry multiplied by a rate set by the local authorities – so rates differ depending on where the property is situated and from one year to the next.

Any building on your property that is a permanent fixture could result in an increase of your Taxe Foncière. If you install a swimming pool (sunk or semi-sunk) then this could increase your Taxe Foncière. You have 90 days to declare to the tax offices that you have installed a swimming pool but you could also be exempt from paying the Taxe Foncière for the first 2 years.

The tax office sometimes makes mistakes when calculating Taxe Foncière liabilities, in which case you should contact your local office to ask for an explanation and rebate. You have until the 31st December 2019 to challenge your 2018 calculation. Additionally, the tax office sometimes doesn’t apply exemptions for which you qualify.

You can contact the tax office via your online account on the impots.gouv.fr website or by email or letter sent by recorded post.

Paying your taxe foncière monthly spreads the costs throughout the year. You have to settle in full by the middle of October, so if you do pay monthly and the amount hasn’t changed this year, you will have nothing to pay in November and December.

Article by Katriona Murray-Platon

Katriona Murray-PlatonIf you are based in the Poitou Charentes, Limousin & Aquitaine area you can contact Katriona at: katey.murray@spectrum-ifa.com for more information. If you are based in another area within Europe, please complete the form below and we will put a local adviser in touch with you.

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