Article updated on 15/09/2023
Every owner, whether they are residents or not, of a professional or residential building in France, currently receive a notice of “Taxe foncière”. Similarly, people who have secondary residences or furnished housings not assigned to the main residence will soon receive a notice of “Taxe d’habitation”.
Here are the main details about the features of these two taxes as well as the housing tax on vacant housing.
I – “Taxe Foncière”: Property Tax
1. Taxable persons
The taxpayer is anyone who owns a built or unbuilt property (in the case of bare land). It is the owner on January 1st, who receives the tax for the entire year.
Both spouses are eligible, but not jointly. When a property is held in joint ownership by several owners, the tax is assessed in the name of all the joint owners, and payment must be agreed between them.
In the event of dismemberment of ownership, the usufructuary is liable.
If a property is sold during the year, the seller may request that the amount be shared with the buyer on a pro rata temporis basis, provided this is stipulated in the deed of sale.
2. Taxable real estates
Property tax on buildings:
- Constructions fixed to the ground in perpetuity
- Commercial or industrial installations assimilated to constructions (workshops, hangars, industrial buildings, etc.)
- Storage facilities
- Masonry works which have the character of real constructions
- Bridges and communication channels
- Boats used at a fixed point
- Lands forming an addiction with a construction
- Certain uncultivated land assigned to industrial or commercial use, except for land assigned to the practice of golf
- Land used for advertising
- Light leisure dwellings resting on a masonry base, and which cannot be moved without being demolished
- Yurts used for housing built on concrete pads which include fittings
Property tax on unbuilt estates:
- Bare land used for agriculture
- Mines and peat bogs
- Ponds, salt pans and salt marshes
- Lands occupied by greenhouses used for agricultural purposes
- Golf courses, whatever their operating conditions
3. Tax calculation
Property tax on buildings:
The basis of calculation is the “Valeur Locative Cadastrale” (Cadastral Rental Value) which is determined as follows:
- For premises allocated to housing, the rental value is determined by comparison with that of reference premises chosen, in the municipality, for each type and category of premises.
The rental value of the reference premises is determined according to a fixed rate, by municipality or sector of municipality, for each type and category of premises, based on the rent of the premises rented freely under normal price conditions.
This rate is applied to the weighted surface area of the reference premises. This price is corrected to consider the nature of the different parts of the premises, its location, its importance, its condition, and its equipment.
New rental values will be put in place from 2028. The finance law for 2020, amended by the finance law for 2023, determined the terms and timetable for the revision of rental values. The rental value of each property or fraction of property will be determined based on the state of the rental market on the reference date, i.e., January 1st, 2025, subject to an annual update.
- For professional premises (commercial and liberal professions) other than those allocated to housing or to the exercise of a salaried activity at home, the rental value of these professional premises is calculated considering 3 criteria:
- Weighted surface area of the room: the overall surface area of the premises is weighted according to the use and physical characteristics of the different parts of the premises for the activity carried out (1 for the main surfaces of the premises, 0.5 for the secondary covered surfaces and 0.2 for the uncovered secondary surfaces).
- Category of premises (and its dedicated rate): each premises is attached to one of 38 categories, depending on the use of the premises (i.e., store, office, depot, hotel, etc.) and its physical characteristics. Prices per square meter have been determined in each sector.
- Local location coefficient: this coefficient takes different values between 0.70 and 1.30. It applies to the rate per square meter of the category of each professional premises. It is linked to the geographical location of the premises.
- For industrial establishments and industrial lands and buildings, the rental value is established essentially on accounting data, based mainly on the cost price of soil, land, buildings, materials, and tools.
This “Valeur Locative Cadastrale” is then multiplied by 0.5 and the result gives the “Revenue Cadastral”.
At the request of the taxpayer, the rental value of the premises assigned exclusively to the accommodation of seasonal agricultural employees and apprentices is reduced in proportion to the period during which these premises remained vacant during the year preceding the tax year.
The tax rate for each local authority is then applied to the “Revenue Cadastral” to determine the amount to be paid.
The main territorial authorities are the commune, the intercommunity, the department, and the region.
The tax also includes an element named “Taxe Ordures Ménagères”, the refund of this amount can be claimed by the owner to the tenant when it is a property for the purpose of a lease. Special equipment taxes and the tax for the management of aquatic environments and the prevention of flooding (GEMAPI) may also be added.
Note: The municipalities and other territorial authorities may institute, upon deliberation, an abatement on the rental value, of which here are three examples:
- 30% on certain social housing in priority neighborhoods of city policy (QPV)
- 30% for industrial or commercial premises converted into housing, located in collective buildings and in a municipality on whose territory one or more QPVs are located
- 50% for buildings assigned directly to research operations
Property tax on unbuilt estates:
The calculation mode is identical but the “Valeur Locative Cadastrale” is reduced by 20% except for building land or land used for hunting, to give the “Revenue Cadastral”.
Concerning building land located in tense areas, a flat rate increase of €3 per m² (which can be modulated) can be decided upon by local authorities.
4. Payment date
The payment of local taxes for individuals (property taxes, in particular) is due 30 days after the date of collection of the role. Any payment made 45 days after this collection is subject to a 10% increase for late payment.
The tax notice is usually received by the taxpayer in the month of September and the payment deadline is October 15th.
In case of payment by internet, the delay is postponed to October 20th (or 25th in case of bank levy).
The taxpayer may request the monthly levy of his tax.
5. Discounts and exemptions
There are many cases of exemption, here are the most common.
Property tax on buildings:
- A mandatory permanent exemption applies to state property, rural buildings used by farmers and buildings used to produce photovoltaic electricity.
- New constructions are temporarily exempt (usually 2 years) but subject to declarative obligations. However, the municipality may, by deliberation and for its share, limit the exemption to 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% or 90% of the tax base. The EPCI may, by deliberation and on its part, remove this exemption.
- Optional exemption from 2 to 5 years in favor of companies benefiting from a tax exemption on profits (new companies created in AFR zones – companies created to take over a company in difficulty).
- Optional exemption of 50% or 100% for 3 years, decided by municipality, for dwellings completed before 1989 subject to energy saving works.
- Optional exemption of 50% or 100% for 5 years, decided by municipality, for new homes completed from 2009 meeting a level of overall energy performance higher than that imposed by the legislation in force.
- Certain social housing financed using regulated loans benefit from exemptions of 10, 15, 20 or 25 years.
- People over the age of 75 whose reference income for the previous year does not exceed certain limits are exempt from tax on their residence (primary and secondary).
- There is also an exemption for people with low incomes. We can provide you, at your request, with the amount of income thresholds.
- Anyone over 65 and up to 75 years of age can benefit from a €100 discount.
- Recipients of the solidarity allowance for the elderly (ASPA) or the supplementary disability allowance (ASI) regardless of their age.
- Recipients of the allowance for disabled adults whose income for the previous year does not exceed certain limits, regardless of their age.
Property tax on unbuilt estates (TFPNB):
- Permanent exemption of soils and land subject to property tax on built properties (soils of buildings and land forming an essential and immediate dependence on constructions).
- Optional exemptions (decided by municipalities and other local authorities) for 5 years for certain plots operated according to an organic production method.
- Exemption for a maximum of 8 years for orchards, fruit crops, trees and shrubs and vines.
- Agricultural operators are exempt from 20% of the TFPNB. This exemption does not apply to properties which benefit from total exemptions.
II – “Taxe d’habitation sur les résidences secondaires” (Housing tax on secondary residences) THRS
Since January 1st, 2023, the housing tax on the main residence has been abolished for all taxpayers. However, it is maintained on second homes. Similarly, a new reporting obligation must be completed each year in principle before June 30th.
1. Taxable persons
The tax is due by natural or legal persons (owner, tenant, free occupant) who have the disposal or enjoyment of the premises on January 1st of the tax year.
Companies allocating buildings for timeshare use are liable for the THRS relating to the premises allocated for use to their members.
Note: People who retain the exclusive use of the home which constituted their main residence before being permanently accommodated in an establishment or service welcoming the elderly or an establishment providing long-term care are exempt from THRS.
2. Taxable premises
Are subject to housing tax on second homes and other furnished premises not assigned to the main dwelling (THRS):
- All furnished premises assigned to the dwelling other than those assigned to the main dwelling
- Premises furnished in accordance with their purpose and occupied privately by entities (associations, in particular) which are not subject to the business property tax (CFE)
- Furnished premises without an industrial or commercial character occupied by state bodies, departments, and municipalities, as well as by public establishments, other than those referred to in article 1408, II.1° of the CGI.
3. Exempt premises
Are exempt from THRS:
- Premises liable to the CFE when they are not part of the taxpayers’ personal residence
- Buildings used for rural operations
- Premises intended for the accommodation of pupils in schools, boarding schools, and summer camps
- The premises allocated to student accommodation in university residences.
4. Tax calculation
The basis of calculation is, as for the “Taxe foncière”, the “Valeur Locative Cadastrale” housing.
This amount is then multiplied by the tax rates of the various local authorities (commune, inter-municipal, department, region) to calculate the tax due.
At the request of the taxpayer, the rental value of the premises assigned exclusively to the accommodation of seasonal agricultural workers and apprentices may be reduced in proportion to the number of days of occupation of the accommodation the year preceding that of taxation.
Statement: We remind you that, under penalty of a fine, owners of premises used for housing must declare to the tax authorities, before July 1st of each year, the nature of the occupation of the premises for which they reserve the use, or, for premises occupied by third parties, the identity of the occupant(s). However, owners of premises for whom no change in the information transmitted has occurred since the last declaration are exempt from this declaration.
5. Payment date
The tax notice is usually sent by the administration between late September and early October, it is payable on November 15th.
This tax may be paid by monthly levies upon request of the taxpayer.
In municipalities in geographical areas where the annual tax on vacant housing is established (see below), the municipal council may, by deliberation, increase by a percentage between 5% and 60% the municipal share of the housing contribution. THRS due for furnished accommodation.
III – Taxes concerning vacant housing
There are two different taxes depending on the geographical location of the accommodation.
1. Vacant housing tax (TLV)
Vacant housing located in municipalities belonging to an urban area of more than 50,000 continuous inhabitants where there is a marked imbalance between supply and demand for housing is subject to an annual tax.
The tax is due for each accommodation, habitable and unfurnished, vacant at the same time:
- On January 1st of the year preceding that for which the tax is established
- On January 1st of the tax year
- Who has not been employed for more than 90 consecutive days during the year preceding that of taxation
It is not due in the event of a vacancy beyond the control of the taxpayer. Housing belonging to HLM organizations and semi-public companies, intended to be allocated subject to means testing, does not apply.
Annual tax calculation:
The tax rate is 17% of the rental value of the housing (determined as for housing tax) the first tax year (and each time the premises re-enters the scope of the tax), and 34% from the second year.
2. Housing tax on vacant housing (THLV)
Municipalities and other local authorities (other than those referred to above) may decide to establish, for their share, the housing tax on premises for residential use, habitable and unfurnished, vacant for more than 2 years on January 1st of the tax year. These local authorities may subject these premises to housing tax on second homes from the 2023 taxation.
The rate applicable for the housing tax on vacant housing (THLV) corresponds to the rate of the council’s housing tax, increased, where applicable, by the rate of the EPCIs without their own taxation of which it is a member.
As for the TLV, housing inhabited for more than 90 consecutive days in the year or undergoing an involuntary vacancy (the owner is looking for a tenant or a buyer), requiring significant work to be habitable (more than 25% of the value of the housing) and furnished second homes subject to housing tax are exempt.
Housing owned by HLM organizations and semi-public companies, intended to be allocated subject to means testing, are exempt.
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