Airbnb users in France to pay extra tax

Holiday rental websites in France, such as the popular Airbnb, will soon have to collect a visitors tax – taxe de séjour – from users under new rules set to be passed this week.

Airbnb users in France to pay extra tax
Airbnb users will have to pay the taxe de sejour in future. Photo: Screengrab Airbnb

Holiday rental websites in France, such as the popular Airbnb, will soon have to collect a lodgings tax – taxe de séjour – from users under new rules set to be passed this week.

Lawmakers will vote in new maximum levels for the taxe de sejour this week and the French government also plans to implement a new set of rules that would require websites to collect the tax from users.

Current rules state that anyone renting out accommodation for short-term stays should impose the taxe de sejour on their guests but the government, as well as the country's leading hotel chains, complain that newer and more informal sites like Airbnb, on which members of the public rent out their own bedrooms or apartments on a short-term basis – are not doing this.

At present the tax varies from 20 centimes to €1.50 per day, depending on the level of luxury. But it will rise to up to €4 for the most prestigious hotels, while Airbnb will come under “unclassified accommodation,” which will have its ceiling raised from 40 centimes to 75.

The move comes after the government had been expected to scrap the planned hike in the taxe de sejour, which had provoked the wrath of the tourism industry and hotels.

Even Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that the proposed tax increase was "much too high".

Tourism chiefs claimed the increase would amount to a blow to the tourist industry in France – the most visited country in the world, with 83 million tourists a year. The tourism sector accounts for seven percent of the country’s GDP, with annual spending by foreign tourists amounting to €36 billion.

It may not be the last time that authorities in France target Airbnb in a bid to bring it into line with more regulated traditional tourist lodgings.

A July report into tourist accommodation in France raised doubts about the legality of Airbnb, after one Frenchman was fined €2,000 for illegally subletting his apartment on the site.

French MPs raised concerns about the popular site in a new report that suggests lawmakers will soon take the US-based company to task.

“It remains difficult to precisely estimate the activity (of websites such as Airbnb) because they are not domiciled in France and not listed on the Paris stock exchange,” the report by MPs Eric Woerth and Monique Rabin said.

“They are also not subject to the annual requirement to disclose their accounts. It seems that their figures remain secret,” said Woerth.

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Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

Installing a swimming pool, building a garden shed, or adding a conservatory to your French home has become more expensive in 2023.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you are planning a renovation project in 2023 you’re likely looking at rising cost for materials and labour due to inflation – but there is one other cost to consider; taxes. 

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has raised the rate for this.

The taxe d’aménagement, sometimes referred to as the garden shed tax, applies to all property development – construction, reconstruction and extension – of buildings that require planning permission or a building permit.

Garden sheds, swimming pools or extensions with a surface area of more than 5 square metres are subject to the development tax – although a 50 percent reduction is applied to the flat-rate values of certain buildings, particularly the first 100 square metres of main residences.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about installing a swimming pool at your French property

The tax is collected by local councils, who set their own percentage rates for the tax, working off the base rate set by the government.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel set the base figures for 2023 at the following rates: 

  • €1,004 per square metre in Île-de-France (up from €929 per square metre in 2022);
  • €886 per square metre outside Île-de-France (€820 per square metre in 2022).

The flat-rate values per square metre of building space, which constitute the basis for the development tax, are revised on January 1st of each year according to the latest construction cost index published by national statistics body Insee. 

Additionally, specific rates are set for:

  • €250 per square metre  for a swimming pool (up from €200 in 2022);
  • €12 per square metre of ground-fixed solar panels (up from €10 in 2022);
  • €3,000 per wind turbine more than 12 metres high;
  • €3,000 per pitch for tents, caravans and mobile leisure homes;
  • €10,000 per pitch for a holiday chalet or bungalow.

The amount of the tax is calculated according to the following formula: 

(Taxable area multiplied by the government-set base figure) multiplied by the percentage tax rate set by the local authorities. This gives the total to be paid in cents. Bills are rounded down.

So, the tax for a 30 square metre extension in an area where the combined local and departmental tax rates total 6.25 percent would be calculated like this:

30 (the size of the development) x 886 (the base tax rate outside Ile-de-France) = 26,580

6.25 (local and departmental tax) x 26,580 = 166,125 cents, more usually expressed as €1,661. 

If the total payable is less than €1,500, you will receive a bill in the six months after planning permission was granted, with details of how to pay.

Otherwise, it is paid in two instalments, 12 months and 24 months after authorisation, with a 10 percent surcharge applied in cases of late payments.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France