France mulls new tax on home internet boxes

With more and more people watching television online the French government believes a tax on household’s internet boxes may be the only option to raise funds for the audio-visual sector.

France mulls new tax on home internet boxes
French culture minister Fleur Pellerin has revealed the TV tax could be extended to internet boxes. Photo: AFP

French Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin will declare “in the coming days” whether France will extend its tax on TVs to internet boxes.

The minister has been tasked with modernising the one-off TV tax known as “redevance telé”, which is paid each year by most households with a TV.

The government have cottoned to the fact that TVs are going out of fashion as more and more people turn watch the box through the internet on a computer.

While Pellerin has ruled out taxing smartphones and tablets she revealed the government is seriously considering levying a charge on those with internet boxes as the fairest way to raise funds.

“It’s an option that’s on the table, the Prime Minister and the President will take a decision in the coming days,” the minister told France Info.

“At the demand of the president I have studied ways to modernise the “redevance”, without extending it to smartphones and tablets, by looking at the new ways watching TV and acknowledging that much of this consumption now goes through the internet box,” said Pellerin.

The culture minister said that Hollande wants the financing of the public audio-visual sector to be independent, meaning funds must come from the TV tax rather than through separate grants.

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Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

Towns and villages through France are raising property tax rates for second-home owners, with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

Even though France’s taxe d’habitation (householders’ tax) is in the process of being phased out for most French residents, second-home owners are still required to pay it.

This year more towns have voted to increase it, and others have recently gained the ability to add a surcharge for second-home owners, with French daily Le Parisien reporting that the residence tax “continues to soar.” 

Municipalities in zones tendues (areas with a housing shortage) have the ability to choose to increase taxe d’habitation by up to 60 percent for second home owners.

From 2023, several new areas – including Nantes – will join the list of zones tendues, meaning they will be able to vote to increase taxes for second-home owners.

This year, large cities such as Bordeaux, Lyon, Biarritz, Arles and Saint-Jean-de-Luz saw their city councils vote to increase the tax at the maximum 60 percent.

READ MORE: Why some French cities are increasing taxes for second-home owners

Some areas have still not chosen to apply the increase, but those looking to buy a second home in France should beware that these municipalities could vote to increase the taxe d’habitation in the future.

In 2020, cities on average voted to increase the residence tax on second homes by 248.50, in comparison to €217 in 2017. This year, that amount is expected to be even higher.

On top of the taxe d’habitation, second-home owners also have to pay the separate taxe foncière property tax, which is itself rising sharply in many areas.