Anyone who owns a home in France will be receiving a letter or email from the tax authorities concerning their taxe foncière – the tax that building owners must pay in France.
And the bad news is that in many areas the bill is likely to be significantly higher than last year.
The tax is set by local authorities, so varies from region to region and département to département, but French newspaper Le Parisien reported that in some areas of France, including the Auvergne and Isère, the increases were up to 136 percent.
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Significant repairs or renovations could affect the tax value. Photo londondeposit/Depositphotos
Why the increase?
Well it could be to do with the abolition of the taxe d'habitation (household or council tax). The taxe d'habitation is paid by the person who lives in the property, rather than the person who owns it, and had been widely criticised for being unfair and outdated.
The French government has been slowly abolishing the taxe d'habitation for most residents as promised by Emmanuel Macron as part of his 2017 election manifesto.
While most people were delighted at the thought of paying less tax, it created rather a headache for local authorities, who collect the tax and is a key part of their budget.
There has therefore been speculation that the increase in the taxe foncière is a way for local authorities to fill the hole in their coffers.
Pierre Hautus of the Union nationale des propriétaires immobiliers (national union of real estate owners) told Le Parisien: “It is a way to increase the tax yield for local elected officials while the abolition of the housing tax continues”.
Is that true?
Well the government denies that and says there is “nothing extraordinary this year” and the increases are simply due to reevaluations of the rental value of properties – which is what the tax rate is based on.
A total of 134,000 properties in France have been reevaluated over the course of 2017/2018, since many of the previous valuations were done in the 1970s.