Why French property taxes are skyrocketing

Taxes for property owners in France are increasing
Taxes for property owners in France are increasing. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP
If you own property in France you are likely to be facing a big increase in costs, due to a sharp rise in property taxes.

Property owners in France have been receiving bills over the last few weeks for their taxe foncière and many have noticed a big increase in their bills.

According to the property owners’ group Union nationale des propriétaires immobiliers (UNPI), taxe foncière bills have increased by 27.9 percent on average over the last 10 years.

However since the tax is set at a local level, some areas have seen much bigger increases – in 2019 Auvergne and Isère saw year-on-year rises of 136 percent, while this year Angers saw a 56.42 percent rise, Amiens a 55.87 percent rise and Grenoble 54.72 percent.

Your taxe foncière bill is calculated to a complicated formula based partly on the value of your property – so expect an increase if you have made major changes such as an extension or adding a swimming pool – and also on the rates set by the local authority.

READ ALSO Taxe foncière: What is the French property tax and do I have to pay it?

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The reason behind the increase is the scrapping of another property tax, taxe d’habitation, leaving local authorities short of cash.

Taxe foncière is paid by the owner of the property and taxe d’habitation by the resident, so people who own their own homes pay both. However taxe d’habitation is in the process of being phased out and has already been scrapped for around 80 percent of the country.

This has left local authorities, which use property taxes, with a hole in their budget, and many have resorted to increasing the taxe foncière to plug the gap.

There are also two bits of bad news for second-home owners – firstly the scrapping of the taxe d’habitiation does not apply to second homes, so they will continue to pay both the taxe d’habitation and the taxe foncière.

Secondly, many local authorities have also taken advantage of a piece of legislation which allows authorities in areas where there is a housing shortage (known as zones tendues) to impose an extra surcharge on second homes – here is the list of areas where this is happening.

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