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PROPERTY

French property taxes set to reach record levels in 2022

For many people in France the tax burden is being reduced, but this is not the case for property owners, who face record bills in 2022 due to changes in the calculation formula.

French property taxes set to reach record levels in 2022
Property taxes are increasing. Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP

Property taxes in France come in two forms – the taxe d’habitation which is paid by the householder and taxe foncière which is paid by the property owner. If you own your own home then you pay both.

Taxe d’habitation is gradually being phased out, fewer than 20 percent of the population will pay it in 2022 and it will gradually be scrapped for everyone, with the exception of second-home owners.

However taxe foncière is not only here to stay, it’s also been increasing and 2022 will see another hike to a new record thanks to a revaluation of the formula used the calculate tax bills.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France

The formula used to calculate the annual taxe foncière bills – which come out in the autumn – is complicated, but it’s based in part on the rentable value of the property – so if you build a large extension or add a swimming pool you can expect your bills to go up.

For the 2022 bills, the taxes on the rentable value of a property will be increased by 3.4 percent, the largest hike since 1989. 

READ ALSO The French tax calendar for 2022

In addition to the rentable value, the other factor that determines the bills is where you live, since local authorities are allowed to set their own rates. Since the phasing out of the taxe d’habitation, a number of local authorities have sharply increased taxe foncière rates in order to make up for their lost income.

In total, bills in some areas are set to rise by up to 15 percent compared to the previous year. 

If you’re a second-home owner, local authorities are also permitted to add an extra charge for second homes in areas where there is a housing shortage.

However, the TV licence – which usually arrives in the same post as the property taxes bill – is set to be phased out by Emmanuel Macron, if he wins the election. 

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CRIME

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

Leaving your property empty puts it at risk of burglars or squatters and this is a particular worry for second-home owners, whose homes are often vacant for prolonged periods.

French police launch new service to keep empty homes secure

French police run a scheme called Opération Tranquillité Vacances which involves householders telling their local police that they will be away, so they can keep an eye on the property.

The scheme has run in various forms since 1974, but now an online platform has been set up allowing property owners to make their declaration in just a few clicks.

It’s largely targeted at French people who are going away over the summer and leaving their homes empty, but it’s not limited to French nationals and can be used all year around.

Under the scheme, householders and businesses can ask their local gendarmes to keep a watch over their properties while they are away for a period of up to three months.

READ ALSO How to get rid of squatters from your French property

Police and gendarmes patrols visit houses on their list at various times during the day or night, checking shutters, gates, and back gardens to make sure all is as it should be – and to act as a deterrent to any criminal groups checking the area.

The new online service is not limited to French nationals or French residents, but it does require a FranceConnect account to operate, meaning that you need to be registered in at least one French database (eg the tax office, benefits office or in the health system).

The form can be used to cover both main residences and second homes (résidence secondaire) but there is a limit of three months at a time for the property to be vacant.

You can find the form HERE and it can be completed between three and 45 days before your departure.

You can also register in person at your nearest police station or gendarmerie unit. Take ID and proof of address, such as a recent utility bill, if you do it this way.

Summertime is high-season for criminals in France, who target homes that have been left vacant while their owners are away on holiday.

Opération Tranquillité Vacances was introduced in 1974 as a means to keep crime rates down during the summer holiday period. It was extended to include other school holidays in 2009, and is now available all year round.

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