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Reader Question: Do I have to pay taxes on my French swimming pool?

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Reader Question: Do I have to pay taxes on my French swimming pool?
The Desjoyaux swimming pool factory site in La Fouillouse, central France (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)

If your French property has a pool - or you're thinking of adding one - then you may be liable for additional taxes.

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France is home to the highest number of private pools in Europe and it's common to find average-sized homes with a pool in the garden, especially in the south.

However, in most cases, those pools are subject to additional property taxes.

There are two ways that adding a pool can affect your annual tax bill - a one-off tax payment when it is installed and then an increase to your annual taxe foncière bill.

Taxe foncière - the tax paid by all property owners in France - is partly calculated according to the rentable value of your home, and it's a general rule that adding a pool increases the value.

Installation

The general rule is that property owners must declare the installation of a permanent in-ground swimming pool within 90 days of construction. You can do so in your personal space on the French tax website, or you can make an appointment to submit the "6704 IL" form to the tax office directly.

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Tax authorities refer to something as being permanent if it is fixed to the ground with “large screws or cement.” This basically means that if you cannot pack up the pool at the end of the season, then it's permanent.

Taxe d'aménagement

There are two taxes that come into play when installing a pool.

The first tax you should be aware of is a one-off payment in the form of the taxe d'aménagement. This applies to any newly constructed structure on your property requiring planning permission (autorisation préalable) or building permission (permis de construire).

You will be paying this if your pool is in-ground and/or exceeds the surface area of 10m2 (even if above-ground). If you have any doubt about whether you should pay the taxe d'aménagement, then you can try this French government simulator

The taxe d'aménagement, as of January 2023, amounts to a one-time charge based on the pool's size: €250 per metre squared. 

Taxe foncière

The second tax relates to the regular property tax, the taxe foncière. 

This is paid annually by all property owners, but you may find that your bill increases after the installation of the pool, because of the increase to the value of your property that the pool would bring.

According to the French General Tax code, any addition to your property can be calculated into your yearly taxes when the structure is permanently fixed to the ground and has the appearance of being a 'built structure' - so it would include extensions and extra outbuildings as well as pools.

In this case, there is no minimum size for the pool - the primary concern is that it is permanently there.

The French tax website says that "any in-ground or above-ground swimming pool, with a wooden or rigid structure, even if it required no brick or stonework at the time of installation, must be taken into account for the purposes of calculating property taxes if it cannot be moved or taken down without needing to be dismantled".

When it comes to property taxes, the increase to your annual bill will depend on the size of your pool, as larger pools are taxed more heavily than smaller ones.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about having a second home in France

Is there a type of pool I don't have to pay tax on?

For those who simply bought a small inflatable pool that can be deflated and put away at the end of the summer then you do not need to worry about paying either type of tax or declaring it.

However, if the swimming pool is an above-ground pool, but it is permanently attached to some structure (eg. built into a deck) then it is considered taxable - both for your yearly property taxes and for the taxe d'aménagement.

Should you find yourself confused, you can always make an appointment with your local tax office to receive professional advice.

READ MORE: 7 top tips for dealing with the French tax office

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What if I don't declare my pool?

French tax authorities take this issue very seriously. To crack down on property owners who fail to report their swimming pools, France's taxman has begun using a new mapping technology to scan areas and see whether there is something resembling an undeclared pool on their property. 

So far, they were able to find at least 120,000 undeclared pools. The owners received a letter or email informing them that the pool must be declared, and failure to do so within 30 days would lead to fines.

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