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How much property tax can you expect to pay in France in 2023?

The Local France
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How much property tax can you expect to pay in France in 2023?
For a significant number of people in France, property taxes are now a thing of the past. Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

French property tax has recently undergone some big changes and now much much you pay (and whether you pay at all) depends on your personal circumstances and where in France you live. Here's how to calculate it.

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Property taxes in France have been undergoing a shakeup since 2019, so here's what to expect under the new system.

Do you own property?

No - if you don't own property and are renting your home, then you will not have to pay property tax. The taxe d'habitation - the householders' tax that is similar to council tax in the UK - used to be paid by all occupiers, including tenants.

However since 2019 that has gradually been phased out and now applies only to second-home owners. The annual TV licence - which used to arrive at the same time as property tax bills in the autumn - has also been scrapped. So if you don't own property then your property tax bill will be a nice round €0. 

Yes - if you own property in France you will pay the property owners' tax, known as taxe foncière. This is payable on all properties you own - regardless of whether you live in them, rent them out or keep them as a second home.

How much will it be? Taxe foncière is calculated according to a complex formula that takes into account the rentable value of your home and multiples it by the rate set by your local authority. So it's very possible that everyone in a small village will be paying a different amount of tax.

This tax will rise if you have had major works done to your home - such as an extension or adding a pool - as that increases the value. It can also rise if your local authority decides to increase their rate.

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In 2022, according to the finance specialists Moneyvox, the average annual taxe foncière bill was €895 (or €74 a month if you opt to pay monthly). The département with the highest average annual property tax bill was Essonne at €1,351 and the lowest average bills were found in Indre at €565.

If you own property, is it a second home?

No - if you are an owner-occupier then you will only pay taxe foncière, there are no extra taxes to pay (although some communes impose a small annual charge for waste collection services). As noted above, the annual TV licence has been scrapped. 

Yes - second-home owners are now the only group to pay taxe d'habitation - the householder's tax that has been scrapped for every other group. You pay this in addition to taxe foncière.

How much? Like taxe foncière, the bill is calculated based on both the value of your home and your local authority rate, so costs do vary quite widely. 

In 2022, the average bill was €772 per year. 

Local authorities in areas that have a housing shortage (known as a zone tendue) also have the power to impose a surcharge on taxe d'habitation for second-homes of up to 60 percent. You can find a list a those zones here.

If you own property, is it rented out or used as a holiday rental? 

No - there are no extra taxes to pay.

Yes - if your property is rented out on a long-term lease, you will pay only taxe foncière, not taxe d'habitation. However, the income you make from renting your property out will be taxed - even if you don't live in France. Income in France is (in most cases) taxed in France, so you will need to ensure that you are correctly declaring all income to the tax man.

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If you are renting your property out as a holiday home, you will also need to declare all income from rentals to the tax man, even if you don't live in France. This includes people who simply rent out their home on Airbnb for a few weeks per year - be aware that plenty of local authorities have imposed limits on how long you can rent out your property per year while the city of Paris has a complete ban on second-homes being let on Airbnb.

Find full details of the rules on Airbnb rentals here.  

If you own property, is it empty? 

No - if it's occupied, you pay taxes as above based on whether it is your main home, a second home or a rental property. 

Yes - if your property is both unoccupied and unfurnished, you could be liable for the 'vacant homes tax' (taxe sur les logements vacants) - if you live in an area with a housing shortage.

This tax is paid instead of taxe d'habitation - not as well as - and doesn't apply to second homes. Even if you have not been able to visit your second home for a long time, it remains classed as a second home for property tax purposes, not a vacant or empty home.

Full details on the taxe sur les logements vacants here

Is your property uninhabitable? 

If you have bought a property as a renovation project (or perhaps inherited one) then you have the option of declaring it 'inhabitable' (uninhabitable) which will reduce or even stop your property tax bills.

This isn't just for places that are a bit scruffy and have dodgy 1970s wallpaper - in order to be declared uninhabitable it would usually need to have major structural issues that makes it unsafe to stay there, or be unconnected to utilities such as water and electricity.

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You can usually only declare it uninhabitable for a maximum of two years, but this can be a helpful saving if you have bought a property as a renovation project.

The tax breaks vary slightly by area, so the best thing to do is visit your local tax office and ask if you can make this declaration. 

READ ALSO How to challenge your property tax bill

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