French taxman sends thousands of children four-figure property tax bills in error

The Local France
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French taxman sends thousands of children four-figure property tax bills in error
Photo by Philippe HUGUEN / AFP

As France switches to a new tax regime for property taxes, around 16,500 children have mistakenly been sent tax bills for second homes.


Officials deal with up to 440,000 taxe d'habitation bill disputes every year – most of which concern taxpayers who have recently moved house without updating details on their tax declarations.

This year there is an added complicated as it is the first year of the new taxe d'habitation regime, under which only second-home owners pay the tax.

And it seems that there have been some errors, as French media reveal that French children have received unexpected tax demands - in fact 16,500 under 18s have received a property tax bill, according to Ouest France


Among the cases were that of an 11-year-old, from Le Havre, who was sent a taxe d’habitation bill for €1,197 on a second home, according to Paris-Normandie, while a 13-year-old in the Lyon region was sent a bill for €2,467,  Le Progrès reports.

An official for the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques said that the children’s names had been picked up by the tax authorities’ IT systems by mistake, after being declared on the occupants’ declaration.

READ ALSO Property tax surcharge: Where in France second-home owners are liable for extra taxes

“We deal with … 39 million tax households, 24 million property owners, [four] four million taxe d’habition notices for second homes each year, and this type of error can occur,” the spokesperson told BFM Immo.

“Every year, we have between 250,000 and 440,000 disputes concerning taxe d’habition on second homes, the vast majority of which are linked to changes of address that have not been reported to us." 

READ ALSO Explained: Is your French property a main residence or a second home (and why it matters)?

The 16,500 figure comes from an internal document seen by regional newspaper Ouest France. 

In November, however, there was an uptick in the number of taxe d’habitation bills being sent in error to primary residences, prompting authorities to post a message on social networks, including X (aka ‘formerly Twitter’).


There are two types of property tax in France - taxe foncière which is paid by the property owner and taxe d'habitation which used to be paid by the householder. Taxe d'habitation has gradually been phased out for everyone apart from second-home owners.


So this year second-home owners should pay both taxe foncière and taxe d'habitation, people who own the home they live in should pay only taxe foncière and people who are tenants and don't own any property should pay neither.

If you have received a tax demand that you believe is in error, you can challenge it. The first thing to do is head to your online tax account and check the details in your property tax declaration, if those details are incorrect, you can contact your local tax office and ask for a recalculation. 

READ MORE How to challenge your French property tax bill


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Debbie G 2023/11/22 20:45
Lolz, our modest property in the USA has 5 figure property tax bill...

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