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French tax authorities promise 'improvements' for 2024 property tax declaration

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected]
French tax authorities promise 'improvements' for 2024 property tax declaration
A French financial administration office (centre des finances publiques) near Toulouse, southern France. (Photo by ERIC CABANIS / AFP)

In 2023, France introduced a new one-off form - the property tax declaration - which many households struggled with submitting it correctly. French tax authorities on Wednesday admitted difficulties with the new system, and promised improvements for the 2024 declarations.

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On Tuesday, the head of France's tax administration, Amélie Verdier, acknowledged the "very significant difficulties" that people had to deal with when submitting the property tax declaration in 2023.

"We certainly have not communicated enough about the fact that there is now this new obligation", Verdier conceded, while presenting her annual report, as reported by Franceinfo.

While it is not an extra tax, the déclaration d'occupation is a one-off piece of paperwork that has to be filed by all people who own property in France.

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It informs the fiscal authorities whether your property is a main residence or a second home, which in turn allows them to correctly apply the taxe d'habitation, which is now only charged to second home owners.

READ MORE: What you need to know about France's 2024 property tax declaration

Challenges in 2023

On top of the fact that many people did not realise they needed to fill out the form, there were also technical challenges and glitches in 2023, which led to the deadline for the declaration being pushed back three times.

Tax authorities also did not offer a paper version last year and many people struggled with the tax website. For second home owners living outside of France, this often meant having to create an online account for the first time.

Verdier also noted that only 82 percent of non-professional property owners filled out the form, as many did not realise they needed to do so.

As a result tax authorities sent out notices based on estimations and incorrect information to the remaining 18 percent, which led to incorrect bills including for 16,500 children erroneously received tax bills.

French tax authorities also saw the number of appeals against the incorrect application of the taxe d'habitation increase from the annual average of 400,000 to 600,000 in 2023.

READ MORE: Your guide to French property taxes

Foreigners especially struggled with certain linguistic aspects of the form - from listing outbuildings to properties owned via SCI and understanding who is considered the 'occupier'. The Local created a guide to help answer these questions.

Any improvement for 2024?

Verdier said that "fairly substantial progress has been made" this year. Tax authorities inserted a reminder about the property tax declaration within the standard income tax declaration to help make more people aware of the requirement. 

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In response to issues with the tax website, fiscal authorities are also offering a paper version in 2024, intended for those with difficulty accessing the internet and for the "elderly who are less digitally literate".

At the time of writing, the deadline for June 30th remains in place. 

This year, the fine (€150) will be applied to those who fail to meet the deadline. It is also worth noting that failing to fill out the form can lead to tax authorities sending you an estimated bill, meaning the amount you are charged may be based on incorrect information.

Who has to do it this year?

The good news is that if you filled one out last year you do not need to do so again, unless your circumstances have changed - ie you have sold your property and/or you have bought a property.

But if you didn't fill one out last year for whatever reason, you will need to do so this year - you can use our helpful vocabulary guide when doing so.

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