New declaration requirement for French property owners
French property owners beware; the French tax office has introduced a new declaration requirement, which concerns all property owners and consists of reporting the occupancy status of their French properties by no later than 30 June 2023.
As of this year, 2023, the taxe d’habitation (occupiers’ tax) is abolished – but only in relation to properties that are used as main residences; second homeowners and owners of vacant properties continue to be liable to the payment of the taxe d’habitation. This new declaration requirement was therefore introduced as a means of distinguishing which properties will be exempt from paying the taxe d’habitation from now on, and which will not.
This new declaration requirement is far-reaching and concerns all French property owners, regardless of their nationality or domicile. It includes French properties owned through a company structure, such as a SCI (Société Civile Immobilière) or a UK company.
Owners who completed the sale of their French property after 1st January 2023 and owners who are in the process of selling their French properties must declare the occupancy status nonetheless, as they are still potentially liable to pay the taxe d’habitation for the ongoing year.
Owners who fail to declare their properties’ occupancy status by 30 June 2023 at the latest, or make an incomplete or incorrect declaration face a fine of 150 Euros per property.
The declaration needs to be made online via the impots.gouv.fr portal, where the property owner will be asked to choose one of the five following occupancy statuses:
- the owner occupies the property as a main residence,
- the owner occupies the property as a second home,
- the property is vacant (unfurnished and unoccupied),
- the property is occupied by a third party free of charge,the property is rented, in which case the owner must also confirm the type of location (long-let / seasonal lettings etc.) and provide the occupant’s details.
To log into the portal, property owners will need their fiscal reference (numéro fiscal), which can for instance be found on their local tax demands (Avis d’impôt – taxes foncières or taxes d’habitation).
Property owners who have not yet received their fiscal reference, or who cannot find it, need to request it from their local tax office; in which case, it is suggested that they do so as soon as possible as it is unclear how long the tax office will take to respond.
No alternative reporting procedure was provided, so unless new guidance is introduced, all owners are expected to make the declaration online via the portal.
It is thankfully a one-off declaration; but if there is a change of circumstances, the owner will be required to update the property’s occupancy status again, using the same process.
As a final comment, the new system does not concern the taxes foncières (local land taxes), which remain due even if the French property is a main residence.
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