There are two local property taxes in the France – the taxe d'habitation and the taxe foncière.
The former is the residence tax which is payable by the tenant; the property ownership tax, the taxe foncière is paid by the landlord.
You are only liable to the residence tax if you occupied the property on 1st January of each year.
Liability to the tax has nothing to do with the amount of time you actually occupy the property.
Accordingly, although tenants of holiday lettings do not pay the tax, any tenant occuping the property on 1st Jan on a permanent, or even semi-permanent basis, is liable for the tax. The rule applies whether the property is furnished or unfurnished.
As might be expected the level of the tax is higher in towns than in the country. The amount payable each year varies so much between local tax authorities that it would be meaningless to state an average.
The tax demand is sent out towards the end of each year with a specified end date for payment, unless you elect to choose to pay on a monthly or annual basis by direct debit. You can also pay it via the internet, or by cheque.
If you move into the property mid-way through the year, then the former occupier is legally responsible for the tax for the whole of that year, subject to any private agreement that may be made.
A reduction in the amount of tax payable, or complete exoneration from the tax, is available to certain groups of persons, provided the property is their principal home.
If you also have a television then the TV licence, called the la redevance audiovisuelle, is also payable with the tax d’habitation.
The annual cost of the TV licence is €123 (2011), which is subject to an annual index linked increase.
You can read more about these taxes and exemptions available at Local Property Taxes in France.
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