Tuesday 09 March 2021
The government have signalled that no exemption from the taxe d'habitation is to be granted to second-home owners unable to use their property as a result of Covid.
Over the past year, France has had two national Covid lockdown periods; one that occurred during March to May 2020 and another for a month in November. There is also a partial local lockdown currently in place on the Côte d'Azur, in Dunkirk and the Pas de Calais.
As result, second-home owners, both residents and non-residents, were ostensibly unable to use their property.
There has been since been pressure on the government to grant relief on payment of the local property rates, the taxe d’habitation, to holiday-home owners.
Although this tax is progressively being abolished on the principal residence, it will remain in place on second-homes. You can read more about the changes in our article Taxe d'Habitation 2020.
In a reply to a parliamentary question on the issue, the government have rejected that relief should be given, arguing that mere inoccupation of a property does not exempt an owner from payment of the tax, stating:
‘l'inoccupation, même prolongée, d'un local imposable ne fait pas obstacle à l'établissement de la taxe au nom de la personne qui en a la disposition au 1er janvier de l'année d'imposition.’
That decision is in line with a great deal of case law that has occurred on the issue in the past, which has confirmed that, provided the property was capable of occupation, inoccupation of the property granted no exemption from the tax.
The government has justified its unyielding approach due to the progressive abolition of the tax on the principal residence. Last year around 80% of households were no longer liable for the tax. By 2023 the tax will be abolished for all principal residences.
In considering its response, the government was also probably mindful of the fact that when they announced forthcoming lockdowns, there was a mass exodus of thousands of French nationals out of the major cities to their holiday homes around the country.