With the arrival of autumn local rates bills have started to drop through letterboxes, and there are substantial differences across the country.
There are two local taxes for which all home owners in France are responsible:
- Taxe foncière
- Taxe d’habitation
These annual taxes are applied to all properties and land (with few exceptions).
Although the taxe foncière is always payable by the owner of the property, if the property is rented then the taxe d’habitation is paid by the tenant. Otherwise the owner pays both taxes, even though the property may not be their principal home.
The latest date this year for paying the taxe foncière is 17th Oct, a date which is extended to 22nd Oct if you pay over the internet. For the taxe d’habitation the relevant dates are 15th November and 20th November.
It is possible to pay the taxes on a monthly basis, although the dates for doing so this year have passed.
The calculation of the taxes is derived from the local rateable value of the property - the valeur cadastale.
To this value is applied a local percentage rate – the taux d’imposition. In fact, for the taxe foncière two percentages rates are applied – one for the commune and department - who are both beneficiaries of the tax.
The level of the taxes varies enormously from one local locality (and property) to the other, so little would be served by giving average figures.
With the abolition of the former business rates, the taxe professionelle, and its replacement in 2010 by the Contribution Economique Territoriale (CET), the revenues of a number of local authorities was reduced, so in some areas there has been a big increase in the rates this year.
The Forum pour la Gestion des Villes et des Collectivities Territoriales each year publishes a list of the taxes payable for each of the main cities and towns in France, together with the percentage change over the previous year.
The following table shows the rates payable for an ‘average’ household, ie in this case a couple with two children living in a property with a local rateable value equivalent to 1.5 times the average for the commune. The table also shows the percentage increase in the taxes for each town this year.
The level of the disparity is clear to see. Nîmes take top spot for the highest taxe d'habitation with an average of €1205 per household. Contrast this with Paris, with an average of only €444 per household. Similar differences occur with the taxe foncière.
|Tax d'habitation||Taxe Fonciere|
|Average 2011||Change 2010/2011||Average 2011||Change 2010/2011|
|Aix-en-Provence ||1012€ ||+1.4% ||835€ ||+3.1% |
|Amiens ||1121€ ||+7% ||1239€ ||+6.7% |
|Angers ||854€ ||10+% ||1170€ ||11.7+% |
|Argenteuil ||1131€ ||+2.8% ||1064€ ||+7.5% |
|Besançon ||1135€ ||+1.3% ||997€ ||+3.0% |
|Bordeaux ||1151€ ||+5.8% ||1107€ ||+2.3% |
|Boulogne-Billancourt ||825€ ||+1.9% ||563€ ||+3.6% |
|Brest ||1072€ ||+5.7% ||887€ ||+1.7% |
|Caen ||951€ ||+1.9% ||563€ ||+3.6% |
|Clermont-Ferrand ||895€ ||+8.8% ||969€ ||+7.1% |
|Dijon ||763€ ||+3.7% ||1048€ ||+4.8% |
|Grenoble ||751€ ||+1.4% ||1121€ ||+1% |
|Le Havre ||766€ ||+1.6% ||1113€ ||+2% |
|Le Mans ||982€ ||+3.5% ||901€ ||+2.6% |
|Lille ||920€ ||+1.4% ||562€ ||+2.1% |
|Limoges ||1087€ ||+2.1% ||857€ ||+2.9% |
|Lyon ||870€ ||+1.5% ||662€ ||+2.1% |
|Marseille ||1162€ ||+13.4% ||852€ ||+2.9% |
|Metz ||937€ ||+6.5% ||702€ ||+1.8% |
|Montpellier ||1178€ ||+1.9% ||1270€ ||+1.9% |
|Montreuil ||1144€ ||+1.5% ||1104€ ||+4.6% |
|Mulhouse ||773€ ||+5.1% ||656€ ||+3.2% |
|Nancy ||1168€ ||+3.7% ||890€ ||+6% |
|Nantes ||1021€ ||+4.7% ||960€ ||+8.5% |
|Nice ||990€ ||+1.7% ||961€ ||+1.2% |
|Nîmes ||1205€ ||+1.2% ||1215€ ||+2.4% |
|Orléans ||976€ ||+1.6% ||1137€ ||+1.5% |
|Paris ||444€ ||+2% ||612€ ||+2% |
|Perpignan ||1127€ ||+4.2% ||1163€ ||+3.8% |
|Reims ||917€ ||+2.3% ||917€ ||+1.5% |
|Rennes ||1144€ ||+1.7% ||853€ ||+1.3% |
|Rouen ||849€ ||+1.4% ||1018€ ||+2.7% |
|Saint-Denis ||751€ ||+1.9% ||957€ ||+5.0% |
|Saint-Etienne ||1063€ ||+4.8% ||854€ ||+5.8% |
|Strasbourg ||953€ ||+3.8% ||651€ ||+2.5% |
|Toulon ||947€ ||+5.3% ||975€ ||+5.7% |
|Toulouse ||869€ ||+0.1% ||989€ ||+3.2% |
|Tours ||856€ ||+1.9% ||760€ ||+2.9% |
|Villeurbanne ||660€ ||+1.5% ||548€ ||+2.3% |
Exemptions and Reductions
There are a number of reductions and exemptions available, although these are not generous.
In the case of the taxe foncière the main exemptions and reductions are:
- A new property (or major reconstruction of existing property) is entitled to two years exemption from the tax, provided the correct procedure is followed in the notification of completion of the works, and subject to no contrary decision of the commune not to grant exemption.
- Persons over 75 years of age on 1st January, provided they meet the income criteria;
- Registered disabled persons irrespective of age in receipt of l'allocation aux adultes handicapés (AAH);
- Persons in receipt of l'allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées (ASPA), or the l'allocation supplémentaire d'invalidité (ASI);
- Persons over 65 years of age on 1st January, and less than 75 years, are entitled to a reduction of (at least) €100 in the amount payable, provided they meet a test of resources.
In the case of taxe d’habitation, complete exemption from the tax is granted to:
- Persons over 60 years of age;
- Widowed persons irrespective of age;
- Disabled or infirm persons in receipt of l'allocation de solidarité aux personnes âgées (ASPA), l'allocation aux adultes handicapés (AHH), or l'allocation supplémentaire d'invalidité (ASI);
- Those in receipt of the Revenu de solidarité active de base (RSA).
PROVIDED in each case that the property is your principal residence, your annual income is below the eligible threshold, and you are not liable for French wealth tax.
There is also an automatic reduction in the tax d'habitation for those households on a modest income above the minimum threshold, and for owners of gîtes ruraux, meublés de tourisme classés, and chambres d'hôtes in rural development areas.
You can read more in our Guide to Local Property Taxes in France.