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Property tax: amounts to be paid and possible exemptions

Unlike housing tax, property tax has the merit of saving many taxpayers (tenants). But, like her, her calculation lacks rigor and, above all, its amount is constantly climbing: in 10 years, the bill has jumped by 28%, on average, in the 50 largest cities in France, a rate three times higher than inflation. Some cities had a particularly heavy hand, such as Nantes (+ 37.5%), Villeurbanne (+ 36.8%), Clermont-Ferrand or Lille (+ 36%), Saint-Denis (+ 33.6%) or Angers (+ 33.3%). And with the reform of rental values, scheduled for 2026, we can expect even wilder surges. So many reasons to make sure that you have not been cheated by the administration.

Persons concerned

In the event of dismemberment, it is the usufructuary of the accommodation who must pay the bill. The property tax, payable on October 15 if you are not paid monthly, is due by anyone who owns built or unbuilt property (land) on January 1. So much for the general case. There are also special situations that sometimes escape the tax authorities. Thus, in the event of the dismemberment of property, it is the usufructuary who must pay the tax. In the event of a life annuity sale, it is the buyer.

If you sell your property during the year, it is up to you to pay the tax. However, you can provide in the deed that the buyer will bear the tax during the period between the signing and the end of the year. Small concern that sometimes arises: you have sold your property, but still receive the tax notice. It is then necessary to address to the center of the property taxes a request for “cadastral transfer”.

2021 ranking of the 10 most taxed cities and the 10 least taxed cities (1)


(1) Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. (2) The tax rate, which includes the rate for the municipality, that of the intermunicipality (grouping of municipalities) and that of the department, applies to half of the theoretical annual rent of the accommodation, which is calculated by the services of State. Source: DGFIP, UNPI, Cabinet FSL.

Amount to be paid

The 40-year-old tax calculation criteria are questionable. Like the residence tax, the property tax is calculated according to the theoretical annual rental value of the property (reduced by a reduction of 50% for built properties and 20% for land). This tax is all the more open to criticism, and therefore questionable, in that it is based on 40-year-old criteria and that, from one city to another, the differences in rates are dizzying: the table above, which uses the data for 2021, shows that they commonly vary from simple to double, the record being held by Angers (56.4%), whose tax rate is four times higher than that of Paris (13.5%) .

And the worst is yet to come, since the rental values ​​used as the basis for calculating the tax are being revised by the land registry services. They have already been raised by 3.4% at the start of 2022 and should rise further, from 2026, by 2 to 3% per year for 10 years, with peaks of almost 10% for the most beautiful homes!

To reduce the note, one may be tempted, for example, not to declare his swimming pool or his newly built veranda, equipment which increases the rental value of his property. Bad idea, because to flush out fraudsters (and impose a fine of up to 6,000 euros per illegal square meter), the tax authorities now use satellite photos. And the system is proving to be extremely effective: in 2019, during a short experiment launched in the Alpes-Maritimes, nearly 3,000 undeclared swimming pools were identified…

Fragile or elderly taxpayers

Subject to income conditions, they are exempt from any payment. The law has provided for cases of exemption linked to the situation of taxpayers. Thus persons holding Aspa (solidarity allowance for the elderly), Asi (supplementary disability allowance) or AAH (allowance for disabled adults) and elderly people over 75 do not do not have to pay property tax when their income is below certain ceilings (11,276 euros per year for a single person, 17,298 euros for a couple).

They must also fulfill certain cohabitation conditions (living alone or with their spouse, or with dependents). If necessary, the tax notice received by these taxpayers must therefore be contested. Note: if they are not exempt, those over 65 who meet the fixed income ceilings can benefit from a tax reduction of 100 euros.

New properties

Nothing to pay for 2 years on the condition of declaring the construction without too much delay. Whether it is a main or secondary residence, new constructions benefit, in principle, from an exemption from property tax for 2 years. To claim it, you just have to remember to make a specific declaration to the property tax center within 90 days of the completion of the project.

Be careful though: the town hall can decide to abolish this advantage or to maintain it only for properties financed with a loan subsidized by the State (loan under agreement, loan at zero rate, etc.).

Vacant dwellings

You will avoid the tax by proving that the vacancy is involuntary. Empty dwellings normally intended for rental can benefit from an exemption from property tax, on the double condition that their vacancy is involuntary (the rent is offered at the market price) and that it lasts at least three months. The relief applied is calculated from month to month: it takes into account the period from the first day of the month following the vacancy until the last day of the month during which the vacancy ended.

In some cases, however, owners will have to pay a specific property tax if their property has been empty and unfurnished for at least a year, and if it is located in a “tense” area, where there are access difficulties. housing (the 28 largest cities in the country are concerned, such as those of Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, Lille, Strasbourg, etc.).

The amount of this tax on vacant accommodation (TLV), payable in mid-December, is progressive: 12.5% ​​of the annual rental value the first year, 25% from the second year (plus management fees 9% of the tax amount). On complaint, one can however be exempted from TLV, on condition of providing proof that the property has been occupied for at least 90 consecutive days, or that it requires major work to become habitable, or that it is offered for rental or for sale but fails to find a buyer.

Household waste

If the accommodation is rented, the Tax can be recovered from the tenant. All built properties subject to property tax or which are exempt from it (new properties, elderly or disabled people) are also subject either to a fee, calculated according to the quantity of waste produced, or, in the most frequent case, to the TEOM ( household waste collection tax). The latter appears on the notice of property tax that owners receive each year in September.

It is calculated on the same basis, that is to say on half of the estimated annual rental value. Its amount, voted by the communities, can vary from simple to triple from one municipality to another (the average tax rate is 8%). It ranges from 40 to 300 euros per year, the top of the range being reached in cities such as Marseille, Lille or Mulhouse (read the table below).

Good to know : it is the owner on January 1st of the year who must pay the tax, but if his accommodation is rented, he can recover it each month from his tenant, with all the recoverable rental charges (water, heating, etc.).

The 10 cities with the highest garbage tax (1)


(1) Cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. (2) For the year 2021. (3) Between 2020 and 2021. Source: Cabinet FSL.


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