On 18 March 2015, the French tax administration published guidelines on the " taxe habitation" (council tax) surcharge on second homes.
Following Article 31 of the Second Amending Finance Law for 2014 (" loi de finances rectificative", Law No. 2014-1655 of 29 December 2014), communes located in areas where housing is in short supply (" zones tendues") can impose a 20% surcharge on the " taxe d'habitation" due for furnished accommodations not used as a main residence. These " zones tendues" are listed by decree and include urban areas of Paris, Marseille, Nice or Bordeaux, as well as tourist areas, such as Biarritz or Annecy. This council tax surcharge can be introduced by communes located in those areas as from 2015, according to Article 1407 of the French Tax Code.
The guidelines clarify the following taxpayers are exempt from this surcharge:
- Taxpayers who need to have a second home near their workplace;
- Taxpayers with modest incomes permanently living in a nursing home or a long-term care facility exempt from council tax for their former main residence;
- Taxpayers who prove they cannot, for a reason outside their control, occupy their second home as a main residence;
On the whole, it is argued this tax increase will have little effect on reducing the housing shortage. The average " taxe d'habitation" paid in Paris is around €450.00 and thus, it is unlikely a 20% increase will change the habits of second home owners in France.
For more information on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact Loic Raboteau, International Legal Advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org