French Property Taxes
Owning a property in France is an ideal for many people - often as a holiday home or somewhere to retire in the sun.
Prices are currently low in many parts of France, but it’s important to consider all the hidden costs - in particular the taxes.
The sections below outline the key taxes to take into account. You should also refer to the separate pages on this website for Wealth Tax (now renamed IFI - Impôt sur la Fortune Immobilière - ie Property Wealth Tax) and Inheritance Tax.
In addition to paying any agency commission, you will pay purchase costs covering both notaire fees and French property registration taxes.
The notaire’s fees are currently fixed with an official sliding scale - usually around 1.3%. The registration taxes vary according to value and location - usually around 5.3%.
Click here to estimate the total cost of fees and taxes.
The taxe d’habitation is a local tax paid by the person who LIVED in the property on January 1st - either as their main or secondary home. If no-one was living in the property - but it was sufficiently furnished to allow someone to live there - then it’s due by the owner.
The rates vary by department and commune - so you must check carefully before purchasing. If the property is your main home - you may have the right to a reductions - for example, if you receive low income.
The rules are gradually being modified - and Macron has promised that 80% of the population will be exempt from this tax by 2020.
A few communes exempt tourist properties (such as gîtes and chambre d’hôtes).
Since 2014, communes can uplift taxe d’habitation on second homes by up to 20% (Surtaxe d'habitation sur les logements sous-occupés). This applies to all furnished homes - in areas considered to be short of residential property - and which are not being used as a main residence. By definition it therefore applies to all holiday homes in those areas. The list of communes to which this applies can be found in the table here. Each individual commune must decide the surcharge to be applied.
You must pay the Contribution à l'audiovisuel public - redevance télé (TV licence) at the same time as the taxe d’habitation. You only need to pay for one licence - to cover all the televisions in all the homes in France for your household (foyer fiscal - ie you, your spouse and your children up to 18 years old - or up to 25 if in higher education).
The French TV licence for 2017 was 138€.
The taxe foncier is a local tax due by the OWNER of the property. Once again, the rates vary by department and commune - so you must check carefully before purchasing.
New or rebuilt homes are exempt for the first two years - on condition that you declare the building within 90 days of completion. You can also receive partial or full exemption for five years if you have carried out extensive works to make your home energy efficient.
You can check the historic local French tax rates for any commune here
French capital gains tax on the sale of property in 2018 is 19% plus social taxes of 17.2%.
The sale of your main residence is exempt.
Gains from the sale of a property owned for more than 5 years benefit from a special reduction of 6% pa (for years 6-21), 4% pa (for year 22) resulting in full exemption after 22 years. Please note that different reduction rules apply to the social charges - of 1.65% pa (for years 6-21), 1.6 (for year 22) and 9% pa (for years 22-30) resulting in full exemption after 30 years.
Property gains above 50000€ are subject to an additional tax of 2-6% (reaching 6% for gains above 260000€).
For non-resident Europeans who were French resident for a minimum of two years at some point in the past, the first 150000€ of capital gain is exempt from both the 19% tax and the 15.5% social taxes. In the event of multiple owners - each owner is entitled to the full 150000€ exemption. This exemption can only be used once - and does not apply to properties owned via companies. For full details please consult your notaire.