Two main property taxes exist in France – the taxe d’habitation and the taxe foncière.
The taxe foncière has a number of possible exemptions and reductions but the cases for this with the taxe d’habitation are limited and no reductions exist.
Here, we look at the possible reasons for exemptions for the taxe d’habitation and how you apply for them if relevant.
As a reminder, the taxe d’habitation is a property tax levied on furnished second homes.
One main exemption for the tax
When it comes to the taxe d’habitation itself – i.e, not the potential surcharges for homes in zones tendues (areas with a housing shortage) or unfurnished properties – there is no recourse for reductions.
The state of the property (aside from whether it is furnished or not), nor your income, does not affect the tax amount.
The bill for the tax is sent out by the authorities based on information they have on you and your property with the sole criteria for the bill being whether you own a second home (i.e, not a main residence) in France on January 1 of the given year.
One exemption is when someone moves out of their home to reside in a residential care home or other long-term care facility, thus leaving their property uninhabited.
In this case, exemption is possible.
You can request this by contacting the tax authorities via your personal space on the French tax site.
Alternatively, you can send a letter to, or make an appointment at, your local tax office (centre des Finances Publiques).
You can find – and make an appointment with – your local office through your personal space via the Contact et RDV button.
A business-based exemption can exist
The second exemption is if the property is used as a short-term holiday let for part of the year - and the rest of the time as a second home - however there are conditions.
The property has to be in an area classed as a zone de revitalisation rurales (rural revitalisation zone, or ZRR), and be classified as a chambres d’hôtes or other furnished tourist accommodation lets (meublés de tourisme).
To apply for this exemption, you need to send form N1205-GD to your local tax office by December 31 of the preceding year.
If you use your second home for part of the year, and rent it out for the other part of the year, and it is not in a ZRR, you will be liable to pay both taxe d’habitation and cotisation foncière des entreprises (CFE) on the property.
Some exemptions from surcharge are available
There are two reasons that you can be exempt from the taxe d’habitation surcharge levied on properties in zones tendues.
Your professional activity being close to your second home and requiring you to live there rather than in your main home (where other family members may live)
The residence being uninhabitable for reasons beyond your control. For example, work is needed to make the home decently habitable
You are also exempt from the surcharge if you have moved into a care home or other long-term care facility.
You can apply for these exemptions in the same way as for the main taxe d’habitation exemption (through the French tax website or a tax office).
However, you will still have to pay the main tax itself, even if you are exempt from the surcharge.