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Must I pay France’s ‘garden shed’ tax on a replacement structure?

Officially called the taxe d’aménagement, this one-off sum is payable when you receive authorisation to build structures including sheds 

Taxe d’aménagement is a one-off tax paid on constructions requiring authorisation from the council Pic: Peter Titmuss / Shutterstock

Reader Question: If replacing an existing shed of an identical size that was previously approved and built is it necessary to obtain further permission and is another taxe d’aménagement payment applied?

The rules on obtaining permission and paying taxe d’aménagement for features such as garden sheds are slightly different if the project involves rebuilding an existing structure.

Taxe d’aménagement is a one-off tax paid on constructions requiring authorisation from the council, whether formal planning permission or just prior declaration. 

It is known as the garden shed tax because, unlike most property taxes, it is also payable on simple sheds, as long as they have a ground surface area of at least 5m² and a ceiling height of at least 1.8m.

Planning permission 

In general, you only need to apply for any sort of planning permission on a structure such as a garden shed if it covers more than 5m². If not, you can build it without official authorisation.

If it is between five and 20m² in area, you are obliged to declare your intention to build in a déclaration préalable de travaux before you start construction work. This should normally be sent to your mairie. 

If the shed covers an area of more than 20m² you will need planning permission. 

However, with regards to the reconstruction of a structure identical to one which has been demolished or destroyed – referred to as reconstruction à l’identique – France’s Code de l’urbanisme states that any planning permission which would normally be required must automatically be granted under certain conditions. 

These are that: 

  • The demolition or destruction happened less than 10 years ago and the property owner can prove it

  • The original structure was built with all the required authorisation

  • There are no local rules or restrictions which would make reconstruction impossible

  • The reconstruction does not pose any predictable risk to public health or safety. This might apply if the original structure was demolished because its design was unsafe, for example.

If all of these criteria are met then the applicant should be granted planning permission without question. 

However, they must still submit a new application and should not expect their original permission to be sufficient.

It should also be noted that a reconstruction à l’identique should be in the exact same dimensions and positioning as the original building.

You can read more about this (in French) on this official information sheet from the Seine-et-Marne prefecture.

Taxe d’aménagement 

If a building project is required to have a déclaration préalable or planning permission, it is automatically subject to taxe d’aménagement, even if it involves the reconstruction of an old structure. 

The only exception to this rule applicable here is if the project is a reconstruction à l’identique of a structure which was destroyed less than 10 years ago by a disaster such as a fire.

Of course, if the structure covers a surface of less than 5m² the owner is not required to pay the tax either, because they do not need a déclaration préalable or planning permission.

Structures needing to be built as part of a risk prevention plan (related to preventing damage from natural disasters) are also exempt from the tax under certain conditions, but this is most likely not relevant in this case. 

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