No, the French taxe d’habitation is not dead
France charges a real estate tax (‘taxe foncière’) and an occupier’s tax (‘taxe d’habitation’) on all French residential properties. However, an exemption (‘dégrèvement’) has been introduced for principal residences.
The taxe d’habitation is still due for secondary residences.
As part of the process to gradually taking French principal residences ou tof the scope of the taxe d’habitation, the French tax administration has put in place a tool to gather information to evaluate both the actual state of recovery of the tax on real property, as well as the potential tax return on real property in general.
Since 1 January of this year, all owners of French properties - both individuals and corporate taxpayers - must file a tax return to obtain the exemption of their principal residence from the taxe d’habitation. The taxe d’habitation remains in force for secondary residences.
The decree that will implement the decision has yet to be published, but the French tax authorities have made it public through press releases and announcements on their website.
All owners must file the tax return, whether they are full owners (“propriétaires”), bare owners (“nus-propriétaires”), joint owners (undivided owners) and “usufruitiers”. Although usufruitiers are not, strictly speaking, the owners under French law, they have a real right to use the property. It also affects sociétés civiles immobilières (SCI) who are French companies; they can file their declaration on their secure espace sécurisé « professionnel ».
Belgian residents must report their French properties before 30 June 2023
The tax is also due by or non-resident owners (and usufruitiers). The application can be found on impots.gouv.fr under “Particuliers” under ‘Biens immobiliers’ but one needs to create a space as a non-resident. It is not clear yet what happens to legally “opaque” foreign companies that own real property in France or non-resident usufruitiers who rent the property out.