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French court orders €30m waste collection tax refund to residents

It means 147,000 households are to receive a refund of around €200 each

A person lifting up the lid of a household bin to put a waste bag inside

The court in Nancy found that the TEOM tax should be paid back to residents, in the first decision of its kind in France Pic: Alex Bascuas / Shutterstock

Around 147,000 households in eastern France are to be reimbursed around €200 each in waste removal tax after a court found the rate levied to be “disproportionate.” 

It is the first decision of its kind in France. Other cities could soon see similar decisions as separate actions against levels of the TEOM tax, which is normally levied with the property owners’ taxe foncière, are now underway.

The administrative court found that the tax, the taxe d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères in full,  should be paid back to the 147,000 households concerned in Nancy (Grand Est).

The total, amounting to €30million, will be paid back by the state, and will average around €200 per household affected.

Consumer association l’UFC-Que Choisir took the case to court after challenging the rate of TEOM voted for in the 2018 financial year.

The court ruled in the group’s favour.

City authorities la Métropole du Grand Nancy, which are in charge of waste management in the area, have now been ordered to reimburse the 2018 TEOM to all residents concerned. 

The Ministry of the Economy and Finance had contested the decision, but it is unlikely that the case will go to appeal to the Conseil d'Etat, France’s highest administrative court.

If this does not happen, as expected, the reimbursement procedure should begin in the next few months.

What is TEOM?

The taxe d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères is a tax paid by all property owners (private households and businesses) to finance the collection and processing of waste. 

It also helps to finance local waste collection points and recycling centres (déchetteries).

It is paid by all property owners whose property is also subject to the taxe foncière (local property tax). It is levied by your commune, and is paid on the same bill as the taxe foncière. 

TEOM is payable by the homeowner regardless of actual use of the collection service. However, where a property is rented out, you are entitled to bill it to your tenant as part of their charges.

Where you opt for local tax payment in regular instalments, it is added to those for taxe foncière. It is payable for main and second homes.

Are there exemptions possible?

There are very few exemptions, and even those who are exempt from taxe foncière may still be required to pay the TEOM. 

You can apply to be exempt in limited circumstances, notably where you usually rent out a property but it has been unoccupied for at least three months for a reason out of your control.

Where there is no collection service directly from your property and the nearest collection point is more than 200m from your home, it may also be possible to exempt yourself and there is some leeway for case-by-case interpretation of this rule.

What is the TEOM amount based on?

The TEOM is based on an official theoretical rental value for your property called the valeur locative cadastrale, multiplied by a percentage rate set by the commune (on average of about 12%). In 2018 the average bill was €175.

Some communes do not have the TEOM but instead have a Redevance d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères (REOM), payable separately from taxe foncière, by the occupant, and only if they use the collection service.

In some cases, it is also worked out depending on the volume of waste, and the number of people in the household (this usually only applies to the REOM).

Where you have non-domestic waste collected, eg. from a small business, there may be a similar tax called Redevance spécial (in some cases it is payable as well as TEOM).

Related articles

Waste collection tax in France: how does it work?

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