[This article was updated on March 15 to provide further information to some points, and to answer further questions from readers about the form]
The new property declaration form announced by the government this January has already seen some coverage from The Connexion, where we looked in-depth at the reasons behind the form and how the form impacts second-home owners.
In this article we look at eleven key questions from readers, relating to situations property owners may find themselves in when filling in the form.
Can the declaration only be completed online?
The form is filled out on your impots.gouv.fr account which you sign in into in the usual way (including using your numéro fiscal French tax number) but if you cannot then it is possible, from France, to phone 0809 401 401 to speak to an adviser and declare the information over the phone. From abroad you can, if necessary, phone the tax office where the property is situated to do the same, however declaring online is highly recommended.
It may also be possible to log in via your France Connect account, if you have one.
We explain in our article for second home owners on completing the form what your options are if you do not yet have an account at the tax website (eg. because you do not declare income to France) but still need to complete the form.
You can also go to your local tax office (or where applicable your local France Services) for help to complete the declaration, but there is no standard physical copy of the form that you can fill out and send back.
A reader informed us that after calling their local tax office in Dinan, Brittany, officials offered to send out a paper copy of the form to fill in by hand.
It may be possible, therefore, to call or go into your local tax office and ask for a physical copy of the form.
The official Q and A form from the government, however, says the form cannot be completed physically, so we cannot guarantee they will say yes.
Is there a deadline to declare, and will I be penalised if I do not do it?
The deadline for completing the form is June 30, 2023.
If you do not give the information, you fines of €150 are possible, although leniency is expected in this first year.
The fine in theory applies per property as opposed to per account.
Is the form for all types of properties and ownership?
All property owners of main and secondary residences have to complete the form, and it is necessary for SCI (Société civile immobilière) property ownership companies and those with usufruit (legal right of ownership) to complete the form for their properties too.
If you live in a property but it is owned by an SCI, then filling out the form is their responsibility, and not yours.
If you are the owner of the SCI itself, then you will have the responsibility of filling out the form, however.
To find this, you must log into your professional account (for the SCI, as opposed to your private account), where you will find the necessary properties under the biens immobiliers and then gérer mes biens immobiliers section.
The process is in this respect the same as if you are an individual property owner (only, in that case, you would log in via your private account).
If you own a property but it is under the management of an estate agency, you still need to fill out the form.
However tax office officials told The Connexion the declaration does not concern properties that cannot be subject to taxe d’habitation (or the similar tax for vacant property, ie. property left unused and unfurnished). This would include, notably, a property used exclusively for short-term holiday lets and never available for your own use and which is only subject to CFE business tax and not taxe d’habitation as it is no one’s ‘home’.
If you have only bought your property recently, it may not be listed on the form, in which case you do not need to do anything.
Why am I being asked to declare something? What is the point of the form?
The form will provide information about the state of a property, such as whether it is a main residence or a second home, or if the property is rented, used free of charge, or vacant.
Recent changes to the taxe d’habitation means this is now only levied on second homes, and this form will help officials know what category a property falls under, i.e whether it is a main or second home and is thus eligible for taxe d’habitation.
A spokesperson for the central tax authorities DGFiP said most information from the form will already be known, and in most instances the form will be simply confirming information that is already held.
The form will also allow tax officials to have up to date information about the status of the property (such as size, number of rooms, and additional aspects such as garages and parking spaces).
How can I complete the form if I am not currently in France?
We also had some readers tell us they were unable to reach the tax office service via phone if they lived outside of France.
We have checked, and it is correct that the standard tax helpline, which people have been advised by tax officials to call to give their details if they have no online account, is not accessible from outside France.
We therefore advise calling the tax office for the area where the property is situated using contact details from your property tax bills.
In the case of issues with setting up a personal space you can call the non-residents’ tax office on 0033 1 72 95 20 42 (have your French numéro fiscal tax number to hand - you can find this on previous local property bills, for example).
I privately rent my property. Are the tenants responsible for the form?
The form will ask for information relating who was using the property on (and since) January 1, 2023, and it must specify if the property is rented out.
If the property is let, you will need to specify whether it is a long-term or short-term (i.e holiday) rental, and whether the property is rented, furnished or unfurnished.
It is currently optional to include the amount of rent tenants pay for the property.
Owners of the property are responsible for completing the form, however, not the tenants, as the form is about property you own.
We jointly-own a second home with another family, but only one occupant is listed on the form. Do I need to change this?
As stated above, the form asks for information regarding anyone who lives in (or has use of) the property at the time of January 1 2023, so information on anyone who stays in the house as an occupant (or has the right to do so) should be included.
This is the case even if other taxes related to the property are only paid by one person.
Adding information about children who live in the property is optional.
We have joint-ownership of a second home with another family. Who should fill out the form?
As stated, in most cases the information is already known by the tax officials, and you are merely confirming the information to them.
As all house sales include the presence of a notaire who makes a declaration to the tax office, details of ownership will already be known as well, and therefore be listed on the impots.gouv website of the relevant individual.
In most cases, your account will prompt you if you need to complete the form. If you believe you should be completing the form, but there is no section for you to do so on the ‘biens immobiliers’ section of your account, we recommend you contact the local tax services and direct your question to them.
The tax office needs to know the names of all adults entitled to use the property, even if not everybody is responsible for filling it out.
Is this a new annual obligation?
No, this is a one-off declaration for this year, which will only have to be redone if any relevant details change.
Must I also declare on my income tax forms?
This form is not linked to your income tax declaration, however even if you do not have any revenue to declare you will still have to complete it. Both this and the income tax forms are completed in the same online space. Where relevant those who log on to complete an income tax declaration will be invited to complete the property form.
There is already information about the property listed and it is wrong, what do I do?
As mentioned, information about most property will already be known to tax officials, because of previous tax declarations and notaire information regarding house sales.
This is why in some cases the form will just be to confirm that information held by the tax office is correct.
If you spot a mistake in the information listed, you can use the private message function on the website, choosing the J’ai une question sur le descriptive de mon bien immobilier option.
The form says my property has five rooms (cinq pièces), but it is a two-bed property the estate agents called a three-room (trois pièces). The m² of the property is also listed differently. Are these mistakes?
The tax authorities use a different definition for number of pièces (rooms) than estate agents.
Estate agents usually only count bedrooms and living rooms as rooms in their listings, and occasionally large dining rooms and office spaces, but exclude rooms like kitchens and bathrooms.
The tax office definition of a room is a ‘walled-off space’, so properties generally have more rooms under these definitions, as rooms like bathrooms and kitchens are included.
There are still some exclusions however, like toilets, entryways, and clothes closets.
This is also why you may see a discrepancy in the m² listed for your property. The tax officials use surface réelle, which may be larger than the ‘Loi Carrez’ floor space as listed by estate agents, for example. It contains all of the habitable spaces of an apartment minus doors, staircases, windows, walls, etc.
The ‘Loi Carrez’ excludes a greater number of surface areas; for example, any part of the property lower than 1.8m in height.
How do I measure the ‘surface réelle’? Must it be done by an official body?
Because the information on the property should already be known, the required size of the property in square metres should already be listed. Only in the case of a discrepancy should you change the information.
You should not need to have a measurement done specially.
If you think something is incorrect but you are not sure you could contact your notaire and ask them if they have information about the surface réelle of the property. You could also check what is stated in your property deeds.
I want to add additional information about my non-connected aspects of my property (garage, parking space etc), how do I do this?
Aspects that are not physically linked to the property (such as a parking space, or garage at the end of the garden) will be listed separately in the form.
It is possible when completing the form to attach other dependencies of the property, to your property.
You can add them by clicking the ‘concerned by this occupation’ button.
I am still not sure about something, is there somebody I can talk to about the form?
If we have not answered your question here, or if you are unsure of something, we recommend you contact your local tax office and direct your question to them.
They will be able to help you, and can be reached via the private messaging service in your online account. Otherwise, you can call them or, if you are currently in France, you can visit them in person.