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What is CFE and who has to pay it?

Cotisation foncière des entreprises (CFE) is an annual  tax paid by businesses, including sole traders. 

There are, however, many exempt categories of work, including chambres d’hôtes and, under certain conditions, many artisans.

The tax is calculated on a base amount multiplied by a percentage set by your mairie.

Where there are dedicated business premises, the base figure is the valeur locative (theoretical rental value, used by the tax office) of the property.

If you work from home, the tax office uses a set minimum. This is fixed by the council within certain limits, which are currently €216 to €514 for turnover less than €10,000 a year, or up to €1,027 for turnover up to €32,600 (tinyurl.com/j76hg75).

This is then mulitiplied by the mairie’s percentage amount.

The base values used are the ones for the period two years before the tax is due, so for 2019 the relevant year is 2017.

The Fédération Nationale des Auto-entrepreneurs says the tax is likely to be between €100 and €500 a year for a micro-entrepreneur, dependent on location and earnings.

 You have to fill in form 1477-C-SD to register for CFE before the end of the first year of the creation of your business. You should receive the form by post after you set up but you can also download it at impots.gouv.fr.

You also need to create an account on this site as a professional, because it is there that you will be alerted to the amount to pay. No warning letter will be sent by post.

The sum due is also only payable online. Payment must be made by December 15 each year (an instalment is payable in June if the tax is over €3,000). You can opt to pay monthly if you select this before June 30 of the year in question.

CFE is not applicable in the first year of trading and, from this year, anyone with turnover under €5,000 is exempt.

Most artisans do not need to pay. Other exempt activities include farmers, authors, composers, painters, sculptors and chambres d’hôtes (as long as the commune agrees).

For more on exemptions at tinyurl.com/yyvbt8re.

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