Car equipment rule, DPE property ratings eased: July changes in France

Tax correction service opens, energy bills rise, supermarket price rules and more

Correction can also be made to this spring's tax declarations
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Gas bills to increase 

The price of the average gas bill is set to rise by around 12% from July 1, as increased distribution tariffs come into effect. 

It means the average annual gas bill at current prices will be €1,184. 

However, despite the increase, prices are still lower than they were in January.

Read more: Gas bills rise in France: compare energy providers

Changes to energy audits for smaller properties

The way certain properties are assessed during their energy audit (diagnostic de performance énergétique, or DPE) is changing. 

Smaller properties (less than 40m²) will have slightly different assessment rules, making it easier for them to receive a higher rating. 

Property owners claimed the previous assessment criteria – that applied to all properties the same regardless of size – unduly penalised smaller flats. 

It means that many flats may see their ratings increase, avoiding the incoming ban on renting out energy inefficient properties (F and G on the scale), set to come into force in January 2025. 

Read more: France revamps energy renovation grants scheme to boost take-up

Tax correction service opens 

People who submitted a tax declaration in France on their 2023 income will be able to correct it from July 31 until December 4.

You will be able to do this in your personal space on the French tax website here

Read also: 2023 French local taxes: thousands overcharged, how to claim reimbursement

Rural zone revitalisation plans 

A change to the zones de revitalisation will come into effect on July 1. 

More than 17,000 communes will be newly classed as areas of ‘France Ruralités Revitalisation’, granting businesses that set up here certain tax exemptions, including to income and social taxes, as well as business property taxes. 

Read more: MAP: See where prices for rural properties fell most in France in 2023

New rules to combat ‘shrinkflation’

Supermarkets must indicate if a product’s size has decreased without its price also dropping, in measures to combat ‘shrinkflation’. 

This must either be made clear on the product packaging itself, or with clear information in the vicinity of the product on the supermarket shelf. 

Read more: More everyday French supermarket products accused of ‘shrinkflation’

Cars must have anti-speeding measures 

New cars must be equipped with anti-speeding devices that beep or flash to inform drivers they are going too fast, according to a new European regulation.

The rule applies to all new cars sold or registered for the first time after July 2024. It does not apply to vehicles already on the road. 

However, many modern vehicles already include such devices.

Read more: All new cars in France will soon ‘beep’ at you if you speed

New savings account for children 

A new savings account that invests in eco-friendly projects is available for people under the age of 21 from July 1.

The Plan épargne avenir climat savings account can be opened on behalf of any person living in France under the age of 21 – and can be created as soon as a child is born. 

The interest rate for the account, which can be held up to the age of 30, is determined by the performance of the investments that the banking establishment makes with the money.

These investments are limited to stocks that have been officially labelled as either ‘green’ or ‘socially responsible (ie. “Investissement socialement responsable” or “France finance verte”).

Once opened, the account cannot be touched by the child’s parent or guardian for at least five years (except to put more funds in). The child can only obtain the money on reaching adulthood. 

The upper limit for adding money to the new account is the same as for the Livret A (€22,950), however interest can still build up once this has been reached.

Read more: New French bank savings account for under-21s: rules and interest rate

Small rise in insurance tax 

A rise in the ‘attack’ tax on home and car insurance policies will come into force. 

It will increase by 60 centimes per policy, increasing from €5.90 to €6.50 annually. 

The money raised from this tax goes towards the Fonds de garantie des victimes des actes de terrorisme et d'autres infractions (FGTI), which compensates people and their families who have been subject to acts of terrorism. 

It is an offshoot of the Fonds de garantie des victimes, which can also compensate people hit by an uninsured driver.

Read more: How do I prove my car is insured now France no longer issues stickers?

New unemployment benefit rules 

A decree on unemployment benefits is expected to be issued by July 1 requiring people to have worked eight months of the last 20 to receive unemployment benefits (chômage). 

This will mean the time required to receive the benefit will increase from six out of the last 24 months, which is the current rule. 

The maximum amount of time somebody can receive unemployment benefits will also be reduced. 

As of June 27, however, the decree has not yet been issued. 

Read more: France to tighten rules for unemployment benefit: what is changing?