We were over-optimistic about new property form, says French tax chief

The head of the central tax authority admits to long queues and stressful situations for staff, though things are now improving

A union has complained of a “nightmare” situation for some tax office staff dealing with queues and anxious property owners
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The head of the French tax service has admitted to having been “over-optimistic” about how well-known the obligation to make a new property declaration was to the public this year.

Initially, it was planned that everyone owning residential property in France would have to make a declaration by the end of today (June 30). But last weekend the deadline was extended until the end of July.

Jérôme Fournel, director general of the Direction générale des Finances publiques (DGFiP), told BFMTV there had been “unusually long queues” at tax offices and that the “number of in-person and phone contacts shot up”.

It comes as the FO union’s financial branch described a “nightmare” situation for staff, sometimes confronted by anxious and upset people who have turned aggressive at times.

Read more: Staff in tears as French tax offices grapple with property form

He admitted that the DGFiP had “to some extent overestimated how well-known the declaration obligation is”, despite having sent out millions of emails to people whose contact details they held and run a communications campaign.

More people than expected ended up leaving the process to the last minute, he said. However, the rush does now seem to be calming down, and they are hopeful that almost everyone will have declared by the new deadline on July 31.

Around 63% of declarations have been completed so far, he added.

The main purpose of the declaration, which for most people should be done online in your personal space on the tax website, is to check the usage of properties. This is, in particular, so that tax offices are sure of having up-to-date information on whether houses and flats are used as main or second homes.

This issue has become more important this year as no main homes are now subject to the taxe d’habitation residential tax, whereas second homes, including homes of non-residents, remain liable to this tax.

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