Declaring French property: exemptions, rents, joint owners, commercial

We explain how tax officials check main or second-home status and clear up recurring queries on the new ‘biens immobiliers’ form

You can create a profile on the French tax website to complete the property declaration before June 30
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It is especially important to understand the difference between a main and second home this year as all property owners must complete a new form to declare how their properties are used.

The one-off declaration must be made by June 30, or owners face a €150 fine.

Form is ‘one-off’ fact check

It concerns main and second homes, as well as properties that are rented out, and applies to private owners, SCI ownership companies, and people with usufruit (legal right of use).

Read more: Can we annul usufruit before selling a house in France?

When couples jointly own a property, only one partner needs to confirm or supply the details.

The declaration should list all elements of a property, including private parking spaces.

Tax officials say the declaration is needed because taxe d’habitation is now levied only on second homes, so they want to ensure their records are up to date with how homes are used.

A main home is “the place where you usually reside, and have the strongest ties”.

It is a matter of fact, not choice, and can only be one property.

Visit to complete your declaration.

Access your espace particulier personal account, then select Biens immobiliers. See below for how to obtain an account if you do not have one.

Tax office can check main or second-home status

The new web page allows you to modify a property’s status of main or second home.

Tax offices might verify changes by checking utility bills, where you have post sent, or whether your children, if relevant, have changed school.

Read more: Delay to plan to increase local tax for more second homes in France

You will be asked to declare how you use the property, and if you do not occupy it yourself, whether somebody else uses it or if it is vacant.

If you rent out the property, declaring rent amounts is optional.

Authorities will already have information about most properties, so you simply have to confirm it is accurate.

They might not have details of a recent change of use – for example, a second home that has become a main home. Either way, you must verify and submit the declaration.

You only need to do this once, unless there is a change of situation in future, in which case you submit a new form.

If you bought the property very recently, it might not be listed on your account, so you do not need to do anything.

Many readers have contacted us with questions about the process. Here we answer a selection:

How do I fill out the form as a second-home owner?

The process is the same as for people who live in France and is accessed via your espace particulier. If you do not have an account, you can create one here.

You will need your passport – you should enter 99 for your birth department if you were born outside of France – and your numéro fiscal (tax number), which can be found at the top of French tax documents, such as income or property tax assessments.

You will be sent an email to create an account with your date of birth and tax number.

You will then have to click on a link to put in your email and a password. Another email is then sent, enabling you to log into your new account.

Select Biens immobiliers and you should see your property listed with a note saying déclaration attendue.

Read more: How do second home owners fill in new French tax-site form?

Do I have to fill in the form online?

Most people will use to complete the form, but you can also call 0809 401 401 to declare the information by telephone. This does not work from abroad, so if necessary we suggest seeking help from the non-residents’ tax service on 0033 1 72 95 20 42.

You can also go to your local tax office, or your local France Services branch for help to complete the declaration.

However, no standard physical version of the form has been made available.

What if the information listed is wrong?

Most properties will already be known to tax officials because of previous declarations and notaire information.

If you spot a mistake, you can use the private message function choosing the J’ai une question sur le descriptif de mon bien immobilier option.

The form says my property has five rooms (cinq pièces), but it is a two-bed house the 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 the number of pièces (rooms) than estate agents.

Estate agents usually only count bedrooms and living rooms as rooms in their listings.

The tax office definition of a room is a ‘walled-off space’, including bathrooms and kitchens.

Agents calculate the ‘liveable surface area’, excluding parts where the ceiling is lower than 1.8m, whereas tax officials use the entire surface area.

I want to add additional information about 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.

You can add them by clicking Indiquer les autres biens concernés par cette occupation.

I rent out my property. Are the tenants responsible for the form or am I?

The form will ask who was using the property on (and since) January 1.

If the property is let, you will need to specify whether it is a long-term or short-term (ie. holiday) rental, and if the property is rented furnished or unfurnished.

Owners of the property are responsible for completing the form, not 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?

Information on any adults who have the house available to stay in as an occupant should be included but you do not need to mention children.

How do SCI owners declare their property?

This is done on via your espace professionnel, selecting Démarches, then Gérer mes biens immobiliers.

If you do not already have a professional tax account, visit this tax web page to create one.

You will receive an activation code by post, which can take up to two weeks, so be sure to leave enough time.

Read more: Are there any benefits to putting French mountain chalet into SCI?

Are any homes exempt?

Tax office officials told The Connexion the declaration does not concern properties that cannot be subject to taxe d’habitation (or the tax for vacant properties) – not whether they are, but whether they can.

The exclusion would, for example, include a property used exclusively for short-term holiday lets and never available for personal use (as, in this case, only CFE business tax applies).

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