Excessive tax on new-build flat in France

I am a co-owner of a new-build flat. We received demands for excessive payments of taxe foncière despite the fact that the apartments are uninhabitable (certified by the police) and no completion certificates had been sent to the mairie. What are the rules relating to a first payment on a new property of this tax and what factors are taken into account in assessing the tax’s base level? M.S.

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While there is an exemption on new-builds to taxe foncière, there is none to the removal of waste charge so you need to check your assessment is not for this.

Otherwise, new-builds are exempt from taxe foncière for a period of two years after they become habitable, and in respect of this a form H1 needs to be deposited within 90 days of completion. For the value on which the tax is based, this is something that only the regional authorities can answer as while there are some common aspects, there are also some that are regional or local.

Essentially the base is the valeur locative cadastrale, divided by two, to which a percentage rate voted by the mairie and departmental council is applied. This is a theoretical annual rental value and is based on factors relating to the property’s size plus how luxurious it is, the area, its view, if it is subject to noise, whether there is a lift… The values were assessed decades ago and are subject to an annual percentage increase voted by the government. New-builds are awarded a value similar to comparable nearby properties. A planned revision of the values has been underway for a few years now but is yet to be completed.

To contest any assessment one should contact the authority which issued it, and in this case it would probably be best to make an appointment to ascertain the basis of the chargeable base level.

Reader's query answered byHugh MacDonald

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