French historic churches tax credit continues

Scheme aims to support restoration and maintenance of religious buildings

A view of the Abbey of Sainte-Marie in Souillac (Dordogne)
Many communes struggle to keep churches open and pay for their upkeep

A new (as of last year) tax credit is continuing this year for donations to the Fondation du Patrimoine’s campaign to restore historic churches in small towns and villages.

Old churches – dating from before 1905s law on separation of church and state – are the property of communes, but many do not have sufficient funds for their upkeep.

Charity la Fondation du Patrimoine is one source of help, as mayors can appeal to it to help with the restoration and safeguarding of heritage buildings.

It has an ongoing project with regard to old churches in smaller communes, aiming to restore some 1,000 buildings over the next four years. You can see which ones are already concerned here.

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Gifts to this campaign attract a tax credit of 75% of the gift within €1,000, after which any remaining part obtains a credit of 66%. This means you get money paid to you from the tax office if your actual tax due for the year in which you donated is not sufficient for you to benefit in full via a reduction in the tax bill.

Note that there is no longer a 75% tax credit for gifts to religious associations (associations cultuelles), but they can still benefit from the standard 66% for general interest associations.