Rubbish collection tax in France: what exemptions exist?

The tax is closely linked to property taxes in France, although in some cases certain buildings can be exempt

The tax can be hundreds of euros each year
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Many French property tax bills will have an additional surcharge listed on them, called taxe d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères (TEOM) – a household waste collection tax.

The tax is added to taxe foncière bills in areas which offer a household waste collection service.

It is levied on all properties applicable within an area, regardless of whether the owner uses the service or not.

However, some exemptions do exist, one of which is where a different tax known as the REOM is in place instead, which is only payable if you actually use the service.

Note that if you benefit from exemptions from taxe foncière related to age, disability or means, this does not mean you are automatically also exempt from paying the TEOM.

What is the TEOM?

The TEOM is a surcharge on taxe foncière bills that is paid as part of that taxbill – generally in mid-October – and which can sometimes reach hundreds of euros.

It is calculated in the same way as taxe foncière – using a percentage rate applied to the property’s valeur locative cadastrale, a theoretical rental value calculated by the tax services.

Read more: Taxe foncière explainer: Who pays and the exemptions

Some buildings that have temporary exemptions from paying taxe foncière (such as newly-built properties) are not exempt from TEOM.

Unlike the similar redevance d’enlèvement des ordures ménagères (REOM), the TEOM is levied not based on whether you personally use the system, but merely if the service is available in your commune.

It can also be calculated taking into account buildings that may not even produce household waste, such as garages and swimming pools.

You can contact your local mairie to see if REOM or TEOM is levied in your area.

Read more: How to dispose of different waste items in France

Who pays the TEOM?

Unlike the REOM, which is paid by the user of the property, including tenants, the TEOM is paid for by the property owner or a person with a legal right to use it, called usufruit.

Having said this, where the property is rented out on a long-term basis the cost of the tax can be factored into the charges payable by the tenants.

For properties available for rent but which were unoccupied for three months or more in a given year because you could not find a tenant, owners can apply to their local tax office for a pro rata reduction in the tax.

What exemptions exist?

Buildings permanently exempt from taxe foncière

The main exemption from TEOM is for buildings that are permanently exempt from taxe foncière payments.

These include buildings used for a public service, or not for the aim of generating income, as well as rural buildings used exclusively for agricultural purposes (barns, granaries, etc).

Communes can decide on an individual level to exempt certain industrial or commercial properties.

They can also exempt buildings that have a household waste incinerator, or reduce the level of tax paid by buildings with one of these installed by 75%.

Isolated properties

Properties that are located far away from waste collection points are also exempt from paying the tax, unless the local commune states otherwise.

This applies if the distance between the property and the route of the rubbish truck is greater than 500 metres. In cases where the distance is between 200 and 500 metres the situation is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

For lesser distances this exemption is not applied.

Incentive-based tax

Some communes have a part of the tax bill (from 10 to 45% of the total bill) that is ‘incentive-based’ which means that it is variable depending on the amount of household rubbish your home produces, or the types of rubbish, ie. you can pay less by reducing the amount.

Local authorities can vote to exempt new buildings from this part of the tax for the first year.

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