Staff in tears as French tax offices grapple with property form issues

One union boss says the deadline for the mandatory form might have to be extended again

Long queues have been forming at finance and tax centres in France as more people report issues with filing the mandatory property declaration online
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Long queues have been reported outside local tax centres in France after technical issues with the website have caused unprecedented numbers of people to seek help.

The new form is mandatory for all main and second-home owners (around 34 million in France in total), and owners face a €150 fine if they do not complete it.

The initial deadline was June 30 but at the weekend it was put back to July 31.

In theory, the process should be simple.

Homeowners should be able to log in to their online tax account on, go to their personal account (espace particulier) and click on the biens immobiliers tab. They can declare their owner status, and, if they do not live in the property, declare who lives there, and the period of residence.

The main reason behind the new form is to “establish the taxe d’habitation rates on second homes”, the government has said.

Deadline extension amid overwhelm

And yet, since April, tax authorities have reported a significant increase in the number of calls from people having difficulty using the website. Some centres have even reported receiving up to 80,000 calls a day.

As of June 23, only a week before the previously-announced deadline of June 30, only half of homeowners had completed the form. This caused France’s economy ministry to extend the deadline by one month.

Read more: Why has the mandatory property tax form deadline been extended?

‘Agents in tears’

However, problems are still being reported, both online and in person, and the extension of one month may still not be sufficient.

One homeowner in their 80s, Marcel, who lives in Finistère, told Ouest France: “I tried to do my declaration online, but the site wasn’t available. So I went to the tax centre. It was overrun.”

The same octogenarian said they went to their local France Services centre, but the website did not work any better for them, either.

The form can only be done online or by calling the DGFiP (Direction générale des Finances publiques) on 0809 401 401 (from within France), even for those who do not normally file their tax return online.

And yet, so many people have been turning up at their local tax office for in-person help that agents are feeling the strain.

Christophe Céron, from the Solidaires union, told Capital: “Services are crumbling under demand. In some centres, when you’re the only agent at the welcome desk with 50 people waiting…I’ve heard from some agents who have been in tears.

“I’m not sure if the extension will be enough to make up the backlog.”

Some centres have taken to asking the waiting crowds to fill in paper forms, which they say will be “dealt with later”. It is not recommended to rely on this, however.

Marcel, in Finistère, said that the situation is “unacceptable”. He said that he has written to his MP to complain about the issue and is hoping for a resolution soon.

Need help with your declaration?

To log on to the site, you will need a French tax number (numéro fiscal) and your password.

We have written articles in the past on both how to find or create a numéro fiscal, and what to do if you do not have a tax site password. Please note, some readers have been reporting to us that it sometimes takes up to two weeks to get their password sent through via email.

There is also an option for non-residents to create a tax space if they do not have a numéro fiscal, which is explained in this article.

We have compiled a longer article with tips and extra details on how to log in and file your declaration here.

The Connexion has also written a number of articles on the declaration, with our latest one answering last-minute questions here.

You can also read our recent subscriber special, which answered 11 questions from our readers on the declaration, below:

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