Yes, it’s that time of year again when random tax demands for huge amounts of money land on your doormat. Or rather, if you have opted to pay monthly, they don’t drop through the door anymore and it’s only when you log in to your personal gouv.fr account, that you will notice that they’ve gone up.
If you are paying monthly, don’t assume that these payments will remain the same. Assuming the overall amounts of your taxe d’habitation or taxe foncières have increased, you can expect the final three monthly payments of the year to be increased to account for the shortfall. In 2014 our taxe d’habitation was 283€, in 2015 it dropped to 262€ and then in 2016 increased to 414€ meaning that the last three monthly payments were all larger. Pre-Christmas and with two birthdays in December, this was less than ideal. I’ve just looked online and this year’s final total is not yet available until mid-October but I have no doubt it will again be higher than the 550€ that is showing on the ‘Avis primitif’!
Many people have reported large increases in their taxes foncières. Ours have been gradually increasing from 668€ in 2014 to 740€ in 2017. Again, this isn’t the final figure so I could still be in for a nasty surprise.
And nasty surprises are the one thing you want to avoid, especially at the tail end of the year and coming up to Christmas. So my advice is:
Pay both taxes on a monthly basis. There may well be a bit extra to find at the end of the year but it’s still better than being whacked with two large bills. If you have the self-discipline, you could of course put the money aside every month (or cross your fingers and stick it on the 2.30 at Wincanton but we don’t actually recommend this as a course of action) but if you are like me, it’s probably easier just to sign up and pay it monthly.
Make sure that your money is actually being debited. A couple of years back I had a nasty shock in November when I got a late payment charge for non-payment of my taxe d’habitation. I thought I’d signed up to pay both monthly but in fact only the foncières payment had gone through. So I had to find the entire sum plus the late payment charge.
Be aware of your tax liabilities - if you are the occupant of a property on the 1st January, you are liable to pay the taxe d’habitation for the entire year. This is (I think) a ridiculous and unfair system especially as it applies to students in private sector rentals and people who may be on fairly low incomes. Our daughter moved into a flat in November and moved out 18 months later but still has to pay two full years worth of tax. Her rent was 340€ per month but the taxe d’habitation was 650€ per year which is a lot for a student to find. As she is still fiscally attached to us, she did get a reduction (dégrèvement) of 300€ but this still left her (well, us!) an extra 350€ to find.
Check if you are entitled to any reductions (based on income level) and remember that over 60’s with income below a certain level (unless they are liable for the tax known as the “impôt de solidarité sur la fortune” (ISF), as well as people receiving certain benefits are not required to pay taxe d’habitation. And the sooner that Macron gets rid of it for the rest of us, the better!