Habitation Tax

Can anybody help us please. We have lived in France since June 2012 and have now been asked to pay the Habitation Tax but when we bought the house our Notaire told us that we would not be eligible to pay as we are over 60 years old!

I have done a little reading and all the indications are that we do not pay the tax although we would be subject to means testing. I looked on several websites and the scale of charges denotes that we do not have enough income to be able to pay this.

The only thing we are not certain about is do we have to be in the French tax system to qualify for this?

Would this also apply to Fonciere Tax and Fosse Septique tax does anybody know

Any help would be gratefully received.

Lesley & Mike

getting back on track ..............a little anyway, I had forgotten about the exoneration for over 60's - now I have just turned 60 but my wife has not yet - so doen anyone know how we stand on this issue please ?



You'd better call to find out about an exemption. You can file and once you've explained your case (couldn't live in the house, over 60 years of age) you should get it either waived completely (that would be lucky) if you can prive that it was simply impossible to live in the house, or you'll probably get a discount. Make sure you follow up as we had a problem: we filed (it was impossible to live in the house), our file was accepted, we didn't hear anything and..... the money was seized from our account!!!!

Hi Christine

exoneration was for the first three years, then last year they extended it for a year which means that I escaped having been AE since 2009. I also changed regimes last year ands am now in the "mainstream" so have stopped following latest developments as I have so much more to cope with running a SNC under IS and IR, TVE at 5.5 and 19.6%, other products that are non TVA etc.(tabac-loto-papeterie etc.)

I've bought and sold a handfull of times here in france and where possible been exonerated from taxe d'habitation, and taxe foncière at one point for varying reasons, all completely legitimate and above board! I've had other years where I had to pay it on various properties so it's swings and round abouts!

oh so very true, Emilie, most of family here (OH's that is) are self employed in one form or another and we all joke that we have to work so hard and such long hours (buralistes and agriculteurs) to pay for all the wastage and daft socialist handouts in France. No wonder Marine Le Pen does so well, she seems to be one of the few prepared to speak out and say what so many think :-O

France is a great place to retire to but as we've already said before, it's a hard place to earn a living compared to some other countries (just had my minimum cotisations forfait from the rsi for 6k to pay this year, forecast to be 4x that in year three...!, then the taxe...!) Can't grumble too much though, so many without work etc and at least everything is going to plan but the hours are taking their toll and we've only had Christmas day and new year's day off since the 8th of October. Planning a few days in the school holidays in a couple of weeks though ;-)

Didn't have time to reply to your post about UK contract work - go for it, great news but beware about leaving the AE scheme - only to be done if there's some long term security and certainty

Bonne chance et à + ;-)

Hi Andrew

I just learnt that they scrapped the exonération on cotisations for AEs and it sucks.
Is that really in place ?
I didn’t know about having to pay both CET and Taxe d’Habitation if you have a business at home. I will look into it as a matter of interest. What you should look into though O-O is that you can deduct - supposedly - (from the TH) the m2 in your house that you use as an office ! :wink:


if you run a business from home you can end up paying taxe d'habitation and the cet (cfe + cvae). the case of nearly all auto entrpreneurs after the exoneration period is over :-O

Hi Chris

Yes, I think I know what you mean. Did you mean the CET = Cotisation Economique Territoriale (new term for the old "Taxe Professionnelle") ?

You either pay the Taxe d'habitation OR the CET, certainly not the 2 indeed - well that's the theory anyway after I cross-checked a lot of formal ( and informal = less reliable, one has to be careful...) info...

EXCEPT that you don't pay either IF your Mairie has decided you don't have to pay CET. Indeed, so far so good (for our area), mairies decide yes or no on CET, but I suspect that in the future the Communautés de Communes will decide on that tax. :s

All in all, I am glad to hear that the CET is "cheaper" than a Taxe d'habitation ! ;)

Thanks Christine, we paid very little tax, it was stuff like school meal assistance and CMU I was thinking of.

Hi Tracy -

You can claim anything back for 3 yrs + the year youare in ( unless I am mistaken for the last part). :)

Same for them ! :(

Hope this can be of help...

We were also under this assumption as we are both over 60. We have filed our tax for 2011 in France and are taxed only on British pensions which means that we do not reach the 'plafond' for paying tax d'habitation on that figure. HOWEVER, the tax is based on worldwide income, whether taxed in France or Britain and as we have a property business in England with an income, we have to pay the tax. We did not pay immediately and were then sent a demand for an extra 10% but by challenging this with the local office it was cancelled. We have always found our local office to be helpful in Montfort en Chalosse and also have a French accountant who was born in Newcastle but moved here when he was 5 years old and is so helpful and affordable that it is crazy not to use him. Don't know where you live but he has offices in Dax, Saint-Palais and Floirac.

I agree that you do not pay Taxe D'Habitation on a gite or rental property but you should be ready to pay Cotisation Fonciere d'Enterprise. We did and do (again started last year but that is a long story) and it is less than we would have had to pay for Taxe D'Habitation (well so far that is.)

Thanks Andrew, it jumps off the page at me now! I think I acquire a sort of dyslexia when reading pages in French, scanning is a habit and not really a viable option in French!

Even though you complete UK tax returns (assuming your income is from UK govt pensions) you still have to complete the French ones as well (incl the pink coloured etranger form) - entering the amount you pay in UK - and at the end you state that you are living here under the reciprocal tax rules - then you receive a return from the French tax people saying you owe nothing in France. Sounds daft but its just the usual French bureaucracy. This has happened to me five years in a row and each year I take the forms into my local tax office and I go through the forms with them over the desk to ensure I've got it right. You need photocopies of your annual UK govt pension income (something like a P60). If you buy a poele or solar panels you can also put these purchases on the French tax forms and get money back even though you may not pay French income tax.

Thanks all, quick reply between serving customers... perhaps my reply was a bit short and straight to the point but as I have so little time these days to "sfn" that's the best I can do and as no-one else had replied with the info I did. Lesley, I think the tone of the message was lost between the lines - the winking face was a exactly that for someone living in France and running gîtes etc but paying tax in the UK... it's was a friendly "get down to your local hôtel d'impôt sharpish before the fisc comes to see you :-O

Bonne chance et bonne continuation ;-)

Hi Celia, it's in the first line of info on who could benefit:

Vous pouvez bénéficier d'une exonération de taxe d'habitation 2012 si vous êtes dans l'une des situations suivantes au 1er janvier 2012 :

  • âgé de plus de 60 ans, non soumis à l'impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) en 2011,

it doesn't mention pensions or pension age but 60 years old so if someone retires early they won't qualify - it's age and means related (ISF - we're talking about major means here!)

Wow what a fantastic reply, thank you so much. You were incredibly informative and we really appreciate it.

I hope you had a good drink after all this! Many thanks again.

Hi Lesley and Mike.

Wow, long string of replies…

I’m French, living in France for the past 10 years. Basically, over the years, I have become a bit of an expert at this kind of thing ! I feel a bit smug about it, because in the past few months I was able to recup quite a bit of MY money from Mr taxman ! :D

I mean, reading the small prints written Double-Dutch by the French tax people ! :D

As a 1st rule, always ask for help BUT enquire with the right body. Tax problem ? You go and see them, etc., definitely not the mairie…

2nd rule : In your case, as newcomers, you need to ask the Sesame question “ Quels sont mes droits ? “ ( = What are my rights ? ), esp. at the CPAM ( they have an international department ). By the way, you ARE in Europe, hence you should be - in theory - entitled to a state health cover as a minimum !

Why don’t you go to the CPAM, with a proof of residency, etc. and ask the right people ? ( “section internationale”) ?

3rd rule : double-check, triple check information you are given. Even the tax people can get it wrong. It’s up to the individual to tell them ( not the nicest part of the job as it involves long hours in front of the computer, etc).

I regularly check the “Codes” to find the answers I am looking for (on Legifrance).

… Now, to answer your question…Where to start … Heather and Gordon are right.

Now … whenever you get a bill from the tax people you should pay it first (it’s written on their forms too !) THEN argue your case. Always politely but firmly. Never lose faith or patience. Consider it an endurance test !

Always have photocopies of whatever proof you have as “ justificatifs”. Even in English : I have learnt only recently that Each French service have an “international” department – in theory- and so they should deal with your English forms.

Actually, going to your Mairie is a nice thing to do, but they are not the Tax office and won’t do a lot for you, unless they are nice enough to want to help you (not their job, you see. No sarcasm intended, I have worked in a mairie for a bit). Their job, regarding the tax side of things anyway, is to pass on the info they have about what you intend to build, for example.

You need to go and see your LOCAL” Centre des Impôts” to sort things out.

Not to be confused with “Trésor Public Offices” : there, it’s a matter of “ Pay your taxes and shut up” so to speak.

At the Centre des Impôts : Usually without appointment. Enquire before you go.

Also, the website www.impots.gouv.fr as an English interface you should read : http://www.impots.gouv.fr/portal/deploiement/p1/fichedescriptive_1006/fichedescriptive_1006.pdf

Only 107 pages ! Enjoy ! :D

Another French website you cannot ignore : mon.Service-Public.fr - have a look at it. I use it quite a lot.

- Having said that : here’s what I do know for sure : No tax d’habitation to pay for 2012 because you weren’t living in your home from 01.01.2012.

- The fact that you are 60 can have an effect on the amount you have to pay - down to 0 € even - , but only in some cases : means tested ( with a threshold) and other residents can be – or not – taken into account (children, etc – disabled or not…)

- Tax d’habitation and maison secondaire : Yes, you have to pay BUT if you already have a maison principale – in France, that is - you don’t have to pay the Tax audio-visuelle(= TV/radio licence) (sent together with the Taxe d’habitation each autumn). ALSO, if some people here have declared to have converted their maison secondaire as a holiday rent for income (gîte, meublé de tourisme, location saisonnière… ) they do not have to pay ( happened to us this year : I won my case with lots of appropriate “ justificatifs” J).

- Taxe foncière : I believe that you ought to pay it … BUT because your house wasn’t properly habitable, not sure at all there : You should enquire.

- Fosse septique : to be sorted out with the help of your : mairie and / or Communauté de Communes ( groupment of mairies, in a way) which should have a “ service fosses septiques” to advise you every step. A new fosse will need to be accepted upon plans, visited once or twice… at a cost (by your water company, etc). Not cheap. Get somebody to help you with this one. The Communauté de Commune should provide you with a list of “ accrédités” professionals ( Entreprises d’Etudes de Terrains + Entreprises de “Travaux publics” to conduct any work- you will probably need an electrician to finish off the job). Always ask for a written devis (2-3 actaully !). Never sign it until completely happy with everything. Both parties have to sign + keep a copy.

Good luck with everything.

Oh, by the way, always check your receipts straight after you have paid in France : Lots of mistakes can "happen", you know what I mean ? well, it is true, sadly. Same with Entreprises : get a Franch person to speak to them for quotes, appointments, etc. or the price may well be adapted to your nationality. Having said that, you can get decent French people too ! :) ... um, rarer :(

I’m thirsty now ! ;)


the Connection news paper is a good source of informatio they do some very good guides on how to fill out tax forms etc etc you can down load them for around 5 euros a time .......much cheaper than an accountant.

Some Banks eg Bank Popular will fill in your tax forms if you bank with them and I found staff in the Impot office very good even found some english speakers in mine ...very helpfull