Impots Locaux advice

We live in the UK and bought two very small French houses about 12 years ago for holidays. They are detached but very close together and both were uninhabitable. We weren’t asked to pay tax on either property.

We started renovating the first (as it had the best aspect) around ten years ago, applying for planning permission in the process. This seemed to trigger a request to fill in form (6550) for impots locaux. After a few years, when we had done enough work that the house could be considered habitable we returned the form and duly started paying the taxe d’habitation and after a couple of years taxe fonciere.

We are not currently renovating the second house although early on we got both roofs done in order to prevent further deterioration of the properties. Last year we were sent an impots locaux form for the second house. We replied with a letter explaining that the house was uninhabitable and that we had no plans to renovate it. We were told the letter was no good and were sent a 6550 form to complete. We sent one in with details of the house but didn’t fill in the date work completed field because work hasn’t even started. We have now been told again to fill in the form and to state when the work was completed.

There seems to be a presumption that we are going to renovate or have renovated. I have to admit that we store stuff and occasionally sleep in the second house (when the other is full of family) but there is no bathroom and the rudimentary electrics are dangerous and have been condemned by our electrician. Anyone reasonable would consider it uninhabitable.

I’m not sure how to deal with the situation without leaving ourselves open to possible backdated demands and future complications. Any advice on how to proceed?

Hi Jon and Welcome to the Forum.

An Owner can apply for a Property to be “exempt” from Taxe d’Habitation… it needs to be uninhabitable/empty…

From my own experience, the Mairie will arrange a “site visit” or some such, to verify the claim, then make a decision whether or not to allow the exemption.

In your case, the Mairie took it upon themselves (presumably) to exempt the Properties when you first bought them.

However, as soon as you start renovations…that changes things. The Property comes under close scrutiny. You have had the roof done. You admit to sleeping in there and you “store stuff” . Thus as far as the Mairie is concerned, the property is no longer “uninhabitable”… how can it be… you are using it… :thinking:

When are you next in France?? It will probably be easier to get this (and Declaration H1 6550) sorted face-to-face at the Mairie.

If you continue to “store stuff” and sleep in the property… I really do not see how you can avoid the taxes.


Thank you Stella for your prompt reply.

I thought there might be some definition of what constitutes habitable - toilet and bathroom for instance. So in think the fact that it is usable for any purpose is enough to make it taxable.

This leads me to some further questions…

If we were renovating how long can we take over it and do we have to pay taxes d’habitation and fonciere while we are doing it?

I have read somewhere that a property can be exempted if the cost of making it habitable will be 25% more than the cost of the property. Am I right about that?

Lastly, does our local, mother village Mairie make the decisions or is it the people in

‘head office’ in Ales who keep sending us the forms?

Sorry to be a nuisance. I’ll understand if you leave it to other forum members to respond (or not).

I have no experience of this at all however, I used to know someone (French) who has built several houses. In order to avoid paying the local property taxes he did everything except connect the plumbing. He said that until there is water to the toilet, bathroom and kitchen the property is considered as “uninhabitable” and the tax is not due.

He connected the plumbing only at the point at which the houses were let. It worked for him.

There must be a definition somewhere of what is considered habitable???

Hi Jon and Mandy

:smile::smile::sob::sob: That sounds a bit like Spain and the way folk avoided taxes over there in years gone by…:thinking:

In France, such is not allowed any more… too many folk taking advantage of loopholes.

There is a gentleman in my village who has deliberately had the water disconnected (for various reasons)… quick as a flash the message came on down from those in High Places… “hope he doesn’t think that will let him off of paying the Taxes”… :thinking::pensive::roll_eyes:

and, sure enough… it does NOT.

In fact, if it is deemed that someone is deliberately seeking to avoid paying the Taxes, said person will be dumped on from a great height. (risking fines/jail etc)

Hi John…

I’ve sent you a private message… if we discuss in private first-off… then we can perhaps publish pertinent ways and means that may be of use to others…