Property For Members

How to challenge your French property tax bill

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
How to challenge your French property tax bill

Property tax bills are being sent out to French property owners, and many people will notice an increase - but if you think the price hike is too high - or you have been sent a bill in error - here's how you can challenge it.


Some people who own French property will now be getting their annual bills for taxe d'habitation, while bills for the taxe foncière arrived last month. 

And it's likely that both bills will have increased compared to last year.

Here's what you need to know;

Taxe foncière

This is the tax paid by all property owners, regardless of whether it is your main residence, a second home or you rent it out. Across France, taxe foncière bills have increased this year by seven percent - however local authorities also have the option to increase bills further, up to a maximum of 60 percent.

Only a minority of communes have chosen to do this, but some - including Paris - have gone for nearly the maximum 60 percent increase. You can find a full list of the percentage rise by commune here

However, there might be other reasons that your bill has risen above the rate set by the commune.

The most common is if you have recently had work done such as an extension or installing a swimming pool. The tax is based on the rentable value of your property, so if you have done major works it's likely that the value of your property has increased.

The other reason is incorrect details previously held by the tax office - this year property owners had to complete the new property tax declaration giving details of their property including its size and number of rooms. And it transpires that quite a few communes had been using out-of-date or just wrong details when calculating previous bills.

That means that previous year's bills were actually lower than they should have been, with the consequence being that people could see a big jump in their tax bill this year. 


If none of these things apply to you, you can challenge the bill if you think it has been incorrectly calculated. 

How to challenge the bill

You cannot challenge the local authority's tax rate, but you can challenge the rentable value of your property that the bill is based on, if you feel it is unrealistic.

On your bill will be printed the valeur locative - which is the rent you could expect if you rented out the property.

If you feel this value is wildly out to step, the first thing to do is head to your online tax account and check the details in your property tax declaration - if they have your home listed as having 15 bedrooms when you only have two, then this would obviously drastically affect the rentable value.


If those details are incorrect, you can visit, call or email your local tax office and ask for a recalculation - full details on how to find your local office here. You will need to provide documentation such as the house deeds to prove the true size of the property.

If the details are correct but you still think the rentable value is unrealistic, you can challenge it - you would likely need documentation to back you up such as details of similar properties on the market in your area.

This too must be done via your local tax office - it cannot be done on the online tax site


If you are in a small town, your local office might not deal with property tax queries - but staff will be able to direct you to the correct office.

The easiest way to query your bill is in person - tax offices are open to the public on a walk-in basis (although be sure to check the opening hours first) but you can also email or schedule a phone call - full details here

In both cases, you must make your complaint within two months of receiving the bill, or it will not be considered. 

Taxe d'habitation

This tax has undergone a change in recent years - previously it was paid by the occupier of the property. So tenants paid it, and owner-occupiers paid both this and taxe foncière.

However, since 2019 it has gradually been phased out, starting with the lowest earners, and this year it will only be paid by one group - second-home owners.

If you get a bill for a property that is your main residence it's likely that the tax office holds incorrect details for you - you can check that everything is listed correctly on your property tax declaration and if there is a mistake you should contact your local tax office.

Taxe d'habitation bills are based on the situation for the property on January 1st, so if you have sold since then - or converted a second home into a main residence - you will still get a bill. 

The bills for this started to arrive on November 7th. 

Like taxe foncière, the rate is based on the value of your home so - as above - if you have done works including adding an extension this will affect your tax bill.

Local authorities in areas with a housing shortage are also allowed to add a surcharge of up to 60 percent on the standard taxe d'habitation bill - you can find a list of officially classified zone tondue (areas with a housing shortage) here.

If none of these things apply to you, then you can challenge the bill and the procedure is the same as outlined above for taxe foncière. As with taxe foncière, you cannot challenge the local authority's rate, only the rentable value of your property that the tax bill is based on. 

How much are the average bills?

Both taxes are worked out according to a complicated formula that takes into account both the rentable value of your property and the rate set by the your local commune, so bills do vary a lot.

However, according to the finance specialists Moneyvox, in 2022 the average annual tax foncière bill was €895 (or €74 a month if you opt to pay monthly). The département with the highest average annual property tax bill was Essonne at €1,351 and the lowest average bills were found in Indre at €565.

When it comes to taxe d'habitation, the annual average bill in 2022 was €772. 



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