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Is It Necessary to Pay Council Tax on Empty Accommodation?

You have a home in Paris or in another French city and you want to know if you have to pay council tax if your home is not occupied. You should know that this is a recurring question and the law remains particularly intransigent on the subject. However, it is always a good idea to be aware of your tax obligations to avoid being in breach of the law.

It's essential to be informed to comply with the law
If you own a home in Paris or any other French city, you may wonder about council tax obligations, especially if the property is unoccupied.

Is there a council tax for empty accommodation?

You may have decided to take the plunge into rental management and now you want to find out whether or not you have to pay council tax when your property is empty.

First of all, before going into the details of council tax for an empty property, it is important to know how it is calculated. Normally, the tax is paid by the occupant of the dwelling if he or she is present on 1 January of the year in question. This is the only date to be taken into consideration.

To take a concrete example, if a tenant decides to leave on 5 January, he was indeed present in the dwelling on 1 January. Since it is the state of the dwelling on 1 January that will be taken into consideration, the tenant will then be liable for the taxe d'habitation. Even if the dwelling remains vacant in Paris for the rest of the year, this does not count for the calculation of the tax.

However, this can also be the case for an owner who has sold his property during the year. Let us assume that the sale took place on 15 March, the person was still the owner on 1 January. Consequently, the council tax will be paid by the seller, although there is always a possibility of asking the notary to include the payment of the council tax in proportion to the number of days occupied.

On the basis of this, there is no such thing as council tax on an empty dwelling as at 1 January. Therefore, neither the former owner nor the new tenant or landlord will have to pay property tax.

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Is there a council tax on vacant accommodation considered to be a secondary residence?

If you have empty accommodation in Paris, it is considered to be a second home. In this case, the situation described above does not apply. It only concerned primary residences or residences corresponding to real estate investments.

Learn about the exemptions for unoccupied second homes in the city
If you have empty accommodation in Paris that qualifies as a second home, different rules apply regarding council tax.

Therefore, if you own a furnished second home, you will be obliged to pay council tax, even if you have not physically occupied it on 1 January.

If you only occupy your second home for a short period of time throughout the year, you might consider renting it out on a short-term basis with Airbnb. In this way, an empty property and the council tax on a furnished property will quickly pay for itself, especially if you live in a tourist area.

How to report a vacant property?

If you have a property that is not considered a second home, it is important to inform the tax authorities that it remains unoccupied on 1 January. The notification must be made by the owner and of course the procedure must be carried out as soon as possible. If the tax authorities have not been notified of this change in situation, they will systematically send a tax notice. However, if this is not justified, it is important to state this by making a request to the taxpayer's tax office.

To avoid any misunderstandings, do not hesitate to send this request with acknowledgement of receipt. But be aware that a simple written statement will not necessarily be considered sufficient. It is preferable to bring useful supporting documents, which will once again avoid wasting time by making numerous return trips to the tax office.

Among the supporting documents, you could perfectly well provide an inventory of fixtures at the end of the lease. This is a mandatory document that has been drawn up in the presence of the landlord and the tenant. To avoid any misunderstandings, do not hesitate to have the vacancy of your accommodation recorded by a bailiff. In addition, attach to your letter an electricity or gas bill proving very low consumption, or in some cases, none at all.

Other supporting evidence taken into consideration by the tax authorities includes a property advertisement corresponding to a rental or an invoice issued directly by a removal company.

But in any case, vacancy is a real scourge for any investor. You would certainly prefer to benefit from a guaranteed rent, but to achieve this result it is advisable to work with a recognised agency.

UpperKey is undoubtedly the simplest real estate solution to avoid the slightest administrative or fiscal hassle. As long as you own a property in Paris or another region, the agency provides you with a complete management service. You will certainly be quickly seduced by the guaranteed rental income with a level of assistance that will obviously be up to your expectations. Not only will you reap the financial benefits of this rental management, but you will also save a lot of time on a daily basis.

You will forget all the worries you may have about rental management.

What is the Vacancy Tax?

A 2020 vacancy tax is something to consider. It is perfectly plausible that your property will not be occupied by you or one of your tenants on 1 January. On your side, you have taken the necessary steps by notifying the tax authorities. You will therefore no longer be subject to council tax.

However, this does not mean that there is no specific tax to pay, as the dwelling may be subject to one of the following taxes:

  • Firstly, the tax on vacant accommodation or THLV.

  • Secondly, the tax on vacant accommodation or TLV.

  • How do I know if I am liable to pay the tax on vacant accommodation?

To know if you have to pay this tax on vacant accommodation in Paris or in another city, you must be the owner of the accommodation. In addition, the property must have been vacant for at least one year on the anniversary of the tax payment date, i.e. January 1st. The second constraint is that the dwelling must be located in a tense real estate zone. This is a list of agglomerations defined by decree 2013-392.

Representing vacancy tax in Paris and tense real estate zones
Learn the criteria and conditions to determine if you are subject to this tax in a tense real estate zone.

It is then possible to benefit from an exemption from the tax on your vacant flat or your house, as soon as you are actively looking for a tenant, if the accommodation has been lived in for at least 90 consecutive days during the year or if the accommodation is currently not habitable.

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When do you have to pay Council Tax?

Whether you are concerned with the tax on a vacant second home or on your main residence, the payment date is always the same. Council tax must be paid on 15 November of the year in question. For the payment of the TLV or THLV, it is imperative that you pay the amount claimed before 17 December of the year in question.

As long as you are vigilant about these various measures, you will be in full compliance with the legislation. But if in doubt, do not hesitate to seek the assistance of a property expert


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