In 2023, all French property owners must fill in a new tax declaration form – the Declaration d’Occupation – detailing the occupancy status of their properties. Here, we take you through the process step by step and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is the Declaration d’Occupation, France’s new property tax form?
The Declaration d’Occupation is a new French tax declaration that must be filled in by all property owners in 2023, declaring the occupancy status of their property/properties. It’s a one-off declaration that is mandatory for all property owners in France, including second-home owners and non-residents who are not typically required to submit a French tax return.
So, why is this new declaration being asked for now? Being as 2023 marks the first year that the Taxe d’Habitation has been abolished on all primary residences, the French tax authorities have now made it mandatory for all homeowners to declare the occupancy status of their properties in order to determine who is and isn’t eligible for the tax. The Taxe d’Habitation will continue to be applied to second homes and vacant properties, and this new form will ensure that such properties are correctly taxed.
This new form is included in article 1418 of the general tax code and must be filled in by all property owners for each premise, including car parks, cellars, outbuildings, etc.
Who needs to fill in the Declaration d’Occupation?
This new property tax form applies to all French homeowners, including second-home owners, landlords, and property investors. If you own any kind of property in France, regardless of whether you live in the property, use it as a second home, or rent it out, or whether or not you pay taxes in France – you must fill in this form. You must fill it out regardless of whether you are liable to pay Taxe d’Habitation in 2023 or not.
Property owners in France should have received an email or other correspondence this week stating the legal obligation to fill in this new property tax declaration. These emails are sent out automatically, so if you have already filled in the form, don’t worry! Conversely, if you are a French property owner but haven’t received this email, please do still go ahead and make the declaration or contact your local tax office if unsure.
Note that filling in this form does not necessarily mean that you will need to pay income tax in France or file a French tax return.
Who doesn’t need to fill in the form? The only exceptions are owners of commercial properties and businesses, such as shops or full-time gites/holiday home businesses – i.e. properties which are not liable for the Taxe d’Habitation as they are registered as businesses.
This exception doesn’t apply if your property is a second home or holiday home that is occasionally rented out as a gite or Airbnb and is not a registered business. If in doubt, it’s best to check with your local tax office.
What do I need to do?
Homeowners need to fill out the Declaration d’Occupation form found on the impots.gouv.fr website and declare who is living in the property on January 1, 2023. You will need to fill out a separate form for each property you own and must submit this by June 30, 2023.
Filling in the Declaration d’Occupation, France’s new property tax form
Now that we’ve established who needs to fill in the form, the next question is how. The form can be found online (as far as we know, there is no paper option available, so if you cannot access your online space, we suggest visiting your local tax office) in your ‘espace particulier’ (personal space) on the impots.gouv.fr website, under the ‘mes bien immobiliers’ (my real estate) sub-menu.
First of all, you will need to login to your account and access the form.
If you already have a French tax number and online account:
If you already live in France or have a French tax account, this is quite simple. Simply login to your ‘espace particulier’ (personal space) on the impots.gouv.fr website, locate the ‘mes bien immobiliers’ (my real estate) page and click ‘accéder’.
Here, you should see your properties listed. As in the example screenshot, you may find multiple ‘biens’ listed, either for different properties that you own or for additional structures such as a swimming pool, garage, cellar, or parking space (in this case, the two additional examples are a barn and a swimming pool). Note that recently purchased properties may not show yet – in which case, you should wait until they do appear to fill in the form. Equally, if you have recently set up your account, it may take a few days for your properties to appear.
Good news – you can also click on the Union Jack flag in the top right to access the service in English!
Click on ‘consulter’ to see the information that is already listed for each property, the ‘Descriptif de bien’. Here, you should be able to see details of the property, including the surface area in m2, the number of rooms, and the fiscal category (the number between 8 and 1 given to buildings in France, with 1 being the most sumptuous of dwellings and 8 being a dilapidated property in disrepair – a typical family home would probably rank around a 6).
*Note: If there are any mistakes, now is a good time to get this corrected. You can either get in touch with your local tax office or send them a message via your espace particulier – select ‘J’ai une question sur le descriptive de mon bien immobilier’ as the reason and detail the changes that need to be made.
Once you have verified the information, you can click on the ‘declaration d’occupation’ to begin the declaration. Here, if the information listed is correct, you can simply click on ‘Aucun changement’ (no change), or if you wish to update the information, click on ‘nouvelle situation’. You will then need to give the name/SIREN/marital status of the occupants of the building and the period of occupation. You can opt to declare the property as a principal residence, a second home, a rental property, or a vacant property (note that this means that the property is unfurnished and unavailable to use, not just that it is currently unoccupied).
If you don’t have a French tax account:
If you’re a non-resident and second-home owner, you may not already have an online tax account, in which case you will need to set one up before making the tax declaration. You can do this by entering your French tax number or ‘numéro fiscal’ and following the instructions to set up your account. If you have previously received French tax notices, such as the Taxe Foncière property tax, you will find this number on the top of the bill.
If you do not yet have a French tax number or ‘numéro fiscal’, you will first need to apply for a tax number in order to create your account. You can find out the details of doing this here or head straight to this page to fill out the form online. You will need to provide:
- Your name, date and place of birth.
- Your email address
- Details of your marital status
- Your overseas residence/postal address
Enter all the information, then click ‘continue’. To finalise your request, click on the email address shown, attach a copy of your passport or ID card, and send this off.
*Note that if you are filling out a French income tax or wealth tax return for the first time, this can’t be done online – you must submit a paper form instead (read more about that here). However, for property owners who only need to submit the Declaration d’Occupation, this can be done online.
Declaration d’Occupation: FAQs About France’s New Property Tax Form
When do you need to submit the tax declaration?
You have until June 30, 2023, to make your Declaration d’Occupation.
Do I need to fill in this form if I’m not resident in France or don’t pay taxes in France?
Yes, all French homeowners must fill in the form. This includes second-home owners, overseas residents, and landlords of French rental properties. You must fill in the declaration even if you are not tax resident in France and do not currently file a tax return or pay income tax in France.
Will l need to file this declaration every year?
No. The French government has stated that this will be a one-off form to be completed in 2023. You will not be required to submit the form again unless your situation changes; for example, you decide to move into your second home and make it your permanent residence or vice versa.
What is the penalty for not filling in the Declaration d’Occupation?
There is a fixed fine of €150 for anyone who fails to file the Declaration d’Occupation tax form or provides an incomplete or incorrect declaration. This amount is per property.
Does this mean I have to pay extra taxes?
The purpose of the Declaration d’Occupation is to ensure that French homeowners still subject to the Taxe d’Habitation (i.e. second-home owners and owners of vacant properties) are correctly entered in the system and to avoid incorrect Taxe d’Habitation charges to those who use their French properties as their primary residence. Filling in this tax declaration does not mean that you will be liable for French income tax or wealth tax unless you are already. However, the information may, of course, be cross-referenced to ensure that anyone liable to pay these taxes is correctly doing so.
What should I do if I need help filling in the form?
If you need help, you can call the free helpline on 0 809 401 401 from 8.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday – although bear in mind that this is likely to be available in French only. Alternatively, you can visit your local tax office (find your nearest one here) or send them a message via your espace particulier – select ‘J’ai une question sur le descriptive de mon bien immobilier’ as the reason.
Paying Your Taxes in France
Whether you are moving to France, own French property, or have business interests, assets, or investments in France—FrenchEntrée is here to help with all your tax questions. Our Essential Reading articles are designed to give you an overview of the basics, from income tax and social charges to wealth tax and property taxes. However, tax laws and rates are always subject to change, and international tax liabilities can be especially complicated, so if in doubt, we always advise discussing your personal situation with one of our recommended financial or tax advisors.
Disclaimer: This guide is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice regarding any aspect of your tax planning or tax liabilities in France. FrenchEntrée cannot be held responsible for the consequences of decisions or actions you may choose to take in connection with French tax declarations or tax liabilities.
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