French tax declarations opened last week (April 13th) for the 2023 season, and taxpayers have until the end of May or early June (depending on the French department where you live or pay taxes) to declare their income from 2022. But what happens if you’re a second-home owner in France? Here’s who does and doesn’t need to file a tax return in France.
Do second-home owners need to file a French tax return?
First things first: owning a French property does not in itself mean that you need to file a tax return in France. As a property owner, you will, of course, be liable to pay France’s two property taxes – the Taxe Foncière, which is paid by all homeowners, and the Taxe d’Habitation, which, as of 2023, is paid only on second homes that are used as holiday homes or kept vacant (i.e., not rented out full-time). However, these property taxes are completely separate from French income tax and are billed and paid at a later date in the year ( see our 2023 Tax Calendar for more).
So, who does need to file a French tax return?
There are two scenarios in which you must file a French tax return:
1. You are resident in France
If you live in France full-time or are classed as tax resident in France (for more on that, see our guide Understanding French Tax- Are You Tax Resident in France?), then you must by law file an annual French tax return, regardless of whether you have income to declare or whether you are liable to pay any taxes. See our guide Understanding French Income Tax: What You Need to Know.
2. You are a non-resident but receive income in France
If you are not resident in France, you only need to file a French tax return if you earn an income in France. Therefore, assuming that you are a second-home owner who lives in the UK, US, or another country outside of France, you won’t need to file a French tax return unless you receive income from that property or from other investments, businesses, or income sources in France (more on this below).
Bonus scenario: You own French real estate valued over €1.3 million
It’s worth noting here that some French property owners may be liable for France’s “Wealth Tax” or Impôt sur la Fortune Immobilière. If you are not resident in France, but own French property valued at more than €1.3 million (lucky you!), you will need to file Déclaration de l’Impôt sur la Fortune Immobilière. This is a different form to the regular French tax return, but is filed at the same time of year – see our guide Understanding French Wealth Tax: Are You Liable? for more.
Second-home owners that DON’T need to file a tax return
If you are a French second-home owner living in the UK, US, or any other country outside of France and you don’t receive any French income, then you don’t need to file a French tax return, and you can stop reading now!
For everyone else, let’s take a closer look at what you need to declare and how…
Second-home owners that DO need to file a tax return
As previously established, if you’re a second-home owner who receives French income, you will need to file a tax return in France, even as a non-resident. This is your legal responsibility, so don’t expect to be sent a tax return as with property taxes – you must be proactive about setting up your tax account and filing your first tax return.
What kind of French income do I need to declare on a tax return?
French income tax returns concern income earnt in France (the clue is in the name!), and this means any and all kinds of income, including:
- Rental income from your French property
- Rental income from a gite, holiday rentals, or an Airbnb
- Income from any job/part-time work that you undertake in France
- Income from a France-based business
- Income from a French pension
- Income or interest earnt on French investments
- Any other form of income received in France
If you do earn any form of income in France, then you must, by law, file an annual tax declaration in France.
Do I still need to file a tax return if my home country has a double-tax treaty with France?
It’s worth mentioning that filing a French tax return does not necessarily mean that you will be subject to taxes on that income or that you will need to pay additional or double taxes if you are also declaring that income in your country of residence.
Many countries, including the US, Australia, the UK, and all EU countries, have double-tax treaties in place with France, meaning that you won’t pay the same taxes twice in both countries. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to file a tax return – if you have income from both countries, you will very likely need to file tax returns in both countries. You will receive a tax credit for any taxes already paid in the other country, ensuring that you don’t pay the same taxes twice.
A note for business owners
If you own an overseas business and conduct business in France or with/for French clients, it’s a good idea to seek professional tax advice to ensure you are meeting the tax requirements of both countries, and to confirm whether or not you are required to file a tax return in France.
Second-home owners: how to file a tax return in France
If you do need to file a tax return in France, it is your responsibility to download the correct documents and file your declaration within the deadline for non-resident returns. You can read more about this here or find out how to get a French numéro fiscal here.
Note that while residents of France must declare all of their worldwide income in France, non-residents are only required to declare French income on their French tax return.
2023 Déclaration d’occupation for property owners
Finally, don’t forget that all French property owners must file the new déclaration d’occupation in 2023. Read our guide France’s New 2023 Tax Declaration d’Occupation for French Homeowners: Step by Step
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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