News Digest: New Tax Declaration for French Homeowners & Our French Property Exhibition
Find out about the new tax declaration that second-home owners need to fill in, which prices are going up in February, plus the latest from this weekend’s French Property Exhibition. Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Thanks for joining us at the French Property Exhibition!
France Media Group’s French Property Exhibition took place in London over the weekend (Jan 28th and 29th), and thousands of you showed up to browse the French properties on display, attend expert-led seminars, and take the first step towards making your French property dreams come true.
It was a great pleasure to be able to meet so many of you, help guide you on your journey, and hear all about your property plans. A special thanks to all of you who attended my seminar on “Where to start buying and moving to France”, and for all of you that signed up for our newsletter at the exhibition – welcome!
I also got chance to chat with many of our exhibitors during the event, and we’ll be sharing all their top tips and recommendations over the coming weeks, so don’t worry if you missed out on the big event!
2. New French tax declarations required by second-home owners
All French property owners will need to fill in an extra tax declaration form this year – even if you don’t normally file a tax return in France. First, don’t worry; this additional form doesn’t mean you need to pay an additional tax – instead, all property owners must submit a Déclaration d’occupation, stating whether or not their property is their primary residence or a secondary residence/holiday home, and therefore is still subject to the Taxe d’habitation.
You can find the form online by signing into your tax account here and clicking “Biens immobiliers” from the menu. Select the relevant property from the list (remember, you will need to do this for every property, regardless of whether it’s a primary or secondary residence, or rented out full-time) and complete the form online. If you don’t already have a French tax account, find out how to set one up here. And if you need a helping hand, look out for our step-by-step how to guide in the coming months, where we’ll take you through the process.
If you don’t currently file a tax return in France, you must still complete this form; however, it doesn’t mean that you will need to fill in a French tax return.
3. Second day of France’s pension strikes
Some 1.1 million people took to the streets on January 19th for the first of a series of proposed strikes in protest of France’s proposed pension reforms – the biggest since 2010 (which, incidentally, were also over pension reforms). Today, January 31st, marks the second mass strike, and similar crowds are expected across the county, with an estimated 240 local marches planned.
All eight of France’s trade union federations will be supporting the bill, and TGV and local transport lines are likely to be heavily disrupted or suspended in major cities such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, and Nantes. International trains, including Eurostar trains to the UK, will also be affected. If you’re planning to travel today, make sure to double-check your train times and expect delays.
As for other international transport, Air France has announced that 1 in 10 flights will be cancelled, but long-haul flights will not be affected. Passenger ferry ports do not seem to be joining the strikes either, although delays at commercial ports could have a knock-on effect and cause longer queues than normal. Schools, childcare, and public buildings (such as mairies) in France will be affected, and if you’re holidaying in France’s mountain regions, you might also be affected by ski lift closures.
Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform bill includes the highly unpopular move to raise the minimum pension age to 64 and is set to be debated by the Assemblée Nationale from Feb 6th. Not sure what all the fuss is about? Read our guide to the French pension system here.
4. Price hikes for French homeowners
As we moved into 2023, we put together our list of 23 things that are changing in France this year, and there are a few that come into action from Wednesday, February 1st. First up, some bad news for homeowners as the governments capped tariffs (put in place in 2022 to protect homeowners against inflation-related price rises) are being increased – electricity bills are expected to rise by a maximum of 15%. Gas bills already saw increases as of January 1st.
Wednesday also marks the date that motorways tolls across France will increase, with an average price bump of 4.75%. There is a little bit of good news to balance it out, though. February 1st also sees interest rates on the popular Livret A savings scheme increasing to 3%.
5. Pancake day!
Finally, it’s pancake day, otherwise known as La Chandeleur in France, this Thursday, February 2nd, and what better excuse for indulging in some delicious French crêpes? You’ll find cafés, restaurants, markets, and supermarkets serving them all over France. To celebrate, here are 7 Need-to-Know Facts About La Chandeleur (France’s Pancake Day).
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