I thought I'd best issue a note of warning to owners of gites and holiday rentals in France today, pointing out a little bureaucratic requirement that might have passed you by - and will perhaps end up costing you money if you do nothing.
I have no idea how many people know about the rule, but better to be sure...
A quiet little law passed in France at the end of last year said "Selon l'article L. 324-1-1 et D. 324-1-1 du code du tourisme, toute personne qui offre à la location un meublé de tourisme doit en avoir préalablement fait la déclaration auprès du maire de la commune où est situé le meublé."
Translated this means 'according to [article...] of the tourism code, anyone offering furnished accommodation to tourists must make a declaration to the maire in the commune where the property is situated.
Why? Who knows! Presumably so that 500 tourist officers and tax inspectors can keep their Kafkaesque jobs typing our details into computers, filling out forms, and calculating which communes have the most holiday rental properties.
There are currently tax breaks that are enjoyed by gites and holiday rentals (eg deductible costs of 70% rather than 50% and a much higher income allowance c.70k euros instead of 32k euros) and it seems possible these will only be available in the future if you have filled in the forms, given them to your mairie and kept the signed receipt they will give you in return. So ignore it at your peril!
I might have expected our maire to know about this and to let us know. We have been paying Taxe de Sejour for years and they know very well that we have gites (Taxe de Sejour is a ludicrous tax imposed on us because we allow paying outsiders to stay at our property). In factthe mairie hasn't told us, we found out informally ourselves, which is why I'm mentioning it here in case other maires have also kept it to themselves.
If you know anyone with holiday rentals in France please let them know!
Note: if this applies to you you can get the form, called 'Déclaration en mairie de location d'un meublé de tourisme: Formulaire Cerfa n°14004*01' from vosdroits.service-public.fr/R14321.xhtml and download / print out the form, which also has a second page for the maire to sign and stamp and give back to you.
fly in the web March 24, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Perish the thought that news on legislation should seep down to the mairie…
I think it’s something to do with Capital gains tax, myself…use of the property or part of it for commercial purposes.
Boris March 24, 2010 at 4:11 pm
That’s interesting you say that, because originally I wrote a whole paragraph in the post speculating whether there was a connection with capital gains tax and business use before deciding I was being paranoid and deleting it…I guess perhaps I wasn’t!
fly in the web March 24, 2010 at 10:39 pm
We might be paranoid, but we have good reason….
Johnny Norfolk March 25, 2010 at 9:11 am
Try living in England again, its just as bad withh silly laws passed all the time.
Chris March 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm
I filled in the form and took it to the mairie this week. They did not have a clue of what it was. I had filled it in with Acrobat Reader so it was typed (apart from signature, of course), hence I was asked if I had received the form prefilled! They showed me their files with our gîte already appropriately registered. After a short discussion they finally ceded and signed & stamped the second page for me. Let’s see if anyone will ever ask for that paper.
Auvergnat May 13, 2010 at 8:47 am
I am wrestling with this too. The small print in the rules seems to say that you don’t just have to register, you have to get classified first by a recognised body (I can provide chapter and verse if anyone is interested). I’d be VERY interested if anyone has filed the form 14004 but hasn’t got an official classification. Maybe the Mairie doesn’t know (or care?) about this. I will try asking the Maire’s secretary tomorrow…..
Boris May 13, 2010 at 10:03 am
I’ll be interested to hear what they say. I have heard that in certain circumstances it is also necessary to get classified by gites de france or by the prefecture – but i don’t know what those circumstances are. Look forward to any advice if you learn something interesting.
Jacqui U May 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm
We have had a rental apartment in a nearby spa town for a few years and in that town you are not allowed to rent anything out unless it is inspected and certified to a minimum required standard and given an official star rating. And they keep a good check!
However, the main ‘clients’ are curistes who in turn claim back their costs from the health service – so they require official invoices detailing your business ref number etc. It is therefore impossible to get curiste clients if you are not ‘official’.
We too received the documentation you are talking about from the Mairie even though they know all about us already because we are registered….
When we turned up with our forms, we found it was not the Mairie itself but the police who were co-ordinating and ‘stamping’ our forms. We understand that it is a measure for each commune to have an idea of the number of ‘visitors’ who might be in their area at any one time – an anti terrorism type of thing (there was something similar here during the war we understand).
Our area is close enough to Spain to be a potential basque hide-out.
Similarly, if we have non-locals staying in our home for a few weeks say, we have to tell the local gendarmes.
Debbie May 19, 2010 at 9:18 am
I have been reading a Dutch forum and there is apparently a catch in this new Declaration form: BEWARE: If your house/gite/rental has a capacity of more than 15 persons you may be obliged to meet the requirements of the ERP ( Etablissement Public du Recevant), the same health and safety requirements imposed on the hotel industry. Which would be a nightmare. I hope I have misunderstood and wold love someone to prove me wrong.
Debbie May 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm
Phew, I have had a read through the law on the legifrance.gouv website and the only reference I found relating to the “Max 15 persons” was under the Chambre d’Hotes section. I will however, take my form to the Mairie and hope for the best (we have one house that can take up to 20 people). So i’ll let you know but I can’t imagine anything will happen for at least six months.
In answer to Boris. It does seem that we will all have to have a check and a classification, eventually. I have copied and pasted the following from the legifrance.gouv website “L’Etat détermine et met en oeuvre les procédures de classement des meublés de tourisme selon des modalités fixées par décret.” Further reading leads me to understand that this might be optional as it has been in the past but I think the submission of a declaration to Mairie might lead to an onslaught by various organisations implying that you are ‘obliged’ to have your gite(s) rated. As I understand it the “met en oeuvre les procédures” (start procedures) phrase used above doesn’t oblige anyone at this point in time.
Of course, they would love to force us into a “classement” situation because those of us paying “Tax de Sejour” would have to pay an awful lot more per person per night.
Boris May 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm
Thanks very much for sharing your research Debbie, that’s very interesting. We have also had no feedback since submitting our form to the mairie but as you say we have probably opened the floodgates for the future. I’m glad we don’t have to clean a ‘sleeps 20′ property on changeover day!
Debbie June 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm
Did we all get caught out or am I the only one? When I filled in my tax return for the year 2009 last April it seemed to have changed slightly. Unperturbed, I continued as I have for the last 20 years. Entering my turnover and making the necessary calculation for my 70% deductible costs. Later, whilst having lunch with my very well informed French friend she told me that I no longer qualified for the 70% but only for 50% because I wasn’t registered (labellisé). This prompted a long telephone conversation with the Tax office today and it transpires that unless I had filled in the famous “declaration en mairie de location d’un meublé de tourisme” in the spring of 2008 (!!) I am not considered as a “Meublé de tourisme” and therefore do not qualify for the 70% deducation but only 50%. It seems ridiculous to me because if i’m not a Meublé de Tourisme then why am I paying Tax de Sejour. Anyway. I have been caught out for the 2009 and will have to pay a lot more tax and social charges but I’m getting sorted for 2010 and have written to the Prefecture to find out how to get a classification without having to go to Gites de France. So, it isn’t obliged to have a “Classement” but it’ll cost you if you’re not. I’ll keep you posted.
Boris June 16, 2010 at 3:47 pm
Debbie, this might be more complicated than it seems – our accountant thinks that registering with the maire (which we have done) is not the some as registering with the prefecture (or gites de France as an alternative) – which we have not done. In future years to get the 71% deductible apparently you need the prefecture / gdf registration. After much consultation between our accountant and the tax office they have agreed we can get 71% this year because the rules didn’t go through in time – but I don’t know if that is just Lot et Garonne or everyone!
Also to bear in mind – the inspection by the prefecture costs money, can’t remember how much but about 140 euros I think. and some communes charge more taxe de sejour if your property is higher rated – hence you might prefer to be unclassified or very low rated, it’s possible it will work out better. It all depends a lot on your tax position as well, most people in France pay social contributions but much fewer people pay tax; and of course it depends on your income.
But the upshot as I understand it, after taking account of all the above, is that most people will be (a bit) better off paying for a prefecture inspection in order to keep the 71% deductions, unless income is very low or their taxe de sejour is based on property classifications.
My own argument, that since I had registered with the mairie they must have (or at least should have) told the prefecture, seemd to fall on deaf ears with both the accountant and the tax office saying the two were nothing to do with each other!
Debbie June 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm
Yes, I fear you are right.
I have been searching for a clear answer all week. But it keeps coming back to this “If one is ‘labelled’ with either Gites de France or the Prefecture then you qualify for the old regime in which you could earn up to 80,000 and are entitled to a 71% deduction for costs. If you are not ‘labelled’ then you’re in the ‘merde’. We, like many others, including a lot of French people, have had no warning that these new measures were being implemented and could not have changed our tax regimes in time to compensate which seems outrageous. I filled in my forms for the Mairie last May and on the top of the receipt it says “Recipisse pour la declaration d’un MEUBLE DE TOURISME” In the ‘Notice’ that I received with my tax form on the bottom of page 12 it clearly states that persons with a Gite rural, chambre d’hote or MEUBLE DE TOURISME still qualify for the 71%. Nowhere in the Notice that I got with the tax form does it say anything about being ‘labelled’. I’m sticking to that argument and have filled in my tax return the same as I have every year. I’m just going to have to suck it and see. I have written to the prefecture to get a classification which I do not want because, as you pointed out, I will end up paying a lot more Tax de Sejour but I thought I’d better start proceedings because we might get away with it for one year, but two ! I doubt it.
I have spent today cleaning my gites, sorry, Meublés de Tourisme and singing the Kinks “The tax man’s taken all my dough and left me in this stately home, lazing on a Sunny afternoon” in an attempt to shrug it all off, at least for the weekend
Debbie June 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm
Hello, I hope this might be helpful for those in the same situation as me:
My ‘Meublées de Tourisme’ earn under 80,000. I used to be eligible for a 71% deduction for costs and will be again for my earnings in 2010 but not for 2009. For 2009 we have been duped and will only be eligible for 50% This is unfair and would be worth appealing against.
Labellisation or Classement ?
-Labellisation would mean that you are a member of GdF or CleVacances and have been awarded a ‘star’ rating after their visit (resulting in extra costs for Tax de Sejour, none of us want that).
-Classement means that you have had a visit and passed certain requirements but have not requested or been awarded a ‘star’ rating.
The prefecture is represented by the local tourist office and the CDT (committee departmental de tourisme).
Either one of these choices result in your being able to claim the 70% deduction for costs again on your 2010 income.
The Procedure if you only want a Classement with the prefecture.
Go to your local Tourist office and request a ‘Demande D’Agrement Cle Vacances’ (NB on the ‘Demand….’ I noticed that it appears to be a request for ‘labelisation’, when I pointed this out the man in the tourist office told me to put a line through it and put ‘classement’ instead) This form should be filled out and returned with a cheque for 50 euros, the remaining 90 euros is due at the end of the visit. This 140 euros is a fixed amount regardless of how many Meublées you have. You should then receive a letter from them telling you when the representatives from the Tourist Office and CDT (committee departmental de tourisme) will come and visit the property. Apparently they do not do visits in July and August and will begin again in the Autumn.
I have an email confirming this (see below) with some helpful PDF files. If you would like me to forward the PDF’s please contact me.
Comme convenu à l’instant par téléphone, je vous adresse quelques éléments d’informations sur le classement préfectoral et sur le label Clévacances.
A partir de 2010, un classement préfectoral est le minimum exigé par l’administration fiscale pour pouvoir continuer à bénéficier d’un abattement de 71% sur les produits locatifs.
Vous trouverez notamment ci-joint un document comparant les avantages liés au classement préfectoral et au label Clévacances.
Nous vous invitons à prendre contact avec l’OT de Dinan pour demander une visite de classement de votre hébergement pour l’automne prochain.
Restant à votre disposition pour tout complément d’information.
7 rue Saint-Benoît | BP 4620 | 22046 Saint-Brieuc Cedex 2
Tél : 02 96 62 72 01 | Fax : 02 96 33 59 10
Bon Classement a tous. Debbie.
Debbie June 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm
P.S. This is also helpful to have a look at.
Andi July 4, 2010 at 6:20 pm
I have just found this thread and you all sound so experienced and I wondered if someone can point me in the right direction!
I am just finishing work on the lower part of my house which I intend to let as a self catering holiday rental by the week? Who do I have to register this with in order to gain the 71% deduction, the marie or the prefecture? I don’t need a star rating or want to be registered with Gites De France.
What is the taxe de sejour and how is it calculated?
Thanks in anticipation
Boris July 5, 2010 at 5:08 am
It is my understanding that to get the 71% deduction in future years (and for some regions perhaps this year) you will need to have a certifcate of inspection from either gites de france or the prefecture. The certificate from the mairie won’t count for this purpose.
The taxe de sejour is a tax imposed by the local commune according to how many people stay in your place – for example we have to pay 0.3 euros for each person (young children excluded) per night they stay. So a group of 4 people staying a week, we pay about 10 euros (7*4*0.3). Not all communes charge the taxe de sejour at all, and the amount charges varies quite a lot according to commune. You need to tell the mairie you are starting business and they will send you a form each year to fill in occupancy levels. They should also be able to sort out the requirement to ‘register your gites with the mairie’ – although many mairies seem to know nothing about this new legal requirement!
ps I wrote more about this tax – see Taxe de Sejour.
Karen (OurFrenchGarden) August 26, 2010 at 12:33 pm
Hi, just found your blog after googling ‘gites and prefecture’ we have gites and have just been caught out with the 50% abattement, we registered with the Marie as requested but didn’t have a clue about registering with the prefecture, I do despair about the lack of information in this country!!
On a separate note have you or any of your followers registered your gites with the chamber of commerce? We are thinking about doing this but I understand this will expose us to Social Charges but our Taxe Foncieres will be reduced, is this true and if so, does anyone have an idea of the % we will have to pay in social charges?
Any help will be gratefully received
Boris August 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm
We were lucky enough to get away with 71% this year but won’t next year unless we have a prefecture inspection.
We aren’t registered with the chamber of commerce ourselves so I don’t know if that helps with taxe fonciere – we pay social charges, but only the 12.1% CSG/CRDS. Don’t think they can be avoided even though they contribute nothing to our pensions etc
laurence August 28, 2010 at 9:22 am |
I do believe there has always been a regulation limiting the ‘capacité d’accueil ‘ / number of people that can be accommodated to a maximum of 15 before more stringent safety rules apply, particularly concerning fire exits etc. Under 15 the properties are considered to be non-professional, above 16 they fall into the realms of hotel. That is certainly the case of a gite establishment in this village which opened 7 years ago, and which had to restrict itself to 3 apartments 5 people per unit.
laurence September 1, 2010 at 10:19 am
Sometimes some figures seem too silly to be true Reading into the detail of creating a micro-bic ( self employed ) gite business, as mentioned in many contributions in this blog, the government appears to acknowledge that 71% of gross receipts goes to cover expenses such as electricity, water, insurance . Our research bears that out. The remaining 29% is deemed to be income , or let’s say wages , and income tax is levied on that. The legislative text mentions that social security contributions are calculated at 45% of the 29%. Unless there is a major misinterpretation on my part, social security is therefore charged at almost half of salary ? No-one in salaried employment would pay anything like that. Can anyone enlighten me ?
Boris September 1, 2010 at 11:39 am
I wouldn’t underestimate how much social contributions people pay in France (although many people also pay no income tax) but…the social contributions on rental income are calculated as 12.1% (CSG/CRDS) of net income (ie not treated as salary), and 12% of 71% isn’t so bad. Or at last that’s what we pay and have for many years so I hope it’s right, I’m pretty sure it’s the same for others as well!
Shelley September 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm
Does anyone know how I actually pay the tax de sejour? We have a small house which we rent out to couples only. We registered with the town hall and received our tax de sejour paperwork which included details of how we calculate it but not how we pay it! Should I just calculate it and send a cheque back to the same address? Is this done once a year or should the payments be made monthly or per quarter? Any help greatly appreciated…
Boris September 2, 2010 at 1:14 pm
We give a cheque to our mairie for our taxe de sejour, payable to Tresor Public, at the end of the year when we can do final calculations for the whole year. It’s possible other departments demand the payment more often but i think once year after the season has finished is most common.
laurence September 7, 2010 at 10:28 am
The more information I accumulate the more confused I become. If the social contributions are only CSG & CRDS , and if none of that goes towards pension , does any of it go towards health insurance ? Or will I find myself working simply to pay off France’s long term debts ?
Boris September 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm
I’m afraid you are only paying off France’s long term debts, as far as I am aware CSG and CRDS don’t count for any ‘normal’ benefit.
Sue September 8, 2010 at 11:31 am
I have only just found this page. We are resident in the UK but have a holiday home which is let through agents in France. We too got clobbered this year knowing nothing about the changes in the micro-bic. We wrote to the taxman asking why we had been demoted to the 50% regime and got a reply listing the exemptions and asking us for proof of our status. We too have been paying taxe de sejour calculated by on a hypothetical lettings basis and then with a reduction. In fact the house is actually let for 9-10 weeks at the most.
I am perplexed that the form you mention for the mairie should have been submitted by 30 June but the application for classification was drawn up in August 2010.
Has anyone any idea if we, as UK residents, can revert to the 71% regime? Is it worth disturbing the tax office and risking further investigations?
Boris September 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm
As far as I am aware (which isn’t quite the same as 100% certain, if there is possibly small print somewhere excluding overseas owners!) you can revert to 71% for next year by arranging an inspection by your prefecture, who will gave you a ‘certificate’ that entitles you to the higher rate. Cost about 140 euros for the inspection, last I heard.
This, it seems, has no connection at all with the need to register gites with the local mairie which is a separate requirement.
We ‘only’ pay taxe de sejour on the basis of actual lettings but I know some regions use ‘assumed rental weeks’ and others charge nothing at all. Nothing like consistency.
laurence September 8, 2010 at 12:28 pm
Sue, I think you had no need to register your property in France provided you can show that you declare in the UK any revenue from lettings. Everything depends on where you are domiciled for tax purposes. If you are UK resident, you are not a registered business in France, you are not a professional operator of gites.
Sue September 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm
We have been paying income tax in France on our letting income legitimately under the 71% regime for the past 9 years as non-professional under the micro-bic, and declared this fact in the UK under the double tax agreement. But like everyone else we have been re-classified this year as 50%. This is why I am researching the registration process.
laurence September 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm
Sue, I believe the new micro-bic tax regime only came into force 1 Jan 2008. To achieve entitlement to the 71% abatement requires the operator to register with the Prefecture as ‘meubles de tourisme’ and to obtain a certificate of classement from Gite de France, Cleavacances or other similar recognised companies, or ( it is said ) from the regional office de tourisme. The new law 2008 changed the status of gites, this requirement to register changes it back again. Alas unless you affiliate to Gite de france or the other accredited French gite agencies , quite simply they will not issue a certificate. I am still trying to get a certificate from the regional office de tourisme.
Boris September 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm
Now I’m getting confused as well Laurence, I thought it was EITHER a certicate from the prefecture OR a classement from GDF. If it’s both that changes things slightly because gdf is quite expensive to join, and the amount paid might outweigh the savings, especially for people only renting a few weeks a year. Are you sure you need both?
laurence September 13, 2010 at 7:01 am
I might have inadvertently confused you : the need is to register with the prefecture and obtain a certificate of classement from Gites de France, Cléavacances or any other recognised body , or from the Office de Tourisme. GdF , Cléavacances etc theoretically can issue the certificate without the applicant affiliating to their organisation, but in practice they won’t . Looking at Cléavacances website they want €140 to visit and issue the certificate, plus €70 per annum to affiliate. These figures might be out of date, and there might be hidden costs. They go out of their way not to give figures plainly! Solely registering with the Prefecture will not guarantee the 71% abatement, the certificate of classement is essential.
Debbie September 30, 2010 at 9:24 am
Has anyone actually had a visit from the Prefecture/Tourist office? I’m dying to find out what the criteria is to get a ‘classement’. I was sent a pdf from the Department some time ago but apparently there has been a meeting since and the criteria has changed.
I applied for a visit in June (registered post) and still haven’t got a date for the inspection. When I phoned the man in charge was on holiday and nobody else could help me. Typical.
Anyone with any info yet ?
Anji (Le Grand Saule) October 21, 2010 at 10:31 am
We have been operating our Chambre d’Hotes since July 2008 by which point having done considerable research, thought I knew all the answers. We knew of the obligation to notify the Marie – although they didn’t. We also knew before we started that new laws required you to register with the Chambre de Commerce – who would give you your siret number, hence making you legal and they notify the RSI / URSAFF in order for you to pay Health contributions. It was the Chambre de Commerce believe it or not, who phoned our Mairie and told them which form to issue us with!!! And we were aware of the need to register with the Douanes – informing of what type of estatblishment etc we were operating and they provided a licence.
The need to register with the Prefecture / Gites de France / Clevances is new to us – we have heard nothing. Like many we have stayed away from Gites de France etc because they are too expensive for a small business like ours. They know of us because they have asked us to attend to Tourist meetings to promote the area to the English. We do not pay Taxe de Sejour and we earn to little to pay tax – so presumably we will not qualify for the 71% anyway – will we??? And do we still need classification?
Boris October 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm
I’m not sure how social contributions (CSG/CRDS) work for chambre d’hotes but with gites even if you only earn very little they still have to be paid, around 12.1% of net income.
Net income being actual income less the 71% allowance or 50% if not registered.
Of course there would be a point where income is so low that it isn’t worth paying the prefecture to do an inspection because that costs more than the social charges, but that would be a very low figure (given the inspection doesn’t need to be done every year)
I’d be interested to hear whether the same 71% / 50% rules apply to chambre d’hotes as well.
Heather January 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm
We are UK residents and have just converted a property in France with 3 small cottages attached – sleep maximum 2 person per cottage. Do we have to inform the Marie that we intend to rent out these cottages during the summer season, and are we liabile to pay tax on the rental in France?
This is all very, very confusing, but don’t want to get caught out and owe
Boris January 23, 2011 at 7:19 am
Short answer: yes, I would tell the mairie – apart from anything else they might charge the ‘taxe de sejour’ (tourist tax) in your commune, and yes you will have to pay tax in France although if you have associated costs and the rent isn’t very high you might be able to avoid this. Unfortunately you will likely need an accountant to advise because there are several different options – I understand that there are various UK accountants familiar with the rules for renting out property in France, and who can help with your French tax return if necessary.
Frank February 4, 2011 at 2:25 pm
I am thinking of opening a Chambres d hote , can anyone provide me with a list of requirements to register and also to provide table d hote , before i proceed with such a venture I need to know if it will be accepted , are licences refused and if so for what reason.
Stephen D'Aulby June 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm
I think there are two things at issue here. One is where you are living and registered for tax purposes. We have filled in the “foreign” form for Uk taxes and french taxes for well over a decade. We are a Micro Bic and use a UK accountant Charles Hamer to put in our files for us. We fill out the forms for UK and french tax. You pay french tax first and foremost and then any tax paid in France is not paid again in the Uk.
It seems like most of the posts are for people living in France and running enterprises in France. Speak to your local Marie and they should be able to help.
Boris June 1, 2011 at 9:59 pm
Hi Stephen, yes you’re right of course that the tax situation may be different if you are UK tax resident. I believe the principle of having to officially notify the mairie that you are operating a holiday rental applies whether you are resident or not, and would have thought the 70%/50% rule about tax deductions was independent of residence but I’m not sure.
Any tips of reducing taxes etc for UK residents with rental property in France of course very welcome!