Nothing is certain but Hollande and taxes. First it was the preposterous 75% tax on incomes over €1 million that, as Peter Johnson notes in Finance Budget 2015, various tax changes that will affect all of us, “will be quietly allowed to die” this year. Although in 2012, the newspaper Les Echos, citing Ministry of Finance data, reported that 8,000 French households paid 100% of their income in tax due to a 2011 “one-time levy”; 12,000 taxpayers paid 75% that same year.
So is anyone truly surprised that a desperate President calls for desperate measures in announcing a 20% surtax on taxe d’habitation in 2015 on secondary residences in highly populated regions of the country? The state hopes to bring in an additional €150 million.
According to INSEE, in the Alpes-Maritimes secondary residences number around 330,000, including 35,000 houses.
Frédéric Pelou, President of FNAIM Côte d’Azur, stated “This is one more step towards the final blow to real estate.
“This new tax burden will add to the already long parade of fiscal constraints and red tape and, if elected officials decide to apply it, will continue to stagnate an already sluggish housing market.
“No one except the governing technocrats think raising taxes is the way to deal with the deficit, which can only be reduced by lowering state spending. Do they not imagine that people will sell their second homes?”
The good news is that it’s up to officials in 28 zones tendues across France to individually decide whether they implement the 20% tax.
Christian Estrosi, mayor of Nice, declared: “The City of Nice refuses to apply this surtax … we consider taxing second homes a total aberration! This is an unintelligent and ineffective tax, which will again weaken home owners in our country.”
Estrosi added that “the state must take responsibility” regarding housing by building and releasing state-owned land, rather than coming up with unproductive taxes.
Meanwhile, in Cannes, Mayor David Lisnard also is against enforcing this tax on secondary homes.
“This tax is optional,” said Marie Junk from his press service, “and the mayor does not want to apply it because he feels there are already too many taxes.
“Secondly, he’s upset with a government that cuts back on subsidies to local authorities on one hand, while on the other, asks communities to somehow find income by increasing local taxes.”