Habitation Tax Explained

Habitation Tax : If you’ve been living in an apartment in Paris this year, you might have received something called a tax habitation in the mail. What is it? And why dd you receive it? 

 

Habitation Tax

A tax d’habitation is a municipal tax issued by the government every year in November to be paid by January 1st to owners or tenants of property within their jurisdiction. Do not confuse this with a “taxe fonciere” which is a municipal tax to be paid by the owner of the building, not the tenant. You are liable to pay for the tax if you have been living in your current lodging since January 1st of that year. Even if you only stayed in your apartment for a couple of months, if you were in the apartment on the 1st you are required to pay.

The habitation tax is determined by the size of the apartment, the income of the owner, as well as a number of other tax factors. It can be anywhere from €90 to €3,000. When you sign the lease for your apartment (or for a student residence),  check to see if it is listed as a main residence or a second residence, as second residences have a much more expensive tax. Also, when you fill out your tax form, make sure to unclick the box that says you have a TV in the home if you do not have one, as this will also raise the price of the tax.

 Why should you pay ?

If you are still unsure whether you have to pay, the first thing you should do is review your lease agreement. Sometimes the habitation tax is included in the deposit fees for the apartment and therefore you have already paid for it. If your lease is unclear, contact your landlord and ask whether you have to pay it or not. Sometimes apartment owners in Paris do not register with the tax office that they are renting and therefore must pay the habitation tax themselves. However, this is unlikely.

If you are renting a room in an apartment or sub-renting an apartment (meaning you have a contract with the person renting the apartment not the owner) then you don’t have to pay the habitation tax.

If you are living in a public student residence, you do not have to pay this tax. However, if you are living in a private student residence, but moved in after January 1st and are living there for a short time period, you also do not have to pay the tax. If you are unsure, contact your administrative office.

Unfortunately, since you are an international student and are not a tax paying French citizen, you are not entitled to any tax reductions. Most likely, you will have to pay the tax and can do so a number of ways. You can simply take a check or mail one into your local tax office, indicating your address, identification and lease agreement. Or, you can pay online and create an account here and elect to pay the lump sum or in monthly installments. You will need your bank account details and your tax information found on the invoice you received in the mail in order to make this account.

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This is the page where you will create your account. As you can see, there are three required numbers all of which are found on your third tax d’habitation, so make sure you keep the original document. The first two numbers are found on the first page and third is found on the last page of the invoice. If you cannot find these numbers or you have lost your tax d’habitation, go to your local tax office.

The good news is that the government is planning on eradicating all of the habitation taxes by 2021. So if you are planning on living in Paris for a long time, you’re in luck!

Finding Free Housing in France

Struggling to find cheap accommodations in Paris? Housing in Paris is one of the top complaints among international students because the options are slim and the prices are high. Feel Parisien is now able to offer affiliated students free accommodations through our partnerships with French tutoring programs.

If you are a native English speaker or speak English fluently without an accent, you may be eligible for this program. If accepted, you will be a private English tutor for a French family in or near Paris for three months. You will tutor in English for 15 hours a week and in return receive free room and half-board (two meals a day).

Don’t worry, you can still be a full-time student if you enter this program. The weekly schedule will revolve entirely around your academic classes. If you schedule your time right, you should be able to have weekends off!

This program is a great option for students coming to Paris looking for cheap, short-term accommodations. Even if you are staying in Paris for longer than 3 months, the program gives you the opportunity to save some money and search for housing in person instead of online. Also, more housing options open up after September because there are fewer students looking for accommodations. 

Another bonus is that the visa application only requires proof of residence for three months in France, so this program is a great option if you are struggling to find other arrangements in time to apply for your visa.

Staying with a host family is a great first initiation into life in France. It is a great opportunity to practice your French and to learn more about French culture and home life. Who knows, through your host family, you might even meet some French friends!

If you are interested in this program, indicate such on the platform or contact us for more information.

Need furniture for your Paris flat?

Moving to a new apartment in a foreign country is hard enough without having to worry about furnishing it from scratch. Buying furniture can be expensive, but not if you know where to look. Read this article for our recommendations for affordable places to buy furniture in Paris.

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New Furniture

Tati

Tati is a great source for cheap household goods in Paris, with many locations across the country and in Paris. See a full list here. The store is a one-stop shop for everything you could need, from appliances to utensils, to even clothing.

 

Maisons du Monde

This store is a great option for the stylish decorator, known for its cute decor and modern furniture. They are frequently having sales so check them out for some bargains on quality furnishings. See all locations in Paris here.

 

Ikea

Everybody’s favorite build-it-yourself store, Ikea is always a good option for affordable goods. Unfortunately, there is no location in Paris but one is coming soon, hopefully by Summer of 2019. Otherwise make the trek to the branch outside the city, accessible by the bus stop at 77 Boulevard Saint-Jacques or by car. I do not recommend this if you do not have a car, as the bus can be unreliable and it can be difficult to transport all your furniture back by yourself. Ordering online is your safest bet. 

New location: 15 Boulevard de la Madeleine, 75001 Paris

 

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Used Furniture

Le Bon Coin

Le Bon Coin is a French online trading site for anything from used furniture to hand-me-down shoes. You can find some great deals here so don’t miss out. I would recommend being a good French speaker or at least having one nearby in order to successfully complete transactions. This site is also a good option for selling furniture when you leave Paris.

 

Emmaus

The equivalent of Goodwill for you Americans out there, Emmaus is a great option for second-hand items of all shapes and sizes. An NGO and donation-based, Emmaus will be your cheapest option for household items. It is also a great place to donate your furniture when you leave Paris. Check the website for all store locations in Paris. 

 

Happy bargain hunting!

How to Apply for the CAF

CAF is rental assistance allocated to those that qualify by the government. CAF is a great resource for international students who need financial aid. If you are living in a studio apartment, you can earn as much as €200 euros a month. If you are living in a shared flat, you can earn as much as €180 a month. Read on to see if you qualify for CAF and how to apply.

The following are the requirements to be eligible for the CAF:

Low income 

As a student, you most likely have a low income, typically under €10,000 a year, and thus qualify. The CAF also takes full-time students into consideration. On the application, simply declare your total income for the last two years. If you are required to provide proof, your tax returns for the last two years from your home country should do the trick.

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Qualified housing

If you intend to apply for CAF and are looking at apartments, verify that the apartment qualifies for CAF before you sign the lease. First, it must be a year-long lease in your own name. You must have your landlord sign the application, which they might refuse to do due to possible tax scrutiny by CAF. If you are living in student housing, you will most likely qualify but you should confirm with the administration to be sure. Also, if you are living with roommates, make sure they also qualify for CAF when you apply, as that can impact your acceptance.

Have a valid student Visa with OFII 

You cannot receive CAF without these documents. If you do not have an OFII upon arrival in France, apply for one immediately. Check the platform to see if you have access to our OFII services. 

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Have a French bank account

The rental assistance will be paid to you directly or to your landlord. In the case of the first option, you will need a French bank account. 

 

If you wish to run a simulation of what your CAF will be, visit this website.

In order to apply for the CAF, simply go to their website and fill out the online application.  We recommend that you apply as soon as you secure accommodation. The CAF payments will begin the second month of your lease, so if it is possible to move in at the end of August and pay half rent, do so, as the payments will then begin in September instead of October. Do not be concerned if you do not receive payments right away. It often takes several weeks or even months for the application to go through, but you will still receive payments for the entirety of the year, sometimes in the form of a lump sum. 

If you are struggling with your application, Feel Parisien offers services that will help you complete the application, walking you through the process step by step until you have received your CAF. If you do not have access to our CAF services, reach out to your university about obtaining them. 

TIPS for CAF

You will collect the aid from the following month of the application of your lease. Of course you need to wait to move-in in your flat  to be able to apply.

If you move-in in Sept and apply during this month, the aid will start in Oct but if you move-in in Sept but apply only in Oct, your aid will start in Nov.

f your lease starts the 31st of August and you’re applying this day, your aid will starts the 1st of Sept.

If your lease starts the 1st of Sept and you are applying this month, your aid will start the 1st of October.

So when you ask for an accommodation contract, ask for it to start at the end of the month instead of the beginning, to not loose one month.

You won’t receive the aid until you apply for it on the Internet. That’s mean if your lease start in Sept but you wait until Oct to ask for it, you will be eligible to earn the aid from Oct. So even if you don’t have all the documents required, such as the birth certificate or its translation in French, we sugget you to apply for it before the month of Oct so you won’t lost one or several months of aid. You will be able to send your documents later by post or upload them online, and the date of your online application will considered as the begining of your aid.