Every furnished property which is rented out for short term stays in a tourist area can be subject to a tourist tax, either a flat rate or an amount depending on the number of occupants. But who is obliged to pay this tax and how much does it cost?

Tourist tax: a flat rate or a real rate?

Some areas, classed as ‘tourist areas’ in the mountains, by the sea, or areas which undertake promotional action to encourage tourism can impose a tourist tax which is then collected from people visiting the area, in other words people who do not live there and so do not pay their council tax there.
The local area has a choice between two calculation methods in order to determine the amount of tourist tax that holidaymakers have to pay:

  • A flat ratecalculation: each year the landlord presents the capacity of their property as well as the length of the rental period to the town hall. This information serves as a basis in order to determine the amount of tax which does not depend on the number of occupants.
  • A realcalculation: the amount of tax depends on the length of the holiday-makers’ stay and the number of occupants staying in the property.

How much does the tourist tax cost?

The Municipal Council fixes the amount of tourist tax by using the price scale defined by article L2333-30 of the General Local Authorities Code. The amount can vary according to the length of stay, the number of occupants, the comfort and nature of the property.
To find out the level of tourist tax in your area, take a look at this website taxesejour.impots.gouv.fr.

It’s important to note that from 1st January 2019, the tourist tax per person and per night for furnished accommodation which has not been ranked must be between 1% and 5% of the cost of the night per person, in other words, the price of the accommodation excluding tax for one night and for one person.
For example, if a furnished rental costs €100 excluding tax per night for 2 people, the tourist tax per person and per night will be between €0.50 (=€100 / 2×1%) and €2.50 (=€100 / 2×5%).
However, the level of tourist tax is capped and cannot in any case exceed the highest level adopted by the local authority (for reference, tourist tax for one night at a luxury hotel is capped at €4).

Who has to pay the tourist tax?

Landlords have to transfer the tourist tax to the local council, whether it’s the flat rate or the real rate, and the municipal council decide when this tax collection period will be.
But what about online platforms, more and more of which are proposing furnished rentals for tourists?
Today, they can collect the tourist tax, with the landlord’s agreement. However, starting from 1st January 2019, this possibility will become obligatory. Therefore it is going to be these platforms that will collect the tax and transfer it to the local authorities.

What is the tourist tax for?

Tourist tax collected by local authorities must be used to finance actions aimed at increasing the number of tourists visiting the area.

Some exemptions…

When the tourist tax is calculated using the real method, some people are exempt:

  • Minors (under 18)
  • People rehoused in an emergency or temporarily
  • Employees in the area who have a seasonal work contract
  • Tenants in properties managed by associations and who benefit from advantageous rents (the threshold is determined by the local council)

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About me

Maud Velter
Maud Velter
Legal & practical advice for furnished rentals
Associate and Legal Director of Lodgis, furnished rentals and property law specialist