Tourism Tax in France

Tourism Tax

Meeting the accountant. Accountants are a very different breed in France.

It seems to me accountants in England are a far more creative bunch. They know the laws, rules, and regulations about all things financial and then work with their clients to ensure that they pay as little as possible in taxes. To English accountants, this represents a real challenge and they relish it.

Things could not be more different just one hop across the channel. Here, accountants are tax collectors whose aim is to collect AS MUCH TAX as possible.

There was a receipt for paint. The accountant asks: has this paint been used for renovating a gite or redecorating?

Does it matter? I ask.

Why yes, she replied, one will yield a much more positive figure on your accounts.

I’ll go for that one.

Stoney-faced, the accountant just would not tell me whether renovating or redecorating was the most tax-efficient use of my paint.

So, just imagine her joy when she told me about the Tourism Tax. Tourism Taxes in France are creeping up. And now, it has also just been introduced into the La Gacilly commune and all gites, hotels, and bed and breakfasts within the La Gacilly commune must now pay a tourism tax. This tax is per person per night.

I groaned.

You must recover this tax from your clients when they arrive. The French are quite used to this tax. It would be best if they could make a cheque directly to the commune treasury. This way your guests will know that you aren’t trying to make any more money but that this is a real tax.

Now this just would not work on SO many levels.

Firstly, the majority of our guests are English, and very few, if any, have a French bank account.

Secondly, the English just aren’t used to this tax.

Thirdly, the last thing I would want to do when greeting tired guests who have been travelling for the last 12 hours would be to ask for their tourism tax: not a good way to start a holiday.

On balance, the accountant may not like it, but I think this tax, as with the numerous other taxes, must be our cost.

Editor’s note:

The French tourism tax, known as “taxe de séjour,” is a local tourist tax collected by municipalities in France from guests staying in various types of accommodations, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, and vacation rentals. The purpose of this tax is to help municipalities fund the expenses related to tourism infrastructure and services, ensuring that visitors contribute to the maintenance and development of the amenities they use during their stay.

The revenue generated from the taxe de séjour is specifically allocated to projects and activities that enhance the tourist experience and promote sustainable tourism development, such as environmental preservation, tourist information and services, and promotion and marketing.

The rate of the taxe de séjour varies depending on the type and quality of accommodation, as well as the municipality in which the accommodation is located (and occasionally the season). It costs between 1 euro and 4 euros per person per night (and sometimes more in some more prestigious locations). Some municipalities may also apply an additional fixed percentage (up to 10%) as a departmental tax on top of the base rate of the “taxe de séjour.” The local authorities set the specific use and allocation of the funds, tailored to the needs and priorities of their tourist industry.

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