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The tourist tax, a real resource for tourism

11 Jun, 2019

With more than 246 million euros collected in 2014, the tourist accommodation tax is a real source of revenue for the municipalities. This tax was created in 1910 in France to support the development of tourism in holiday resorts. Travellers staying in an establishment for remuneration must in some cases be exempt from this tax. Nowadays, most tourist destinations in the world impose the payment of tourist tax. The regulations relating to this tax have been constantly evolving over time. If you are the owner of a holiday rental, you are concerned by the tourist tax.

Visitor’s tax, instructions for use

The introduction of a tourist tax on tourist accommodation is not compulsory. It is done at the appreciation of the communes with tourist vocation. The following establishments are liable to pay this tax: holiday villages, tourist residences, hotels, palaces, guest houses, marinas, open-air accommodation and youth hostels.

By deliberation, the town council of the town shall determine the amount of this tax to be applied for each type of establishment. For this, it refers to the tariff grid defined each year by the Ministry of Economy. This scale defines a minimum and maximum rate according to the nature and category of accommodation. Currently, the tourist tax is between 20 cents and 4 euros. The amount displayed corresponds to the rate per person and per night.

Some travellers may be exempted from tourist tax by decision of the community. In general, children under the age of 18, seasonal workers employed in the municipality and owners of second homes subject to the local tax are not required to pay tourist tax.

Two models for collecting the tourist tax

Tourist tax can be collected from the traveller or from the owner of the establishment. The commune chooses the harvesting model to be applied on its territory.

1. The actual tourist tax: The amount of the tax is paid by the traveller to the owner. The latter is then responsible for transferring the total amount collected to the municipality.

2. The fixed visitor’s tax: Each owner of accommodation is required to pay the visitor’s tax according to the accommodation capacity and the opening period of the establishment. Unlike the actual tourist tax, this collection model does not depend on the number of visitors to the establishment.

Once paid back to the municipality, the tourist tax contributes to the financing of the costs incurred by tourist visits. Indeed, this tax can be paid to the tourist office which ensures the development of the territory during tourist periods. The purpose of the tourist tax is to boost tourist activity through the establishment of new modern infrastructure.

The novelties brought about by the reform of the tourist tax

In 2017, the National Assembly introduced new measures concerning the regulation of the visitor’s tax within the framework of the PLFR (Projet de Loi de Finances Rectificative). Since 1 January 2019, unclassified accommodation or accommodation awaiting classification may be subject to tourist tax according to the decision of the communes. This tax is proportional, between 1% and 5% of the reservation price.

Following this decision, all accommodation offered on the rental platforms may be subject to tourist tax. Before the reform, Airbnb was the only platform to contribute to the payment of this tax. In 2017, the American company will pay back nearly 13.5 million euros to the municipalities. This amount doubled in 2018. This new directive will make it possible to considerably increase the income of local and regional authorities. From now on, all online booking platforms will be required to collect the tourist tax from travellers if the municipality decides to introduce this tax.

Today the majority of tourist cities impose the payment of the tourist tax for short term rentals. This tax is a real source of income for the municipalities and contributes to the financing of activities related to tourism and tourism development in the region. In 2017, the government has decided to include new directives on the regulation of the visitor’s tax. From now on, unclassified establishments are subject to the payment of this tax if the municipality has set up this system. A big change to be expected for booking platforms that generally offer the rental of unclassified accommodation.

11 Jun, 2019