a new headache for the executive

"If the housing tax is not a good tax for 80% of the French, it is unlikely that it for the remaining 20%. " In November 2017, Emmanuel Macron justified his decision to completely eliminate the housing tax, in the face of a parterre of mayors who were skeptical about putting an end to a key resource. Since then, parliamentary proceedings have been chained to find compensation for local authorities. This was to be enshrined in a local finance bill in the spring of 2019.

It was without counting on the movement of "yellow vests" that woke up the debate on tax fairness. How, in a tense social context, grant a tax cut of 7 billion euros to the 20% of the wealthiest households? Not to mention that the fiscal equation will get tougher with the putting in brackets of the carbon tax.

Promise questioned

Bruno Le Maire is the first to acknowledge that the government could reconsider its position. The Minister of Economy and Finance has suggested, during the big meeting Europe 1 - CNews - "Les Echos" Sunday, that the disappearance of the tax of residence is subjected to the great national debate announced by the chief of the 'State. The removal for 80% of households, voted last year and expected to be effective in 2020, is not questioned. It is the fate of this tax for the remaining 20% ​​of taxpayers that is outstanding.

Asked about RTL, the Minister of Action and Public Accounts, Gérald Darmanin, concurred in the same direction, but with nuances: "Some have big incomes and big houses. Maybe we could imagine that it would not be right to exclude them " the housing tax.

No consensus

The question has not been settled yet. And for good reason, it does not reach consensus within the government. "We can not put on the same level the ISF reform with the disappearance of the housing tax"warns a minister, arguing that the threshold of tax liability will be € 2,200 net for a single person. "Who will be affected by this decision? These are the upper middle classes. This is our electoral base, continues the same source. Gérald Darmanin has agreed that at this level of income, "I do not think we're rich."

The draft law on local finances, announced for the month of March, would no longer be relevant. Measures related to local finances would be debated either in the spring budget collective that would include end-of-year emergency funding ($ 1.5 billion in savings, corporation tax), or finance bill for 2020.

Municipal Perspective

In any case, the government will have to set the framework before the municipal campaign, while respecting the constraint imposed by the Constitutional Council. In his opinion on the 2018 Finance Bill, "The Council validated the relief of 80% of the taxable persons of the habitation tax insofar as it constitutes a step in a deep overhaul of the local taxation, and not as perennial and autonomous device", experts Alain Richard and Dominique Bur said in their report last May.

One of the ways to break the deadlock could be a median solution in which the housing tax would effectively disappear, but would be partially offset, for reasons of equity, by an additional income tax for the residents. more affluent. "It would be a way to maintain a fair tax burden for the highest income whose full exemption was not required", pleads Alain Richard, Senator LREM specialist of local finances.

Ingrid Feuerstein