Sunday, 13 July 2014

Renovaton project - French tax myths!

Renovaton project - French tax myths!

We now have so many tax bills to pay we are beginning to regret what we have done, it really is the most awful thing, how can we be expected to pay this much money when we haven't earnt anything, we keep hearing all of the horror stories about the French tax system, and how it is set up not to help, many of the ex pat sites talk about this, now we know what they are talking about, do we give up?

We go to the chambre of commerce and ask her about the bills, we take copies of them all in with us and the one that came by e-mail, I have taken screen shots of.

This is the best tax meeting we have ever had, she looks at each in turn and says 'poubelle' this is such a pretty word for bin, yes that’s right bin!!!!!!!

Our tax bills have just been slashed, apparently once you are registered your name and address are in the public domain, and you will gets lots of official looking letters asking for money!!!!!!
the tax return needs to be completed with '0's. This is just my tax return for the estate agency, and I haven't yet earnt anything.

She explains that all of the RAM (health letters) need to go to another office, and tells us where this is.
However she didn't know about the e-mail one, she explained that because she wasn't involved in my registration, maybe I had ticked a wrong box, I needed to speak to somebody else, and obviously today is my lucky day, because the guy we need to speak to is holding his monthly open office afternoon, upstairs!

We go up and wait, when its our turn to go in, I show him my tax return and explain that I haven't yet earnt anything so he puts all the '0's in the right place and says to post it to the address on the letter. I show him the e-mail and he shrugs, in that famous French way and explains that I have the correct forms, so to ignore it.

That's it, all over, so simple, we don't have massive tax bills after all. I am so glad that I am starting to speak French because had we been at the this stage last year, before we knew who to speak to, or could not speak any French, we may have believed the bills and either struggled to pay them or given up.

My biggest tip is to learn the language (not necessarily fluently, but enough) and to find out where to go for the correct advice, don't believe the horror stories until you have the facts!

We now head over to the office that deals with RAM (there are 2 separate health systems in France, CPAM who deal with workers and RAM that deals with the self employed)

We had just got to the stage with CPAM, where all we were waiting for was our actual card vitale, we now have to start again, registering with RAM!!!!

The girl at the office is so helpful, she goes through everything and takes copies of all our health bills, we are now fully registered! Still have no card yet but this will come, until we receive it we have to pay for our healthcare and take our receipts to this office for reimbursements.

We now do a bit of shopping and see a beautiful little bright yellow flower house plant we grab one and drive back to the chambre of commerce. I don’t know the etiquette for giving gifts to tax officials but this woman has made our lives so much easier, it is the least we can do and by the reaction it is not something that happens often!

I am now going to put my poor aching head to bed, at the moment it feels like it is about to explode, this much work and talking in a foreign language is really difficult, but the sense of achievement is out of this world!

We still have our social charges to come, but we will let you now about that when we know more!


  1. Hi Jenny,

    If you receive your healthcare in France from an S1 retirement document in the UK and your income is UK pensions, you are NOT liable for "cotizations" which are the social security taxes. However, if you have other income than you will have to pay the cotizations on that.

    The tax system is pretty simple and there is an excellent guide to filling in the 2042 and 2047 forms on the AngloInfo website

    Good luck


    1. Thanks so much for this information David, must admit we are looking forward to being retired, the tax system is a lot easier :)

      But we do seem to be getting through it it makes sense to get the right advice from the very start

  2. So glad the tax bills turned out to be nothing! What a pleased it's all sorted now. X

    1. Thanks Maggie, we were so relieved as well x