Archive for the ‘France’ Category

How long will it take to get out of the French tax system?

We sometimes despair of ever getting completely out of the French tax system.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they even acknowledged our letters to them but we have only once ever received a direct reply from them and even that place has started writing to us once again. That’s the basic problem really: all correspondence we send just seems to be ignored.

We’ve been trying for over six years to get a tax refund from them. The tax people we spoke to in France agree that we’re due the refund yet nobody seems able to process it. In fact, they even sent a bailiff once who also agreed and helpfully pointed out that the tax in question was now centralised and that we should be writing to the office in Clermont Ferrand. We wrote to them and they said that it’s actually dealt with in the office in Montepellier who we’d been writing to for the previous couple of years, forwarded our letter to them and, of course, that’s the last we heard about that.

Most laughably is the habitation tax and TV license who are quite content to send their letters to us in the UK yet neglect to take on board that the change of address letter also quite clearly said that we don’t live in France.

Mind you we did read some years ago that to really move out we need to provide a document from our local mairie to say that we now live in their commune. Since there isn’t a local mairie (and, no, the city council doesn’t count) and we don’t live in a commune, it’s not possible to provide said document and the advice to the lady enquiring about it was to just let her mail redirection run out.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Tidying up the unfinished car administration from years back

When we moved to France we drove our car there with the intention of officially importing it at some stage.

However, we were rather busy in the first few months in France setting things up, then spent the rest of that first year trying to catch up on various bits of administration that we’d put off in the early part of the year. Thus it was quite late on that we started looking into importing the car.

By then we’d become rather wary of the circular path that administration often takes in France and so it was no great surprise to find that it was going to be almost impossible to import our car. Compounding the difficulties was that it was a grey (ie personal) import to the UK so it didn’t have the European type approval. That added another circle of administration to be worked through.

Fortunately in some ways the car developed a couple of what seemed like major problems if the garages were to be believed (which we later found out were relatively trivial things) at around the time when we needed to do something concrete in terms of importing the car. So we ended up just leaving it in the car park for the next six years. It’s not that we intended to do nothing about it, just that one thing or another always had a higher priority and besides the more we looked at the administration required to import it officially, the more we tended to look away.

Anyway, it’s obviously not worth a whole lot now and it’s become one of the French annoyances that need to be cleared up so we thought we’d either sell it or at least get it towed away.

It turns out that thanks to the French love of administration that we can do neither until we can come up with some ownership papers that they will recognise. The ancient log book was never going to be a runner in their eyes even if we could find it so we figured that we’d get the new V5 certificate which is a European style document that they should recognise. Now, those that have read the small print of their own V5 certificate will note that it specifically says that it’s not proof of ownership but seemingly is accepted as such in France as it is here.

So, after finally getting the VIN without which the DVLA said they wouldn’t issue a new one, we set off to Coleraine this morning. We’d a couple of queries so couldn’t use the local offices hence the trip to Coleraine. Nope, can’t issue you that. There’s a note on the record that says the car was exported back in 2005. Well, would you expect anything to do with European administration to be easy?

After some debate, it turns out that they can issue the export certificate which they should have issued back in 2005 though. This contains the same information as the V5 and moreover is free. All being well, the French will accept it.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Another piece of news from France

It’s been a long time since we’ve mentioned anything of consequence about France.

The main reason is that there’s nothing much of note happening. Having said that, over the past few months we’ve had a growing level of interest in Mas Camps with three or four more interested parties having a look at the place. The latest one is offering a mixture of cash and a house which seems interesting if a little complicated financially and legally.

Alongside that we’ve had the usual run of bills from assorted arms of the French government who don’t seem to be able to fully grasp the concept that we’re no longer living in France. One particularly interesting one is for a tax that’s only payable if you’re living in France for which they’ve managed to change the address to an “interesting” (read: barely legible) version of our home address here ie they know that we’re not living there yet still sent a bill for a tax that would only be payable if we were!

It appears too that the rumoured bypass of the village is going ahead with the new road to be finishing up not too far from our front door.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

A bit of a surprise at Decathlon

We’ve had a Decathlon card since our time living in France but since we’re into our second year back here we’ve obviously not used it for a while. Almost two years in fact.

Anyway, Belfast happens to be one of the first places that Decathlon has opened a UK store so we thought we’d pop in. It’s very much a French Decathlon that happens to be in Belfast with seemingly all the same products and even the very same trollies which, of course, can’t be used as they need a euro in them rather than a pound. Even the prices seem much the same which makes it one of the more expensive stores around unless you pick something up on one of their 60%+ off opening offers.

Amazingly it’s even French to the point of being able to use my French Decathlon card which is a level of internationalisation that’s very, very rarely seen which is quite a surprise. The website isn’t 100% in English yet but I managed to change the address of the card to here which is also something that’s rarely considered when a company goes international.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

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Wading through the junk mail

One of the biggest problems in getting out of France is the sheer quantity of post and email that continues to generate.

This wasn’t so bad when we were actually working in the hotel as we were online daily and keeping on top of everything that came in but now that we’re away from that we don’t have nearly so much time to devote to that as it seems to need. For instance, in the past week I needed to go through dozens of pieces of post and thousands of emails only to find a mere handful that were relevant and needed action taken on them.

Despite France having quite a strict no-spamming law, the quantity of junk email coming from France far exceeds that from anywhere else in the world and almost all of it seems to contravene the French law. The reason why that should be is quite simple: French ISPs require anonymous logins to their mail servers so anyone can send anything and, of course, they do.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.