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.

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2 Responses to “How long will it take to get out of the French tax system?”

  • Les Haworth says:

    Hmm That sounds exactly like France to me (lived there for eight years)
    It is simply inconceivable that the rest of the world does not have the same Napoleon codes of practice in place. How on earth do they all manage? I am sure I am a wanted man in France with lots of loose ends left untied. My only consolation is that the bureaucracy (sic) is so inefficient they will probably never know. Good luck!!

  • Hi

    As for as the taxe d’habitation and redevance audiovisual is concerned, you should just throw away their letters. The taxe d’habitation applies to your last residence in France on January 1 of the last year of your French residence. Were you renting or did you own your place? In the case you were renting just send them the état des lieux which is signed at the time you leave your residence. If you owned, you can sell them the bill of sale. If this is not good enough for them I would drop the whole affair but I would also write them a nasty registered letter informing them that you have moved to a country that is not as bureaucratically flooded as the French. Remember that the French only understand force and if you try the soft method you will get nowhere. Last year they tried to bill me twice for the taxe d’habitation as I moved from the 3rd floor of our building to the 4th floor and they assumed I was living (renting as I will never buy in france) in both. I simply sent them the état des leiux from my former apartment and in fact the whole matter was taken care of relatively quickly. I will wait for next year to see if they do the same thing.

    They once tried to make me pay Taxe Professionnelle when it existed. For 3 years they hounded me in spite of the fact that I had sent them the texts proving that I was not liable for this tax. I systematically refused to pay. Each year they gave me a derogation until I finally called them and informed them how to take my name off their list. Find my name on your list and hit delete button. They never bothered me with this again. Sometimes you have to find someone who will listen to you which is difficult.

    As far as the tax rebate, if it is important than you need to pursue it. If it is a couple hundred of euros, I would drop it as it will be more trouble than it is worth. You just have to take the point of view that they are incompetent and make sure that you should have never paid more than you owe so you don’t have to go through this bureaucratic insanity. I never pay my taxes (les tiers) in full until I am exactly sure of what my final net profit is.

    So sorry about these problems but things in France will never change no matter how much the French say they will. I am happy that my business is now 95% oriented towards Japanese individuals and corporations. I have been able to insulate myself against too much contact other than the strict minimum.

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