Hi Lesley and Mike.
Wow, long string of replies…
I’m French, living in France for the past 10 years. Basically, over the years, I have become a bit of an expert at this kind of thing ! I feel a bit smug about it, because in the past few months I was able to recup quite a bit of MY money from Mr taxman ! :D
I mean, reading the small prints written Double-Dutch by the French tax people ! :D
As a 1st rule, always ask for help BUT enquire with the right body. Tax problem ? You go and see them, etc., definitely not the mairie…
2nd rule : In your case, as newcomers, you need to ask the Sesame question “ Quels sont mes droits ? “ ( = What are my rights ? ), esp. at the CPAM ( they have an international department ). By the way, you ARE in Europe, hence you should be - in theory - entitled to a state health cover as a minimum !
Why don’t you go to the CPAM, with a proof of residency, etc. and ask the right people ? ( “section internationale”) ?
3rd rule : double-check, triple check information you are given. Even the tax people can get it wrong. It’s up to the individual to tell them ( not the nicest part of the job as it involves long hours in front of the computer, etc).
I regularly check the “Codes” to find the answers I am looking for (on Legifrance).
… Now, to answer your question…Where to start … Heather and Gordon are right.
Now … whenever you get a bill from the tax people you should pay it first (it’s written on their forms too !) THEN argue your case. Always politely but firmly. Never lose faith or patience. Consider it an endurance test !
Always have photocopies of whatever proof you have as “ justificatifs”. Even in English : I have learnt only recently that Each French service have an “international” department – in theory- and so they should deal with your English forms.
Actually, going to your Mairie is a nice thing to do, but they are not the Tax office and won’t do a lot for you, unless they are nice enough to want to help you (not their job, you see. No sarcasm intended, I have worked in a mairie for a bit). Their job, regarding the tax side of things anyway, is to pass on the info they have about what you intend to build, for example.
You need to go and see your LOCAL” Centre des Impôts” to sort things out.
Not to be confused with “Trésor Public Offices” : there, it’s a matter of “ Pay your taxes and shut up” so to speak.
At the Centre des Impôts : Usually without appointment. Enquire before you go.
Also, the website www.impots.gouv.fr as an English interface you should read : http://www.impots.gouv.fr/portal/deploiement/p1/fichedescriptive_1006/fichedescriptive_1006.pdf
Only 107 pages ! Enjoy ! :D
Another French website you cannot ignore : mon.Service-Public.fr - have a look at it. I use it quite a lot.
- Having said that : here’s what I do know for sure : No tax d’habitation to pay for 2012 because you weren’t living in your home from 01.01.2012.
- The fact that you are 60 can have an effect on the amount you have to pay - down to 0 € even - , but only in some cases : means tested ( with a threshold) and other residents can be – or not – taken into account (children, etc – disabled or not…)
- Tax d’habitation and maison secondaire : Yes, you have to pay BUT if you already have a maison principale – in France, that is - you don’t have to pay the Tax audio-visuelle(= TV/radio licence) (sent together with the Taxe d’habitation each autumn). ALSO, if some people here have declared to have converted their maison secondaire as a holiday rent for income (gîte, meublé de tourisme, location saisonnière… ) they do not have to pay ( happened to us this year : I won my case with lots of appropriate “ justificatifs” J).
- Taxe foncière : I believe that you ought to pay it … BUT because your house wasn’t properly habitable, not sure at all there : You should enquire.
- Fosse septique : to be sorted out with the help of your : mairie and / or Communauté de Communes ( groupment of mairies, in a way) which should have a “ service fosses septiques” to advise you every step. A new fosse will need to be accepted upon plans, visited once or twice… at a cost (by your water company, etc). Not cheap. Get somebody to help you with this one. The Communauté de Commune should provide you with a list of “ accrédités” professionals ( Entreprises d’Etudes de Terrains + Entreprises de “Travaux publics” to conduct any work- you will probably need an electrician to finish off the job). Always ask for a written devis (2-3 actaully !). Never sign it until completely happy with everything. Both parties have to sign + keep a copy.
Good luck with everything.
Oh, by the way, always check your receipts straight after you have paid in France : Lots of mistakes can "happen", you know what I mean ? well, it is true, sadly. Same with Entreprises : get a Franch person to speak to them for quotes, appointments, etc. or the price may well be adapted to your nationality. Having said that, you can get decent French people too ! :) ... um, rarer :(
I’m thirsty now ! ;)