Thursday, 27 March 2008

An Apple For The Taxman

You know you are getting old when even the Taxman looks young! And I mean YOUNG as in - looks eighteen, and hopefully was at least twenty five years old!!

So there are Richard and I sitting one side of the desk whilst the charmingly helpful Controleur des Impots told us which of the boxes on the form we needed to fill in.

We asked lots of questions, specifically to ensure that we were up front and honest. We have a real bugbear against people who try and 'avoid' paying their due, and then are moaning minnies when they are found out!

Our experiences here in France have shown us how fair and incredibly non strict the Taxman is - provided you are up-front and honest with them to begin with. If you are not and they find out.....God help you. They have SERIOUS powers down here!!

So here are a few snippets from our meeting:

So you are worried, Mr/Mme Upex because you had a paying guest the day you actually bought your apartment last year whilst not having yet got a SIRET number?!
Don't worry - forget about it. We are not interested in such little amounts....

So you feel you have to fill in my form, correctly stating that you own the apartment 'jointly'? It makes absolutely no difference in tax terms (because you are married and live at the same address) but if you do that, the Commune of Lamalou will hit you for TWO taxe professionale fees each year which (unfairly) cannot be offset against your income.
So forget about that - just one of you complete the form as 'owner'.......and save yourself 300 euros a year straight off!!!

You intend to rent out your apartment, Mr/Mme Upex - so you understand that you need to register for a specific regime?
Yes, that is correct.

You also look after a couple of properties for friends, and you therefore understand that you also have to register under a second regime - and therefore will incur further charges from me (the Taxman)?
Yes, that is technically correct, but the amounts are not really serious are they, so lets just declare them all under the simpler, 'renting out' regime shall we.....
We came away bemused and very happy. But we did get the feeling that the French Taxman really does consider our extra income as hardly worth all the paperwork, and so was trying every which way to keep our lives simple!

Of course, this was invariably because we actually told him about the extra income rather than trying to keep it secret!

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