A Love Affair With… French Taxes
Living abroad has it’s high points (pastries, baguettes, wine!) and it’s low points (taxes, paper work, paper work, bureaucracy, paper work). Most of the times I credit the incredible network of friends that I have here for getting me through so many of the obstacles that there are including… French Taxes.
Did it bring chills to your heart just as it did for me?
This year I had the privilege of doing not just my US Taxes (it doesn’t matter that I’m officially living in France), but my French taxes as well. Both completely different with utterly different due dates. One of which I completely put from my mind until about a month before when I was talking to Laura and she said, oh hey Molly, don’t forget, French taxes are due on May 18th (I love my friends). ah ha! I said- not a problem! I have no idea how to do them but I have a couple of weeks to figure it out. Laura said- umm how about I send you the links I used and the website where you can find your local tax office. And by the way, for you Molly, wink wink, they’re due on the 1st. ha ha! Do my friends know me well.
Me getting my taxes done went a little something like this (side note, my days off from work are Wednesday-Thursday so that’s when I get all of these fun things done):
Wednesday, May 4th– Well, I’ve passed the “Molly Deadline” eh not really feeling it, I’ll do it tomorrow.
Thursday, May 5th– ah hey Jenni! I’m going to go do my taxes at the Services des Impots after yoga today. pause erm Molly, it’s a holiday….
May 11-12– Bruges trip! yippee! I’ll just do my taxes when I get back. No worries!
Friday, May 13th– Panic attack, omg they’re due on Wednesday! Uber to my local tax center, the Services des Impots, with all my paperwork during my hour long lunch break to find there is a massive bee swarm happening by the office and it’s closed because it’s… you guessed it…isn’t a holiday, but it was a holiday the day before…
Monday, May 16th– Resigned to the fact that I’ll probably just have to do them on Wednesday, the day they’re due, and pray that all goes well.
Wednesday, May 18th– Tax Due Date! Wake up throughout the night. Make it to the Services des Impots by 9:30am.
The place was smelly with BO and hot. A single bead of sweat went down my back as I passed the security guard. Two people in front of me in the line?! What luck! Five minutes later and it was my turn.
Bonjour Monsieur, est-ce que vous pouvez m’aider avec mes impots?
The very unlucky Monsieur in French, you know that they are due today right? Would you like me to speak in English?
I said, sure! Thank you!
And thus commenced the easiest taxes I’ve ever done in my life with the tax guy that insisted on speaking in English with me, got covered in sweat in the process, and would not switch back to French even as I politely tried to change it back by responding in French to every question in an attempt to save his shirt.
I was handed a three page form and pointed the particular sections I needed to fill out: name, address, the usual. And then a pause, a grimace- do you have proof of your housing? Because we will need it today. You can return later with it.
And out comes my massive French paperwork binder with my whole life in it. (ah I am so prepared! even though I’m doing it on the day it’s due!) Would you like my housing contract and proof of housing insurance? Work contract? Passport? I got it all! Massive look of relief and I was pointed to a seating area where I filled out the necessary form in a matter of 5 minutes, returned to the desk, he looked it over, and it was done, in 10 minutes…! Seriously.
I left wanting to do a little jig and call everyone I know to say- ha! I win!
So much different than what I would lovingly experience with my US taxes a mere month later (expats have an extension until June), where I was up until 3 in the morning, cross-eyed, trying to decipher sentences like:
If line 38 and the number of days in your 2015 tax year (usually 365) are the same, enter “1.000”. Otherwise, divide line 38 by the number of days in your 2015 tax year and enter the result as a decimal. Multiply line 37 by line 39, then subtract line 36 from line 27.
Long story short- procrastination paid off this time… for my French taxes. Or rather, it didn’t bite me in the butt.
French Tax Resources/Info:
The first year doing it here I had to go into an office, but next year, I should be able to just login online!
French tax declaration season opens: Here’s how it works
Declaring your French Taxes Online
Finding a Tax Center in Your Arrondissement
One last note: Was it easy? oh ya! And luckily I shouldn’t really owe anything this year. Next year though, I’ll probably owe the equivalent of a month’s pay check. ouch!