Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Taxing Time

Tuesday turned out to be quite a tiring day for two reasons.

Firstly because after my Internet connection finally died at about 3pm yesterday I summoned up my best French and called the euphemistically called Help Line. As I knew would happen, explaining the problem didn’t help, I had to go through their checklist including switching off and then back on the modem and swapping the ADSL line filters. The latter meant disconnecting the telephone line, which in turn disconnected the call to the help centre. By the time I got through again it was of course someone else and my dossier was ‘locked’ and he couldn’t do any further checks. All this palaver goes on at my expense, as it is a pay per min help line. The second guy’s conclusion was that it wasn’t my computer – well I did tell him that – so I would need to have one of their line experts call me; first appointment being Thursday afternoon. So I have a few days without my link to the outside world and oh my goodness do I miss the easy access to news, other blogs and comments and to my friends and family. Yes I know I still have the telephone (so that’s an improvement over the last telephone/Internet problems) but it’s not the same.

Secondly, Ann and I spent the afternoon at the tax office trying to find out what I actually needed to file. It seems that as I’m officially registered as an agriculturice I have a different tax regime. We managed to file one form but in doing so we got given another form and told to fill that one in, take it to another office and ask for yet another form. As far as we could tell, none of theses form were what you and I would recognise as an income related tax form. The form we submitted was the statement of what I had been paid for the sunflower seeds by the cooperative. I was assured that that was all I really needed to submit and my tax would be worked out on that. I’ve been here long enough to be sceptical about anything in the French bureaucratic domain being that simple. We set off for the second office, took out ticket and waited. After quite a wait without the call number changing, we realised that we were next so just went in and waved our ticket – yes we were next. The form we had been sent to get doesn’t come out until the April or May and I was told to come back in June, just to make sure, and collect it then. The form we had been given to hand in, I started to fill in and then pointed out that it appeared to run from the 1st January 2007 and I had only bought my house at the end of February. Well that was it, I couldn’t submit the form. So it appears I submit 2007’s data along with 2008’s data next year.

I am now confused over things I didn’t even know existed before I went to the tax office but hopefully I should be able to prove that I have been there and trying to pay my taxes if I should pay them this year.

If I though that not having to do my tax return meant I could take it easy I was wrong as an centimetre thick envelope was delivered this week with my DPU PAC. This is the declaration for, I believe, the Common Agricultural Policy (reverse the letters and you get the French version – a rule of thumb that usually works), my land usage payments so I will be working through those. This is what I sent to Agen to do last year on the last day for submission (15th May). A total panic for me with lovely people who took me from office to office and stamped everything with the 15th May so that even though I had to take it away and collect other information it would still be counted as submitted on the 15th.

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