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mrsurrey
1st Dec 2013, 19:42
Hello,

Does anyone know of anyone... who runs a business whilst living in France? I run just a one man Ltd company so no employee complications (other than me)... but I was wondering if it's easy to do in France? Or can you keep running it as a UK Ltd company but operate in France, somehow paying the French income/employment taxes along the way?

Would be grateful for any pointers...

Thanks,

MrS

Capetonian
1st Dec 2013, 20:05
Short answer, don't do it. You'd be crazy.

I will expand on this answer later as am about to go out. I have seen friends of mine driven to the verge of bankruptcy and suicide as a result of the complex, unfair and punitive tax and social charges. You never know how much you are going to end up paying.

If you can keep your fiscal residence outside France, it mitigates some of the taxes.

OFSO
1st Dec 2013, 20:52
Slightly longer answer - we have friends who speak French among other languages, run own business in London area. Built house in N. France some years ago, very happy with house and area. Always thought one day they'd transfer biz to France. Nowadays, NFW. Taxes, complications, more taxes, generally hostile attitude of Hollande's government to entrepeneurs.

Last comment I heard was "thank God we kept biz in England and just used French house for holidays".

Oh and if I tell you that over 60% of the houses here in our urbanisation in Catalan Spain are occupied by French, permanently on holiday in Spain, and many running businesses back in France from here, what does that tell you.

So answer is no. Don't even think about it.

The SSK
2nd Dec 2013, 13:16
My daughter lives in France and runs her own business. The tax breaks she receives are *very* generous.

Capetonian
2nd Dec 2013, 14:36
I may be wrong, but perhaps she hasn't reached year 3 yet, which is when they hit businesses with a welter of unexpected and often inexplicable charges, reassessments, adjustments, coefficients, and so on. This is typically where many small businesses throw in the towel.

CelticRambler
2nd Dec 2013, 15:09
There are a number of "disadvantaged" areas where it is possible to apply for/receive a variety of concessions and incentives, mostly in respect of reduced/zero contributions for employees, but these are largely offset by the reasons that make the area "disadvantaged" in the first place.

Within the last year, the government has changed the rules relating to small one- or two-shareholder companies treating them as equivalent to sole traders and all their income, whether salary or end-of-year dividend, is treated the same for tax/social charge purposes. For many who chose this option as a way to keep a reasonable proportion of their gross takings, it has been the final straw and they have closed their business.

Right now, as a French resident, I would not consider setting up any kind of new business in France, but there are plenty of opportunities to serve the French market from a business located in (any) one of the neighbouring countries.

wiggy
2nd Dec 2013, 15:27
Given the failure rate on our local high street(s) I have to agree with both of the above. Start ups generally seem to last about 2-3 years and then fold (Captonian's point), and as CR as pointed out the rules for very small businesses have recently changed for the worse.

Right now, as a French resident, I would not consider setting up any kind of new business in France,

Yep, sums up local sentiment.

OFSO
2nd Dec 2013, 15:42
We went up to France today as Mrs OFSO considers there are better choices and cuts of meat available than in Spain (may be right). Certainly we don't have anything in Spain to compare with our local gigantic Auchan (all 64 checkouts were manned today).

But on the way back along the main road over the Pyranees, we noticed how many businesses in France have closed and are for sale. From filling stations to pool companies to building firms to smaller supermarkets, all prosperous two or threee years ago, now gone bust.

It isn't the same once you cross south into Spain - yes there are evident victims of the "crisis" but not so many and not such a sense of despondency as you find around Perpignan.

toffeez
2nd Dec 2013, 16:22
Since there's no equivalent in England, you could amuse yourself by reading the 3532 pages of the Code du Travail.

Your decision will be made for you.

BenThere
2nd Dec 2013, 18:52
not such a sense of despondency as you find around Perpignan

I keep an occasional correspondence with the proprietor of the hotel in Mouries, Provence, where I lived two years over a five year period from 1998-2003. He is quite despondent over the prospects of his family's hotel, the labor they employ, and France's future.

I console him with the prospect that the left will lose control one day.

Two things are certain.
1. The left empowered will destroy the economy.
2. The left will lose control after they have destroyed the economy.

wings folded
2nd Dec 2013, 19:03
BT:

The original question was about practical pragmatic issues.

Do you really believe that your partisan response helps?

BenThere
2nd Dec 2013, 19:15
Do you really believe that your partisan response helps?

To my sorrow, it doesn't seem to help.

wings folded
2nd Dec 2013, 20:19
To my sorrow, it doesn't seem to help.
No, it does not.
Have you anything of any use to say on this topic?

BenThere
2nd Dec 2013, 20:29
Have you anything of any use to say on this topic?

Probably nothing of any use for you, but I do have a lot to say.

Ask me politely and I'll do my best to enlighten you.

toffeez
2nd Dec 2013, 20:31
The inability to reform the economy (or anything) is not partisan.

When any party tries to change something the populace revolts.

T'was often thus, and so France descends into the third world...

BenThere
2nd Dec 2013, 20:46
Well, back to France.

France has a talented population. Of all the countries in the world, I think France will be the last to succumb to third world status. They're just too elegant.

If France can overcome the effect of imported Muslims imposed on it over the last 20 years, it could emerge as the premier society of the 21st century.

sitigeltfel
2nd Dec 2013, 20:48
A lot of France has become third world already, just take a trip round some of the Banlieus.

OFSO
2nd Dec 2013, 20:54
There are two Frances: Paris and the Provinces.

Historically the Parisians have been hard to rule. When they get upset, Things start to happen. But based on my frequent visits to that city, things for the average Parisian are far better than for the serfs* in the provinces. And on top of those reasonably well-off Parisians are the politicians, who to put it really bluntly, are living an excellent and cossetted life.

To sum up, I can't see any sort of movement towards change or reform starting in Paris. And out in the Provinces, they will have to be drastic to get noticed.

* I apologise for using that word to the friends in the Perpignan area with whom I attended a function last weekend. Many are business owners, most (as far as I could tell) hard workers, people who had put their souls into their work. Not a scrounger or illegal immigrant present and other than several local mayors, not a politician present. One common theme of discussion: "Paris doesn't listen to us".

Capetonian
2nd Dec 2013, 22:48
With the least popular president in its history in power, with communist style expropriation of private assets, with the destruction of privately owned businesses and the 'redistribution' (i.e. destruction) of wealth, I would say that the French, always revolting, are now ready to revolt in the other sense of the word. There is only so much they will put up with.

Metro man
2nd Dec 2013, 23:26
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

― Elmer T Peterson

Time to bring out the guillotines. ;)

wiggy
3rd Dec 2013, 06:39
France has a talented population. Of all the countries in the world, I think France will be the last to succumb to third world status. They're just too elegant.

If France can overcome the effect of imported Muslims imposed on it over the last 20 years, it could emerge as the premier society of the 21st century.

:confused:


As an example of the slide of the country and denial of the same we're seeing a political blame game being played out on in France this morning ahead of the latest damning OECD PISA education classifications. That decline has stuff all to do with ethnic minorities, it's much more to do with a complete inability to restructure elements of the state, in this case teaching.

Latest grumble - My youngest will miss two hours of science teaching again today because his Physics teacher is ill and will be away for two months. Nobody at departmental level has been able to organise a remplacement and the staff at the Lycee either can't or won't cover for the absence: " Cover for a colleague?? Bof!"...... a story that I'm sure familiar to many here. It's reckoned over their school career kids miss approximately 10% of their lessons due to teacher illness, training days and various other reasons....

Sorry, gone off topic. The Parisian's being elegant won't halt the national slide into mediocrity, there needs to be a change of attitude to work and entitlement - at the moment this is a country where a builder still doing light work at the age 56 is considered so exceptional he's featured in a TV report on retirement age. The world is moving on and sadly the country is in real danger of being left behind.

Oh, and I'm a Francophile..


PS : "Bof" See: Alors là - Gallic Shrug - French Gestures (http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa020901g.htm)

OFSO
3rd Dec 2013, 10:55
BTW, it may be apocryphal but I have heard tales of foreign nationals living in France as non-residents being declared tax-resident by the Authorities on the basis of the length of stay, proven by phone bills, credit card transactions and so on. This has (it would seem) happened to people spending less than 183 days a year in France but who are deemed to have their principal centre of interest in France.

An amusing tale: many years ago I owned a house on Lake Geneva in France which I rented out to colleagues. After one summer season I heard at the Town Hall that the two nice young German couples to whom I'd rented the house for three weeks were communists. I asked the guys (colleagues from work) and they said that for the duration of their stay they had the address of their subscription to the German socialist newspaper changed to my house in France. The postman had noticed the title of the newspaper he delivered and reported this back to the Town Hall.

Subsequently I heard that in France the postman, a civil servant, does keep his eye on what he is delivering, and reports back to his superiors, as many people renting out holiday lets and not declaring them for tax have found out. I am sure the same applies to running a business on the QT.

airship
3rd Dec 2013, 16:25
If you're considered "as resident in France for tax-purposes" by the French tax authorities (whether or not a French citizen), you have to declare 100% of your world-wide income. You will then have to pay income taxes etc. (subject to any double-taxation treaties between France and the countries (source of the income) based on the difference...?! Isn't that quite clear? Or is PPRuNe at risk of becoming the latest online forum for those wishing to either avoid or evade taxes...?! :confused: :ugh:

You need to seek professional help, the kind you pay up for in advance, in real (tax-deducted or whatever) currency...?! Not asking such questions here and perhaps inviting JBers to compromise their own situations unwittingly...! :zzz:

CelticRambler
3rd Dec 2013, 16:56
France has a talented population. Of all the countries in the world, I think France will be the last to succumb to third world status. They're just too elegant.

Alas, that talent is all-too-often suffocated slowly but efficiently as the holders pass through the education system. Apart from today's PISA results (which put France on a par with the UK, so not really that bad) Germany's Berenberg Bank (http://www.cityam.com/article/1386037630/france-weakest-link) is reported as saying France has taken the place of the Mediterranean economies as Europe's cripple. And, as so many times before, oppressive labour laws and high taxes feature prominently in the explanation.

Capetonian
3rd Dec 2013, 17:15
If you're considered "as resident in France for tax-purposes" by the French tax authorities (whether or not a French citizen), you have to declare 100% of your world-wide income. You will then have to pay income taxes etc. (subject to any double-taxation treaties between France and the countries (source of the income) based on the difference...?! Isn't that quite clear? Or is PPRuNe at risk of becoming the latest online forum for those wishing to either avoid or evade taxes...?!
Is there any problem with trying to minimise or avoid taxation? Evasion is illegal, minimisation and avoidance are not.

It's not quite as simple as Airship wishes to imply. You may also be required to declare certain income in the country from whence it originates.

The real pisser is that if your global assets, regardless of location or source, are worth more than 1.3 million €, you have to pay the communist jealousy tax (ISF) on them in France. The tax is levied on the amount above 800k € and is on a sliding scale. It is an unfair and iniquitous tax.

BenThere
3rd Dec 2013, 17:18
While it's true France has to throw off the yoke of socialism to which it periodically embraces, the basic culture of the country will endure and transcend. I'm quite confident of this, though at times my faith in France is challenged.

I'm captivated by the wines of Bordeaux, my wife must have her Louis Vuitton, the flavors and ambience of my lengthy time in Provence have me convinced there is no better place on earth, I make a living flying the A320 - you could call me a Francophile.

And I'll be cheering for France in the coming years as she addresses the consequences of open immigration, socialism, and the impoverishment socialism ensures - consequences of voting left . I think France is the best equipped nation to address these issues as its culture is pragmatic and remains yet proud. Hopefully, it's not too late.

OFSO
3rd Dec 2013, 18:03
the flavors and ambience of my lengthy time in Provence have me convinced there is no better place on earth



Not really, because most of the inhabitants of French Rouissilon are moving south across the border to Spain (or Spanish Catalunia). Food is better, wine is better (and sold at a reasonable price) and restaurants stay open after 2 p.m. And you can live here all year around and not be 'resident'.

Our urbanisation used to be predominantly German and Dutch. But it has changed. Mrs OFSO is currently learning French. "Pourquoi ?" I asked. The answer: "because I want to chat with everyone here" she said.

BenThere
3rd Dec 2013, 18:26
I may have to reconsider. The Catalan influence on Provence is considerable, and probably has much to do with making the culture so agreeable.

I have to say though, all things considered, and standing back to reflect, my favorite city of all is Arles, followed closely by Aix and St. Remy and Stes. Marie de la Mer. Given a choice, around there is where I would choose to spend the rest of my days.

airship
3rd Dec 2013, 18:33
The real pisser is that if your global assets, regardless of location or source, are worth more than 1.3 million €, you have to pay the communist jealousy tax (ISF) on them in France. The tax is levied on the amount above 800k € and is on a sliding scale. It is an unfair and iniquitous tax.

You could always transfer all your assets to Sweden. No inheritance taxes applied there apparently. Unsure about taxation on individuals holding these assets and their residency or otherwise before they die though etc.

Why should the French "wealth tax" be assumed to be unfair and iniquitous though? :confused:

At least the French government somehow acknowledges that you own these assets. Tomorrow, or the day after, anyone with assets held in offshore tax-havens, wherever they are, the Cayman Is., Isle of Man, Delaware etc., might simply be informed that their accounts are no longer accessible, the operators of these offshore institutions perhaps having "cashed-in", bought their yachts and currently "unavailable" via satellite telephone. And left with "zero".

I'd ask anyone here to redo their sums. X being the sum that they evade/avoid paying taxes on every year. Y being the capital they have to hide offshore. Z being the "unknown factor". For example, I'd be for completely excluding all the classic offshore tax-havens from access to international banking systems and transfers immediately. Each and every transfer from/to being subjected to severe controls, providing full information on the real beneficiaries holding the account, and why not the providence of these funds, going back several years...?!

We "ordinary citizens" who go about our daily lives without worrying too much about how we can evade/avoid taxes in general are probably getting a bit fed-up of our politicians by now. Who allow others to slither through and escape taxes by way of specially-designed loop-holes or whatever. Their days (and your own) are numbered!

We're not going to sit peacefully-by anymore, whilst seeing so many get away with it all. Nor are we in France, going to put up with the so-called Socialist government under François Hollande get away with raising VAT to over 20% in 2014, increasing standard social security deductions etc. and making slaves of ordinary Frenchmen (or UK expatriates here) who pay their taxes honestly, only to see these taxes disappear into the abyss of the French government coffers, paying out huge (and mostly unjustifiable) public-sector pensions. NON, c'est NON?! :mad:

Capetonian
3rd Dec 2013, 18:45
Airship : You don't get it do you? Maybe you should read this if you understand French:
Impots.gouv.fr - Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune (http://www.impots.gouv.fr/portal/dgi/public/particuliers.impot?espId=1&impot=ISF&pageId=part_isf&sfid=50)

I said :
if your global assets, regardless of location or source, You said :
You could always transfer all your assets to Sweden.Moving assets to another country is therefore irrelevant. Unless of course one took the risk of moving them to an unregulated and dodgy jurisdiction that has no disclosure agreement with the EUSSR.

Why should the French "wealth tax" be assumed to be unfair and iniquitous though?
If John Bull owns assets in the USA that are worth >€1.3k, assets which have not originated from French earned funds, and have never been inside France, but JB happens to have his fiscal residence in France, why should he be taxed on the capital value of those assets.

It takes a certain mind set to to accept that this is not unfair and iniquitous. You may fall into that category, in which case you will not be convinced.

BenThere
3rd Dec 2013, 18:46
You're going National Front on us then, Airship?

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

alicopter
3rd Dec 2013, 20:31
Well, if I may add my tuppence worth... France or UK? You cannot compare the two countries, cultures, ways of life. I am French (well, my father was from a very very old Normandie family, land owners for many generations in the oldest Viking settlement in the Cotentin peninsula... and a Sicilian mother whose parents were social and political immigrants settling in the South of France after the second World War...). My partner of these last 38 years and mother of my two children is British, from Welsh and English parents, I share my time between our farm in France and a home in East Anglia but often work in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holand, so I have a fair idea of the differences these places offer. From their Education (at least my own generation), French people tend to be a lot more “socialy inclined” with very strong links to their Family, Villages, Communities etc... We are mainly a population of “peasants”, we like good food, good wine, good laughs not always issued from a very sophisticated sense of humour, we often like a good argument too and are probably too macho by the rest of the world's standard but it's only because we love our Women so much, that's the only way we can make believe we “rule” when everybody knows we just do as we are told by our mothers and wives... We “have to”study Rousseau, Camus, Voltaire, Sartres, Descartes, Alain, Diderot, Montaigne, Montesquieu, Pascal and the others, at school (as well as The Bard of Avon and Dickens mind you!) so it has a great influence on the Youth. The English on the other hand seem to have “Great Expectations” and the social classes are more marked than chez les Frogs... My kids started school in France but finished their education in the UK and I can say the difference is HUGE. I am not saying better or worst either side but so different. Laicity, religion, competition, altruism, socialism, royalism, class belonging, brand following etc.... If the French are a nation of “Peasants”, UK is a nation of “Shopkeepers” as Napo used to say and it shows. It is a pity the world is embracing the Anglo-Saxon way of life as I do think quality of life in France is much higher than in the UK but what can we do, like education, it is easier to level by the Bottom than pulling from the Top... But somehow, I feel confident that we will survive and just like the crap communist system has collapsed two decades ago, the actual is showing serious signs of being about to fall apart and I bet you my hat the French will be firing the first salvoes... Business might be “down” right now but just like the Earth is round, we have signs that it is going back up, weather as a Growing Economy or a Declining Controlled Economy.... I know where I'd rather be when that starts... To come back to the question about running a business in France... ok, you might not keep all you earn but you will have roads to drive on, trains to travel in, doctors to look after your health and more than anything else, you will have contributed to share a beautiful country with some people may be less apt/willing/born with a silver spoon in their mouth or talented in the field of creating wealth for you and your family....

BenThere
3rd Dec 2013, 20:45
alicopter,

Hang in there. In the hands of such as you, France will survive, and one day, thrive.

Key point. You can have the roads, health care, and safety net at reasonable cost.

What you can't have is all that and the unlimited free lunch for the lazy, indigent moochers willing to milk the system with no requirement to work, ever.

All of us Western, enlightened democracies have yet to figure this out.

alicopter
3rd Dec 2013, 21:43
@ben there...
you know, if Corporations, or even "Capetonian like" individuals (not a personnal attack, just a short cut to describe a stereotype, saves me long phrases!) were contributing their fair share of taxes instead or "avoiding" paying where they make their "in my opinion shameful" profits, if we were not "milking" so many other peoples around the world and keeping them on purpose in their "misery"... but sharing a bit better their resources, the World, not just France would be such a much better place to live in... Rant over.

Capetonian
3rd Dec 2013, 21:56
or even "Capetonian like" individuals (not a personnal attack, just a short cut to describe a stereotype, saves me long phrases!) were contributing their fair share of taxes instead or "avoiding" paying where they make their "in my opinion shameful" profits
So you know what precisely about 'Capetonian like' individuals and their fiscal status? You are drawing one hell of an inference from the views I have expressed. Very close to libellous, if not actually so. I would suggest caution.

alicopter
3rd Dec 2013, 22:13
@ Capetonian I never implied you personaly as you will have noticed I mentioned "like". I just meant people always whinging about paying too much for the others, advocating or justifying tax avoidance like you did a few posts up... I am sure readers will have understood it this way, you make your views known enough in your numerous interventions... which is your right. And I might add you make a very good entertainer... I laugh a lot reading you. Thank you, like we say in France, "un fou-rire vaut au moins un steack"...

Capetonian
3rd Dec 2013, 22:21
Tax minimisation by legitimate means is perfectly acceptable from a legal and fiscal perspective. The socialists don't like it because it leaves less in the trough for them to get their snouts into. Nobody with an iota of common sense pays more tax than they need to, particularly when that money is going into the bottomless pit of a doomed social system and a failed social experiment, and is only going to support the feckless dregs of society and the useless self-serving politicians.

I most certainly do advocate tax minimisation. There is no need to justify it.

alicopter
3rd Dec 2013, 22:33
You can try to justify your views as much as you like, you are intitled to them... and I will not waste my time trying to make mine understood by you but for your govern, things are not really going your way nowadays in Europe!!!... Let's resume this conversation in six months.

The SSK
4th Dec 2013, 09:37
alicopter @ #32 :ok::ok:

Today I have signed a 'lettre-proposition d'achat'. I'm coming your way in August and looking forward to it immensely.

And if other contributors to this thread think I'm crazy ... [Gallic shrug]

Luckily I don't have €1.3m in assets.

Capetonian
4th Dec 2013, 09:47
but for your govern, things are not really going your way nowadays in Europe!!!.You've lost me there. What exactly are you referring to?

There can be little doubt that in many ways the quality of life in France is better than it is in much of the UK and other countries, but there are significant downsides particularly if one has to work in France.

An excellent railway system if you want to get to or from Paris, pretty dire if your journey is cross country. Excellent roads that you pay tolls for, otherwise many of them are fairly mediocre and in rural areas some are in appalling condition and very badly signposted and potholed.

An excellent health service but very expensive, deceptive of course as the cost at point of delivery is low, it's all paid for up front in those outrageous social charges.

Etc ...........

Andy_S
4th Dec 2013, 10:13
.....there needs to be a change of attitude to work and entitlement - at the moment this is a country where a builder still doing light work at the age 56 is considered so exceptional he's featured in a TV report on retirement age. The world is moving on and sadly the country is in real danger of being left behind.

Yup.

However p***** off the French are right now, are they actually willing to accept profound cultural, economic and lifestyle changes? I suspect not.

toffeez
4th Dec 2013, 11:03
It's a country where the people accept (expect) the state to be at the centre of their lives.

No politician of any colour ever says the state has no place deciding working hours or holiday entitlement. It's a given, like the assumption that failing companies should be bailed out.

A substantial category of workers exists that companies can't fire unless they've committed a faute grave: almost criminal misconduct.

The country is unwilling to learn from the success of others, especially Asians. The lack of flexibility is shocking. Truly stuck in time past.

OFSO
4th Dec 2013, 16:22
http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu287/ROBIN_100/EU_zps74510508.jpg

Hussar 54
4th Dec 2013, 18:34
Maybe everything after the OP should be on our fiendly Hamsterwheel thread ?

Me ?? Said it on here many times before and will say it again....

For all its faults, and there are very, very many, if I have to live somewhere in Europe then France ticks all my boxes !!

The Fatherland ?? Lazy, preening, smug automotons who are even more inefficient than Pedro, Nikos, Giovanni and, yes, Pierre....Don't believe me ? Go try to live and work there....

The UK ?? Gone down the toilet compared to what it was, and the current government seems more inclined to just flush it than fish it out...Very sad....Used to be a great country to live in.... But now ?? Third world and getting worse....

Benelux ?? C'mon....I'm not that desperate yet....

Scandiland ?? Too cold for me....And if you enjoy a beer and a smoke, like me, you need to own your own oil well or bank these days....

Iberia ?? Well....Suppose it might have been on our list years ago, just glad we didn't buy that holiday home in 2000 when we seriously considered it....Would now have a big hole in our retirement fund....

Points east ?? Not that desperate yet....

Points south east ? Bandit country in my opinion....Too many Muscovites with their own agenda....

Switzerland and Austria ?? You know, I actually like a laugh from time to time....

All of which brings me back to here....Socialist merde or Right Wing merde, still the best quality of life in Europe....

CelticRambler
4th Dec 2013, 20:02
An excellent railway system if you want to get to or from Paris...
... and provided you don't plan to do anything in the capital before 10am or after 5pm. :rolleyes:

However p***** off the French are right now, are they actually willing to accept profound cultural, economic and lifestyle changes? I suspect not.

I beg to disagree. In my experience, it's not a deliberate refusal (on the part of the 'common people' to accept change but simple ignorance of the options available. Between the politicians and the media, there is a constant reinforcement of the notion that France is a world leader in everything. But take any reasonably normal Frenchman on a guided tour of the outside world and he is quickly convinced that (maybe) things are better elsewhere.

Some folk, on a personal level, switch to internet shopping and get their purchases cheaper from the UK; some import their raw materials from Ireland or Switzerland because the quality is superior; some adopt a positive "anglo-saxon" attitude towards their customers without disrupting the local dynamique too much.

Yet this "one day at a time" strategy counts for very very little when the organisations that are supposed to support business development are stuck in their own little world and pass the buck whenever possible. A case in point: I would dearly love my passengers to know about the area around the local airport - it's full of undiscovered treasures and huge potential for anyone interested in recreational tourism - so I appoached the local tourist development agency with a suggestion that we cooperate in some way.

"Non, Monsieur," was the response. "Our mission is to promote the area to the French, not to foreigners. You need to contact the Régional tourist board - they promote the Région abroad."
That's all very well, but seeing as the Région includes a big chunk of the Loire Valley, just about all it's resources are channeled into perpetuating the stereotype and our corner gets forgotten about. The same mentality is found in so many different services publics it's extremely difficult to build up momentum for any project and unless it can survive on a tiny customer base, it won't survive ... if it even gets off the ground.

OFSO
4th Dec 2013, 21:02
Iberia - just glad we didn't buy that holiday home in 2000 when we seriously considered it....Would now have a big hole in our retirement fund....

Not if you bought the right property in the right place. In 1996 we paid under €200,000 for a residential (not holiday home) villa with indoor swimming pool, three bedrooms, four bathrooms, two kitchens - now valued by two independent estate agents at over three times that price.

How much has YOUR place in France increased in value ?

Two groups of friends in the Ariege and Pas de Calais tell us of drops on the order of 40% in the value of their houses in past ten years as all the British pack up and leave France.

MCR01
4th Dec 2013, 22:20
The suicide rate in France is about double that in the UK.
France has high endemic unemployment (especially for the young).
Running a legitimate business here in France seems to be very stressful experience.
Could these things be connected?

BenThere
4th Dec 2013, 22:31
Could these things be connected?

Loosely, maybe. But Southern France is another entity. Those from Avignon and South and East are a privileged set immune to the worldly travails external to them.

They'll always have the olive oil, the soap, the vegetables, the plat du jour. All that regardless of what the outside world does. Think about that as you plot your retirement plans.

Hussar 54
4th Dec 2013, 22:41
About the same percentage profit....

Current house bought 1998 for equivalent of approx € 115k, spent about €13k since then and now worth about €350k - €375k....Turned down €425k three years ago, then prices dropped and we thought we'd made a mistake, but prices bottomed last year and are now increasing again, mainly retirees leaving the Nord and Benelux and heading for the sun....

Having said that, nothing like the size of your own home - just two beds, two baths....The value is in the location with a gorgeous beach at the end of the garden and we're in Provence-sur-Mer as the the local Agences like to call it....Can't really compare the Var with Calais when it comes to quality of life, even the agricultural countryside in the Pas de Calais....Arriege, on the other hand is beautiful but one of the most sparsely populated Departments in France - can't imagine it is ever easy to find buyers for houses unless to artists or hermits, so now must be almost impossible in the current economic climate.....But unlikely that your UK friends will find houses of the same size / desirability in the UK for less than twice the price, unless somewhere like Middlesborough or Blackburn - yes I've visited both, even more depressing than Calais !!

The Spanish affair was a construction project near Puerto Banus when we thought about going there when I was offered a job flying out of Malaga and we thought about buying something we could then use for holidays rather than renting something....We visited last year for the first time since then on the way to the Algarve, and the actual house we were thinking about was for sale at less than the price thirteen years ago....

Our real profit has been our investment in the UK....Bought it semi-derelict 1997 for £ 175k when we saw it when we were visiting friends near Henley who had a holiday home here in our village....We spent about £80k on repairs and renovations, paid for by selling half the garden to a builder, and we've had tenants every day since....Now worth about £1.4 million and we're currently collecting just over £4k per month from renting....I struggle to understand how the UK can decline as it has, but still has impossibly high real estate prices....Our daughter has been there for almost six years now - no way can she afford to buy a house similar to the one she is renting, even though both her and her boyfriend both have good jobs with good salaries....

We've been very lucky, I suppose, that the job in Spain fell through and seeing as we haven't spent even one night at the house in the UK....

wiggy
5th Dec 2013, 09:49
toffeez

It's a country where the people accept (expect) the state to be at the centre of their lives.

No politician of any colour ever says the state has no place deciding working hours or holiday entitlement. It's a given, like the assumption that failing companies should be bailed out.

Aye,

Just for you - from this morning's news, perhaps another example of the squeaky wheel getting the grease:


Près de 2 milliards d'euros pour la Bretagne (http://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2013/12/04/pres-de-2-milliards-d-euros-pour-la-bretagne_3525518_823448.html)

Very short approximate precis of the situation so far as I understand it.: Government introduces "Ecotax" on lorrys using Main roads across France, haulage industry in Brittany claims that due to the geography and road system their region in particular is going to be unfairly penalised. Poultry industry claims they are/will be undercut by Brazilian imports. Pork industry complains they are being undercut by German imports.....Bretons take to the streets in their thousands wearing red bonnets (has historical significance, e.g. Revolt of the papier timbré (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_papier_timbr%C3%A9))......Result: Government finds money from somewhere....

I wonder who is going to pay?......Over to Capetonian for an answer to that one.

(For those that don't know a milliard is a billion, or a thousand million in old English speak :bored:)

Andy_S
5th Dec 2013, 11:03
I beg to disagree. In my experience, it's not a deliberate refusal (on the part of the 'common people' to accept change but simple ignorance of the options available.

But will they accept working longer hours? Later retirement? Less job security? Will they accept competing with overseas businesses rather than expecting subsidies? Will they accept uncompetitive businesses being allowed to fail rather than being bailed out?

As you say (and good post BTW) there’s a notion, continually propagated by the establishment, that France is a world leader in many respects. Isn’t part of the problem that this has become so deeply ingrained in the French psyche that it has become a feeling of entitlement? The exception française?? That’s why I question whether the French are really willing to embrace profound cultural change. I think it will take more than a bit of internet shopping to change attitudes en-masse.

OFSO
5th Dec 2013, 11:22
The value is in the location with a gorgeous beach

Sounds good. We are on a steep mountainside at 200 metres asl with a view over 2000 sq kms down to the mountains south of Girona and snow-covered Mt Canigo (9000') to our west. 60% of the cars parked in front of drives in our urbanisation all year around have French number plates.

We have never thought "this is it, this is the place to spend the rest of our days" and for that reason make (a) periodic sorties into other countries (b) read tax digests (c) opinions from the OECD and (d) talk to locals; to look at houses for sale there.

Countries we have considered moving to include France, Italy and Germany. Suggestions that we might go there result in incredulous laughter from friends of ours here in Catalunia who are French, Italian or German. One German acquaintance thought deeply and said "how about Moscow ?"

cavortingcheetah
5th Dec 2013, 12:19
With regard to those who might be non UK residents but who own property in the UK, the Chancellor had this to say today:
Autumn Statement 2013: Osborne Slams Foreign Property Owners with Capital Gains Tax - IBTimes UK (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/527750/20131205/autumn-statement-cgt-foreign-property-tax-george.htm)
This sort of thing is one of the great draw backs of investing in Britain. The constant heaving of the dinosaur dung heap as the beetles keep turning it over looking for juicer morsels with which to gorge themselves.

toffeez
5th Dec 2013, 12:21
I'm convinced a big part of the problem is that the typical Frenchman simply doesn't know how the outside world functions.

He doesn't read the international press or watch foreign television. He gets his news filtered (intentionally or not) by the French media.

He's convinced Asian businesses get rich through sweatshop wages and dumping, rather than staff being educated and working smarter. It suits the French ego.

Capetonian
5th Dec 2013, 12:34
I'm convinced a big part of the problem is that the typical Frenchman is simply doesn't know how the outside world functions.
I'd take that a step further. The average Frenchman is barely aware that an outside world exists, and is certainly incapable of believing that it and its inhabitants, products and services are anything other than vastly inferior in all respects to the French.

It is this arrogant and unshakeable blind and misplaced faith in themselves that makes the French so utterly unbearable to work or play with, and is holding them back.

Ironically, those who cast off the shackles and move abroad are generally successful once they open their eyes to what is out there in the rest of the world. You only have to look at the global success of some French companies to see this.

Hussar 54
5th Dec 2013, 15:11
OFSO....

Your place sounds terrific....Wish we could get something like that here but would set us back serious money, even if we could find one within a km or so of where we are now....Don't want to leave the village, lots of good friends here and genuinely helpful ( French Swiss ) neighbours....

Know what you mean about forever....We've thought about Italy also, and a couple of years ago we spent some time looking in Calabria and in Sardinia....Really impressed by Sardinia....But then the sh*t hit the fan and....Let's see what another couple of years will bring before committing to anything...

Thought about the Algarve ?? We have a small place there, really like it and especially like the Portuguese people, and would spend more time there if it wasn't for the business being based in Toulon....BUT....The Poruguese Health Services - we're now in our early 60's and have started to think about these things - are vastly inferior to anywhere north of, let's say, Perpignan and Biarritz 'cos I've no idea about Spain....

But Germany ?? Germany ?? Frau H and myself are both German, I left mid-70's, but we both have families there, still, who we visit regularly....Hate the place, and as we've become more and more francophone, realised just how unlikeable so many Germans and day-to-day living there can be....A nice retirement home in the south, perhaps, next to Lake Titisee....But Germany ??!?

CAPE...

Absolutely 100% spot on correct !!

OFSO
5th Dec 2013, 15:51
Germany: I might be English by birth but lived in the Darmstadt area from 1968 - 1993. When I am being "awkward" (Mrs OFSO's definition) she calls me a Bloody German. I considered moving to the Bodensee area (which I know) but my German friends told me that the Finanzamt actually expects you to pay the taxes they ask for, that is amazing. And they expect you to provide evidence of your income, costs, expenses, etc., and don't take your word for it. What insolence.

One factor in where we want to live is nearness to Paris and London. At present we can get to Paris on the TGV in five hours, London in ten. First class return to Paris on the idTGV is under €80 if booked in advance.

My dream would be to have an apartment in Paris, on the Rue Cler, and live there full-time. Sadly we are missing a couple of million euros to make this reality !

airship
5th Dec 2013, 17:35
OFSO, so far as advice / expertise concerning avoiding taxes here in the EU / France etc., you're probably far more expert (as having probably had previous recourse compared to myself) to such consultations involving real tax experts.

Same goes for the French "wealth-tax".

I can only reply: "Rich man, camel, eye of the needle, entering heaven"... :zzz:

wiggy
5th Dec 2013, 17:43
Cape

A 100% from me as well. We hope we have equipped our British born but French educated offspring with adequate global overview but just sometimes, when the pressure is on at home (as in "empty the bins","try harder at your homework") , there's just a hint of resistance, though they've not yet resorted to wearing red hats.......;)

OFSO
5th Dec 2013, 18:31
I can only reply: "Rich man, camel, eye of the needle, entering heaven"..


Did you know that the "Eye of the Needle" was actually a very narrow gate into Jerusalem ? Some theorize that the needle Jesus was speaking of was the Needle Gate, a low and narrow after-hours entrance found in the wall surrounding Jerusalem. It was purposely small for security reasons, and a camel could only go through it by stripping off any saddles or packs and crawling through on its knees.

Heaven has changed a bit since then. I believe it now has power-operated gates opened by a platinum credit card. Wide enough to get a chaffeur-driven Rolls-Royce through.

wings folded
5th Dec 2013, 19:01
I'd take that a step further. The average Frenchman is barely aware that an outside world exists, and is certainly incapable of believing that it and its inhabitants, products and services are anything other than vastly inferior in all respects to the French.

It is this arrogant and unshakeable blind and misplaced faith in themselves that makes the French so utterly unbearable to work or play with, and is holding them back.

Ironically, those who cast off the shackles and move abroad are generally successful once they open their eyes to what is out there in the rest of the world. You only have to look at the global success of some French companies to see this.
Change "France" and "French" for American, British, (South African for all I know), and you will have the same outcome.

Idem many other countries.

OFSO
5th Dec 2013, 21:36
Hmmm..... in my experience the downtrodden British tend to think things are BETTER elsewhere, hence the Australian saying that "Brits love crying stinking fish in their own backyard". British certainly think that everything is more wonderful in the USA, and that Germans are more efficient.

CelticRambler
6th Dec 2013, 16:20
But will they accept working longer hours? Later retirement? Less job security? Will they accept competing with overseas businesses rather than expecting subsidies? Will they accept uncompetitive businesses being allowed to fail rather than being bailed out?

Longer hours? Yes - most French workers that I know want to work longer hours, and will do so illegally if they think they can get away with it; and as Capteonian says, any Frenchman who makes an effort to get out into the wider world - once he's got over the culture shock - usually does very well ... but rarely wants to go back.

There is an addiction to subsidies that the current Establishment is feeding rather than treating, but there is a growing acceptance that businesses will fail if they don't adjust to the modern world. This is matched by frustration on the part of business owners because the regulatory framework often does not allow them to do what they know they need to do.