So I love living here and all that, I really, really do, but the paperwork is enough to make a grown girl cry, sob uncontrollably in fact because I’m having a bad day, week, month whilst drowning in all the French bureaucracy.
I’m a control freak. I like to know what I’m doing. I like to know why I’ve got to do it. I like to know who (what organisation(s)) I have to do it for! I like to know what those organisations are and what they do!
So when I haven’t got a clue and letters arrive on a daily basis for our French Bed & Breakfast (obviously in French) then it’s about to blow my mind.
Not to mention all the scam letters demanding money!!
Fortunately I was forewarned about these at the beginning as they all look very convincing. A total of around €800 so far in mandatory demands!! You must pay and all that! A swift search on google and I find many other harassed people, such as I, trying to fathom whether it is genuine or false. My underlying understanding is it’s free to set up a business in France, so anything that demands money is immediately treated with suspicion until I can confirm one way or the other.
The government tax website doesn’t seem to like my laptop browser, so I’ve had to resort to using my phone to activate our online tax accounts. I’m using an up to date version of Chrome so I’m not sure what the issue is?
Finally I seem to be getting somewhere, or so I think, then another request for more information arrives, copy of passport, birth certificate and bank details. The former two items they’ve had already! My bad day seems to be repeating itself, it’s a bit like ground hog day! Give me strength!!
We have been into CPAM (registering for healthcare) on at least 5-6 occasions. We took every piece of information that has been asked for or that we possibly have and then they want something more. We provided the S1 from health, only to find weeks later that there is an S1 from HMRC. We are told you don’t need to make an appointment to take the information in; find the information and go in to be told we need an appointment!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s a good job neither of us have needed to see a Doctor since we got here and are both in reasonably good health (apart from being mentally exhausted of course).
At last I receive my social security number to set up the online account for what I believe is the equivalent of national insurance contributions……and it works for John but doesn’t work for me! It states I need to wait for the letter with my details to register, which is the letter that I have received and am using to try and register with! It doesn’t recognise my details and instead I must ‘ring this number’….which obviously is impossible as I don’t speak enough French to converse on the telephone.
There are days when this calm, patient, professional person could seriously throw it all out the window and set fire to it.
I have started to create a glossary of known organisations to date and their role, along with all the different potential taxes and whether they affect us. Yes I like structure. But it’s also the unknown, am I inadvertently missing something…someone. I guess time will tell….or I may pay a professional to just give everything the once over, particularly as I’m still working for a UK company as well and want to avoid double taxation.
There are many Facebook forums offering advice, but I’ve seen someone ask a question and get half a dozen different answers. Everyone’s an expert and that would only fry my mind even more.
But don’t let me put you off, it’s all doable, but when you are also working, renovating, running a chambre d’hote, and with the language barrier as well, it can sometimes seem like a huge weight on your shoulders and a bad day can make you forget the good. Anyway, ignore me, I’m just having a bad day…..