France: French taxes: 'Encaisse a l'etranger'- what does it mean?:
When we arrived in France, we were told (by our boss at the time) that my husband's entire salary counted as 'encaissee a l'etranger' on the tax forms, as it is direct deposited from a US company into a US bank and then a portion is transferred to our French account to pay bills and such.
Now, we are being told (by a different boss) that our salary is not all eligible for that, that ONLY the salary made while we are physically IN the US can be counted as 'encaissee a l'etranger'.
Which is the case?
To make it even more confusing, I now have an income as well (freelance writing/editing)- paid in France, but to my US-based company. How should I treat that on my taxes? (as just regular income or does that count as 'encaissee a l'etranger' since the entity receiving it (my US-based business) is American?
We can't afford an accountant and the question is rather urgent, as we just found out about the change and may have to redo our taxes depending on the answer.
Thanks for any help you can give!
France: conflicting info on what constitutes 'foreign income' in France.:
We've live in France for almost 12 years (married with 3 kids, one of whom just turned 19). Throughout this time, my husband's salary has come strictly from the US, direct deposited into a US bank account. We file taxes in the US and in France.
When we went to fill out our first tax forms in France, we were told that ALL of our income needed to be first put on the pink form (revenues encaisse a l'etranger) and then that number entered also into the regular box for 'salaires'.
NOW (last year), we are told (by people in a similar situation who go to different accountants) that is not correct- that we can't declare all of our income as 'encaisse a l'etranger', only income we earn while we are physically IN the US- like the 4-5 weeks we may be there on a vacation or something- THAT is the ONLY income we can enter on the 'foreign income' form in France.
So we're getting different answers from different accountants in France- which is pretty normal for here, lol.
But what is the answer? As a result, we aren't imposeable here (we do pay the tax d'habitation, taxe fonciere- as homeowners, etc). In my mind (and this may be faulty logic), 'encaisse a l'etranger' means the place where the money went into the bank... (for me, if it were direct depoisited into a French account, that may not be the case...), but American company into American account = 'encaisse a l'etranger' (to me).
Our US income is such (as in pretty darn low, lol) that when we fill out our taxes THERE, we are under the ceiling for Foreign income (which we don't *try* to claim, we use TurboTax or Taxact which each ask a series of questions and the program determines what you are eligible for).
So we have people who are telling us that we should be paying taxes somewhere (which should be true, I think), but why aren't we taxed in the US? I NEED ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS FIRST, bc It gets more complicated (there is more to the story)... :-)
France: Dispute customs:
Is there a way to dispute the amount of customs charged on a package? I left my iPod (2 years old) in the states and my MIL shipped it and the customs are almost *more* that what it would cost to replace it. I can provide proof of purchase.
Or am I just out of luck?
France: Working for US company in France on Long Term stay visa:
when we got here, the rule was you *have* to get on the French medical system if you're here 5 years or longer. Your kids are completely eligible for French public school, no problem.
As long as you are financially independent and get a carte de sejour every year, you can live here indefinitely with no French job. If you are the worker of the family and wish to get benefits from the CAF, you can, but you have to go through what's called a 'regroupement familiale' which is basically a process proving you're here on your own means and not sucking off the French system (but once approved, you can suck away, lol!). If you get your regroupement, the 'nonworking' spouse (the one NOT under a US work contract) DOES then have the right to work.
Once you get your 10-year residence card (after your 5th annual carte de sejour) you then have the right to work, regardless of your US contract.
Hope that helped...
France: Desiring to Move to France:
we got ours in Chicago and it was a matter of going to the local police department, not the FBI, and getting a letter from them stating we'd never been arrested (or something to that effect).
France: Make new friends in your community:
I agree that for many of us that is true, but I also think that it would really depend on why you were here and for how long.
I'm going to digress here for a minute-
The wife/husband of a diplomat or an executive sent overseas for 6 months to France (or some other job that requires a move to France), who may not have a particular affinity for French culture, may need to create as home-like (ie Anglophone) an atmosphere as possible, just to survive the assignment.
Whereas a Francophile who really loves the idea of living here (or who may not necessarily *love* it, but will be here for a long assignment- over a year or 2), will find it necessary to develop and maintain their skill in the language.
Then, what you do, is get someone who wants to learn English (maybe through the OP's site) and set up an exchange- you practice French part of the time, they practice English, and everyone wins... :-)
France: Qwerty laptop in France?:
you can convert any keyboard to qwerty in the keyboard prefs of the control panel. It will *look* like an AZERTY, but act as a QWERTY. Obviously this is only feasible if you have the keyboard memorized, lol.
If you are going to be typing in both languages, it would be useful as well because you'll have the accents right there on the keys and not have to enter codes for them. When I was typing a lot in both French and English, I got to the point where I could *only* type in French on an AZERTY - I had a super-difficult time typing in French on a qwerty...
France: Fear of Walking Home Alone-- An American Phenonmenon?:
I totally agree- given the state of American network news, I always feel like (when we're in the states) that our home will be invaded while we watch TV, that every single man I see on the street is a potential rapist and that every stranger wants to rob me, kill me or hijack my car...
Most of the time I feel *much* safer walking around in Lyon than I do in the states. Especially in the predominantly 'French' quartiers.
That may sound offensive, but statistically, most of the violent crime here happens in immigrant/non-French quartiers and suburbs (including assault, aggression towards bus drivers, beatings, fighting and such).
In the French-populated areas, petty theft (NOT of the mugging variety), larceny, vandalism and the like seem to be the crimes of choice- crimes committed against properties as opposed those physically committed against the people who own them ...
France: Preschool in Paris:
I can't speak for Paris proper, but a lot depends on 2 things- your daughter's personality (outgoing or shy) and how long you plan on staying. If she's outgoing and chatty and has no problems joining a group, a school with more French than English shouldn't be a problem. Our daughter was 3 when we moved here, started right in a French preschool and was mostly fluent by Christmas. But, she had a real desire to communicate. Contrast this with our son who was 7 and content to live in the clouds and who has just now (in the last 2-3 years) really gotten comfortable with the language (he's 16!). So take a good, hard and especially OBJECTIVE look at your child. I say objective, because it's easy to say, "Oh, he/she is smart, no problem." I can't emphasize enough that at the beginnings and a very young age, *smart* really doesn't enter into it at all, really. My son was an early reader and talker, but that had *zero impact* on his learning a foreign language, both from a personality standpoint (at the beginning when he first started in school here at age 7) to a natural gifting standpoint (strong with language or not). We've come to discover, in fact, that foreign languages just aren't his thing - he's been in German and Spanish and they are his weakest subjects BY FAR.
Also, how long you're planning to stay is huge- if you are on a short-term assigment (2 years or less), that would make more of an impact than someone who's planning to be here indefinitely/for the long haul.
How long will you be here?
France: Virtually New Appliances For Sell:
where exactly are you located?