Asking the impossible

ridiculous French tax invoicePictured is an envelope and part of a tax invoice it contained, which I received on Saturday. Just to confirm, that’s Saturday 18th December. As you can see by the stamp on the envelope, the letter was sent on 15th December. Apart from it taking three days to travel just 30 kilometres, check out the date on the tax bill. The text pretty much translates to “final payment date” which is, impossibly, 15th December. That would be three days before I even received the invoice.

On top of that, this is the third separate bill for tax that I’ve had in a few months (each sent from different centres), and this one still has my old address from more than a year ago despite notifying them of my change of address more than once. What is this tax even for??

I’m stopping myself from ranting, swearing and shouting like a crazy lady because if I start, I may not stop, and I don’t want to end up in a mental institution. Imagine the scariest wierdo you’ve ever met and multiply it by ten and that’s roughly how I’m feeling right now. Alternatively, I could shrug and say “c’est la vie” but I’m not French: I haven’t grown up with this lame excuse for a taxation system and I don’t know how much longer I can stand it. Next country?


I’m a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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9 comments on “Asking the impossible
  1. Leslie says:

    Wow. Just wow. I feel your pain, truly and honestly.

    Today, we were ordering custom gifts at the photo center at Geant and the staff members told us to return in an hour and a half to pick them up. We returned after an hour just to be sure that they were working on our gifts (that’s how leery we are of the French service here) and they told us we’d have to come back two days later because the machine broke. We asked them why they didn’t bother to call us as we had left our phone number, but they had no answer. It’s just one of the many, many frustrations we face.

    Stay strong… stay strong…

  2. Wendy says:

    Leslie, logic seems to go out the window when it comes to any sort of communication, doesn’t it. Either nobody says anything or everyone talks over each other! I hope you get your gifts printed before Christmas!

  3. Lovely rant – that might just win you Rant of the Week Award tomorrow!

    All the best


    P.S. Don’t give up – a nice cold glass of wine and it’ll all seem just like some silly little error that you can blame on Sarkozy (which sort of wins you 1,000,000 brownie points and makes you soooo…. French at the same time!)

  4. You’re the third person I know to get a tax bill after the payment date (the other two were RSI). I also hear that there’s a scam going on involving fake bills, so I’d check that it’s kosher before paying if I were you.

  5. Ha! So typical of the Tresor Public, we’d be wrong to expect them to get anything to us on time!!!

  6. Wendy says:

    Keith, winning Rant of the Week Award would indeed cheer me – the thought alone has!
    Misplacedperson, I just called to confirm it’s real (thanks for the good advice) and to change my address and the girl was actually very helpful: *they* have the right address, but another place doesn’t – of course I have to call them now.
    PigletinFrance, I explained to the woman I just spoke to that the cheque will be late and before I could explain *why* in slow French, she interrupted to say it’s no problem. RARE!

  7. Absolutely ridiculous! Keith, definitely give her the rant of the week! And wow–the woman at the tax place said no problem? Maybe there is a Santa Claus after all. Merry Christmas, Wendy and Bruno! Happy New Year, too!

  8. dawn says:

    Hi Wendy, I am pleased to hear i am not the only one paying my bills late ! I kept ringing Tresor Public in Thones and could never get an answer ! so i sent an email which got sent back to me. So i had to send the email to Lyon offices and they forwarded onto the office at Thones, which their reply was ” no problem, we will not charge the 30 euro overdue charge and you can send two cheque’s for payment one in Dec and the other in Jan and if you send us your bank details we’ll sent a direct debit for next year! so after my rant, and eventually after my response i felt much better, ah the french are so laid back sometimes.

  9. dawn says:

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year x see you soon for some fun skiing

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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