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Stan Streason

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Everything posted by Stan Streason

  1. As a matter of interest I have just aquired a Range Rover Evoque and the handbook says the headlights do not need adjusting for overseas travel.  One more instance of making as many parts universal as possible?
  2. I know its probably not the done thing and we fell into this with a bit of luck. We have become great friends with an english couple who have lived in our village for over 10 years. (It also helps that he is a builder).  Having someone already immersed in village life who can introduce you to the other residents; tell you what that really official looking letter actually means; introduce you to and intervene on your behalf with the mayor and generally recommend and deal with local tradesmen when a panic (hornets nest or burst pipe) occurs and you are 500 miles away, is extremely comforting.
  3. 2 points here.  My French is passable (for a mere holiday home owner) but the time my cash card was eaten by an ATM at a supermarket, I was very glad to be able to speak to someone in English, there was no misunderstanding about what I had to do and they spoke to some kind of local engineer who retrieved it for me.  They assured me it was a machine fault and the card was ok to use again (which it was).  That in itself was pretty priceless. Do I know what I pay in charges?  Not really - its below my worry threshold.  If they put it up by €1.5 a month would I notice?  Probably not.  But would I disagree about a specific charge?  Yes because thats the rationale behind their whole offering.  Its fundamental and should be priced in - its not an extra.  Just like Ryanair its the little extras the whole time that get you riled not the total cost which is still often rediculously cheap.   Point 2  Negative goodwill in accounts is actually the opposite of what was posted earlier.  When you buy a business you get tangible assets (property, stock, debtors etc).  If you pay more than the value of these assets, that is called goodwill.  In theoretical terms goodwill is the right to earn profits in the future.  For example you buy an advertising asgency which makes £1m in profits.  It costs you say £5m.  All you get for your money is a few desks and chairs a lot of creative people some already signed up clients.  Apart from the furniture virtually everything is goodwill or the right to earn future profits. Unsurprisingly negative goodwill is the opposite, where you pay less than the value of the assets you receive.  In some cases it could be a good deal but remember you could have bought Woolworths for £1 a couple of years ago.  Lots of assets - plenty of negative goodwill but losing £1b a year.
  4. [quote user="pachapapa"] There was a storm with wind and flooding, before the two weeks of snow and sub zero temperatures. It sounds like there has been differential subsidence of your complete foundation slab putting your aerial out of alignment.[:P] [/quote] Goodness this sounds really serious.  May I have to have the whole house underpinned?  We do live on a slight hill and I would hate to think of the whole house slipping away.  I wonder if my insurance will cover this. Alternatively I could just pick the aerial up off the shelf and move around a bit. I think this may be the cheaper option but I will certainly bear your thought in mind should that not work.
  5. I had about a 3 month unplug during winter.  It was the same recently as it was in November when I left it. Sky is working fine - I have done a complete restall twice.  It must be the aerial (but although an indoor one it worked OK last summer).
  6. I have a sky box but also used to be able to get French channels (both digital HD  and analogue) through an indoor aerial.  I know there was a big changeover 6 months or so ago and the TV rescanned everything and I now have (about 20) French stations. Well all I have is the sound and a green screen.  (all the "info" is there as well). Is it just a case of me needing to sort a better bigger aerial or could there be a more fundamental problem.  My Samsung TV (3 years old) is set to "France". Its far from urgent but if nothing else I liked to watch the local weather forecasts.
  7. Did something similar to you but without the mortgage and not quite so much on the renovations side. The sensible investment would have been to purchase a buy to let in UK and go on holiday with the income.  Now we work every holiday and have stopped seeing the rest of the world. I am a great believer in the cyclical nature of the economy - its just this time its a bigger wheel taking much longer to turn. It may have cost you 250k and only be worth 180k but unless you cash in now and invest in something equally at the bottom of its market then your chances of gains from now on are even more remote. I have never worried too much about the currency rates - I assume my house will eventually be purchased by another englishman - the euro price may fluctuate but the sterling value (which is what I would want) will not deviate that much.
  8. Nothing protects against the determined professional thief who has targeted your house.  Just make sure you take the precautions your insurance company insists upon and make sure you are more than adequately covered.  Such thieves are fairly rare unless you display ostentatious wealth. Dogs do protect against the petty opportunist thief.  They just move on to the next property with less risk to themselves. Most houses in our small UK village have been burgled at some time or another but never us.  We have 2 big dogs both of whom are as gentle as anything with humans but one hates other dogs with a vengance.  If anyone in our villasge was asked - they would all know about our dog who barks like crazy when people walk past just in case they have a dog of their own with them. It cannot be total coincedence that we have never been touched. (now if that isnt tempting fate....)
  9. I am a TA user (and have left one or two reviews). Personally I would be very unlikely to book up somewhere unseen without me looking at TA.  I always seek out the bad reviews first but take them with a pinch of salt (just as good reviews).  I have never seen any establishment on TA without at least one "stinker", even hotels I have been to and thought wonderful. If 2 or 3 reviews out of 10 say your rooms are dirty or your food it inedible, I will take note - you may actually have a problem.  If poor reviews are totally different (one about wi-fi and one about TV) then I would tend to ignore them as personal foibles unless I was particularly in need of something.  In that case I would email to confirm, say, that the wi-fi was active.
  10. The eurozone  itself is not in too bad a state but as Dennis Turner of HSBC has said for years that a man with his head in the oven and his feet in the freezer is, on average, comfortable. Germany and its close neigbours run a trade surplus but can only do this because others run a defecit. (you cant have a lender without a borrower).  Rather than bail out in taxes the Germans could stimulate domestic demand and pull in imports from the other EU states, stimulating local growth and reducing defecits.  Trouble is, no one wants Metaxa brandy or retsina, you can only drizzle so much olive oil and who wants a Puegeot, Citroen or Renault when you can buy BMW, Mercedes or Audi.
  11. I am about as far from being a socialist as its possible to be but on the basis that governments need cash I dont see a tax on profits on second homes as particularly horrendous.  Over the long term some allowance for inflation would be fair but otherwise theres not a lot to complain about. Within the next 10 years or so I can see any gain as somewhere between unlikely and negligible so the amount of tax involved will be even less so.  30% of zero does not amount to a whole lot of cash.
  12. Once again I would recommend Britline.  It cost me about €30 for 2 cards and a monthly charge of about €3 that I probably could reduce if I were bothered.  Unless you are fluent in French Britline can be a godsend. Last year my card decided to refuse me any cash.  One call, in english reassured me there was nothing wrong with the account, nor the card; it was the CA ATM in the supermarket that had the fault. I could just have done it in French at a local bank but on the phone it would have been tough tough going.
  13. [quote user="Chiefluvvie"]Stan - All of the southern French regions changed over to digital yesterday 08 Nov 2011 - the old analogue transmitters have been turned off. So you'll need either satellite, TNT as an integral part of your TV or a TNT set top decoder. Chiefluvvie[/quote] At the risk of going even further off topic than some who have added to this thread.  I have always had digital and analogue channels directly through an aerial onto my tv.  I can still get sound but no pictures on the channels (or lots of squiggly lines anyway). - House is now shut so wont be a concern till spring at least.
  14. Hello again everyone - I have been to France for a couple of days to close up the house for winter.  (Of course that has now raised further questions - I am being chased for a fosse inspection and none of my French TV channels seem to work anymore). I think I am following those parts of the thread relating to my original query and thanks for the contributions. The discussions seem to boil down to 2 points, health and tax, about which I can be completely flexible. My UK side is fine.  I will continue to pay taxes in UK and although I may rent my house (I should be so lucky), I will have plenty of places to stay with 3 children and a father still in UK.  I now understand that I have to return home every 3 months just to say honestly that I have not been out of the country longer than that.  No problem  - £50 flight and stay with the kids.  I can get a series of 3 month travel insurances and use my EHIC. The French tax side seems to be that I need to register pretty much a nil return if I stay for more than 180 days in a tax year (which I could manipulate over 2 tax years). I think thats got it. Now what about those TV channels?
  15. Sorry I got here too late. We have a 40m x 10m pond at home and covered a chunk of it this summer with simple pond netting. (mainly to give the baby ducks some protection.)  It is now catching leaves and a huge expanse of this netting cost less than £40.
  16. [quote user="andyh4"] Back to Stan's original question and some of the responses.   There have been several mentions of 183 days (and also one of 90 days) and that then making you tax resident. The Double Taxation Treaty between the UK and France only makes mention of 183 days once - and that is in the section regaring employed persons.   So in fact the 183 days has no legislative basis for an inactive.   In fact if Stan wished to make his 4 x 12 week stays for just one year I think he could quite legitimately avoid becoming French tax resident - especially if family celbrations (briths, marriages, birthdays and Christmas were all celebrated in the UK.  But try doing it in the second year and you would be moving onto shifting sands.   Chiefluvvie's link to 90 days could be pertinent but my reading of it is that it is aimed at those trying to establish residence, rather than those wanting to avoid such establishment.   But for what it is worth, if it were me, I would take Coops advice about the S1 and also fill out a French tax form.  It isn't onerous and the DDT referred to above should avoid tax being paid twice.   Whatever you decide Stan - enjoy it.  [/quote] Thanks Andy (h4?).  And Coops. And I thought it was such an innocent little question. I know of someone who believes his residence should be based "where I keep my best set of golf clubs - what more proof could anyone need?". I suppose my concern about doing whatever I can to keep away from filling in any French forms, simple or otherwise, is not their difficulty in itself but knowing my luck, once you are in a system you can never get out and I would have to continue doing this long after my life returned to "normal" (and I will undoubtedly forget - and end up incurring penalties etc etc.)
  17. [quote user="cooperlola"][quote user="Stan Streason"] I can even take my UK car over as long as it comes back regularly and is properly insured. [/quote]Just be sure that's OK with your insurer.  Some have a 3 months in every year limit.  I don't think that Saga do though and I'm sure there are others.  4 x 12.5 weeks makes 50 weeks by my bad arithmetic.  Too many in one year - you'd be a French resident.  Sorry.  It has to be fewer than 6 months in one year. Easy legal way: Buy a French car and insure it in France.  Flog it again after a year or keep it at your French home for holidays. Get an S1 from the DWP and register for healthcare in France and get an EHIC  for European travel. Fill in a French tax return and save yourself some money in the process. [/quote] Of course - I got carried away with the healthcare argument and forgot my original concern was tax. What is the tax "year" in France?  Jan to Dec or some arbitrary date like 5th April?
  18. Goodness - I go and do some work - come back a day later and all hell has broken loose. Thank you everyone for your helpful comments and sorry for anyone who got locked into an internet argument. If and when we do this I will be a couple of years under state retirement age.  I will still own a UK property and stay registered with the surgery in my local village as I have been for the last 20 or so years. I am very flexible and would prefer not to fly close to the wind.  The advice gleaned appears to be take 4 x 12.5 week holidays (return to UK to see the kids within every 3 month period) and I can even take my UK car over as long as it comes back regularly and is properly insured.
  19. I aim to continue to be a UK resident.  I can get a 365 day travel cover for about £1,000 the pair of us even at our age.  If its something middling (ie between a typical GP trip (which I havent had for over 20 years but Murphys law dictates) and a full blown medical emergency) I am still only a 10 hour drive from "home".  If I had a long term medical condition - I would go home.
  20. In order to ease the shock of not having to go to work any more we were thinking that for a year post retirement we would live in our French house and let out our English home.  We could finally immerse ourselves into the area and hopefully get the language skills beyond the "getting by" stage. I currently have no desire to retire to France full time, I will earn no money in France and am happy(?) paying all my tax in the UK within a reigime I at least understand.  One thing I probably cannot get out of is buying a couple of French cars but other than that what else do I need to look out for to stop me coming under scruitiny from the French tax authorities? I am guessing but is it all down to how often and for how long I return to UK during the 12 months? (no problems with this). Thanks for your thoughts.
  21. [quote user="Anton Redman"]As far as I am aware if the furniture etc. Is included in the price then there is no deduction for its cost. The separate listing of furniture allows the purchaser to pay lower costs of acquisition. [/quote] Am I reading this right? I buy a house for 100 and for expedience pay an additional 2 for contents. Over the years I replace the cheap old contents with some swanky up to date ones spending 10 in the process. If I then want to sell all for 110, I pay capital gains tax on 8? If this is the case I would be daft surely.  Dont I just sell the house for 100 and have a seperate but unrelated deal for 10 for the contents?
  22. [quote user="cooperlola"]As with R/H's examples, if this were a normal business you'd be well within your rights to tell them to stick it up their....  I agree, Gardian, it seems scandalous that these people can get away with what is clearly their mistake.  Do we now all have to check our pension provider's sums?  It does stink, you are right.[/quote] The problem is that it is not the money of the people making the mistake.  A company fouls up then they rightly take the consequenses but when the mistake means there is no money left to pay someone elses rightful pension?  There is no good answer to this but having the right to claw back overpaymments is probasbly the least worst.
  23. Yes you do have to pay tax in UK.  Remember if husband and wife own it jointly the income will be split and (depending if you are under 65 or not) you have allowances of at least £7,475k each.  So the first £15k will be effectively tax free in UK.  
  24. My situation  With 10 years to retirement I found myself with a spare £175,000 burning a hole in my pocket.  What I did I used most of the money to purchase a lovely house in France and have spent the rest getting it how I want it. I spend £2-3k per year on taxes and maintenance  I work during my holidays, decorating, gardening or general maintenance. I have spent every spare holiday moment there.  We have not been anywhere else for 3 years My extended family book most of the summer period and have a succession of free holidays.  What I should have done  Purchased a second house in UK in my wife’s name (to use up her tax allowances) Rent it out for around £1,000 per month. Spend the income on any holidays I want.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my French house and I enjoy being there, but it is not a sensible economic decision.
  25. note to self - only kiss ladies with petite noses
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