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Tax inspection - 4BA / 4BL - questions


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Hi all

We've been inspected by the impots!

The particular issue is that in our 2018 (for 2017) declaration we did not complete box 4BA and BL on the main form. We did complete box 8TK, but ( I can't remember now why not) did not complete 4BA and BL.

The adviser also says that we failed to complete rubrique 6 on 2047 - I have no idea what this is as we have never gone near the 6s.

Can anyone tell me:

What do boxes 4BA and BL mean?

Should we have been completing them all this time? We have for subsequent declarations.

The impots claim we owe them €5000+as a result of this error. It seems a bit steep on €9000 rental income from the UK.

Our situation is quite straightforward: we are resident in France since 2008, working and paying taxes. We've rented out 2 apartments in the UK. That income, plus a small dividend, are the only UK income we have. We have always declared on 2042 and 2047.


And what is a régime réel?
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I suggest you go and chat to your tax office if it's open.

Google will be your friend up to a point but it would be better if you can get someone to talk you through it and answer your questions as they occur to you. For instance re box 6 on cerfa 2047 this takes you through declaring foreign income step by step


and includes the explanation

"Vous y indiquez les revenus imposables en France dans les rubriques 1 à 5 :

traitements, salaires, pensions, retraites, rentes, rentes viagères à titre onéreux

revenus des valeurs et capitaux mobiliers

plus-values imposables en France

revenus fonciers imposables en France

revenus des professions non salariées imposables en France (bénéfices d’exploitations agricoles, de professions industrielles, commerciales ou artisanales, de professions non commerciales)

Vous devez reporter ces valeurs dans les rubriques correspondantes du formulaire de déclaration 2042.

Si la convention fiscale entre la France et l’autre Etat prévoit la suppression de la double imposition, vous complétez les rubriques 6 ou 7 du formulaire 2047."

Régime réel is basically where you deduct actual expenses as opposed to applying fixed rate allowances, but again, it would be better if you could get the tax office to explain what this means to you in practice and which rules in particular you need to know.

Hopefully when you've amended the forms it'll turn out you don't owe them all that money at all.
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If you search here you will find many posts on declaring UK rental income. This is one of the most comprehensive http://services.completefrance.com/forums/completefrance-forums/cs/forums/3667511/ShowPost.aspx

This is the official guide used by the tax office https://www.impots.gouv.fr/portail/www2/fichiers/documentation/brochure/ir_2020/accueil.htm

download the PDF version and you can search for the relevant tax form lines

From https://www.economie.gouv.fr/entreprises/regime-reel-normal-imposition

Le régime réel normal concerne les entreprises soumises à l'impôt sur le revenu ou à l'impôt sur les sociétés. Il est le régime par défaut des entreprises dont le chiffre d'affaires hors taxes est supérieur à : 789 000 € pour les entreprises de vente et de fourniture de logement.
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Thank you all. I am sincerely hoping that we have made a mistake and that we can clear it up in a meeting.

Our rental income is always under 15K. But the apartments are - as most are in the UK - furnished, which has seemed to cause much confusion for french tax accountants / lawyers / advisers over the years. The question of gross / net has also been unresolved - our account asked for net but I suspect we should have been using gross...

We did have an accountant complete the return several years ago, and have tried to just copy his method each year as the UK situation has not changed. But every so often we come up against an official who objects, or I read something on here, or the form changes, and we do something slightly different... and it all falls apart, revealing the true depth of my ignorance!

Mr CF will be going to meet the Impots face-to-face to thrash it out (and hopefully work out exactly how we should be completing the form in the future to avoid heart attacks being delivered on a Friday by lettre recommandé!

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CF, you are entitled to a ‘ defence’ of Droit à l’ erreur’ if you have made a genuine error which sounds like the case. This should mean they cant fine you or it will be mitigated if no fraud is involved.

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CF - Years ago my father had a problem with them and they want a few thousand Euros off him. He got lots of advice HERE and there but the best advice he received from an ex forum member was to take a translator and not to rely on his O Level French especially as he didn't have any. You may well speak perfect degree level French for all I know but if you don't take one.

First thing is it shows you are taking it very seriously and it's a sort of respect thing. Childish perhaps but flattery often gets you what you want. Secondly they will understand more of the terms better and can not only clarify things quickly but speed up the outcome. So at the end of the day he walked out not having to pay anything but a crib sheet on how and where he should fill in his tax return each year and told if there were changes they would let him know. It cost around €30 for the translator on a hourly rate plus €60 Euros for a slap up dinner which against a possibly of paying €2,000 seemed rather cheap.
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Chocfish wrote the following post at 08 Jan 2021 13:25:

Our situation is quite straightforward: we are resident in France since 2008, working and paying taxes. We've rented out 2 apartments in the UK. That income, plus a small dividend, are the only UK income we have. We have always declared on 2042 and 2047.

It does appear that you have been filling out your tax forms completely wrongly.

From the Fisc's point of view you have been claiming a credit .. via 8TK .. when you haven't declared the income from which you are asking to be credited.

You have been given good advice .. take a translator with you. This can be cleared up and, as a bonus, you should learn how to fill in your future forms.

Do take with you info regarding your payment of UK tax on the income from the flats .. it might help the Fisc understand your situation.
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A translator, really. Looking back on posts, Chocfish has been in France since a least 2014 and that is a long time.

After that time surely all of us is capable of going to see the tax inspector and show that we are taking this seriously, without paying someone who may or may not be up to the task.

Ofcourse it is complicated, it always is, especially when they are demanding money like this. And don't think that french people understand this little lot either, many do not. I always worked in accounts, and yet with british tax forms, I have not a clue as to what they want sometimes.

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I think the important thing is for Chocfish to understand what went wrong, for him (or her) and the fisc to come to an agreement on what the calculation should have been and whether any tax is owed, and for Cf to know how to avoid this happening again. Whether or not that requires an interpreter, only Cf can assess.

Muddling through your tax form any old how year after year knowing you might be getting things wrong isn't a great idea, it's an accident waiting to happen and it's not even necessary because the tax office is always there to help you fill your form in. Time to get on top of it and stay on top of it in the future :-) you will feel tons better.
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That's very patronising.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, for some that might be learning languages - and good for them - but for others their forte's lie elsewhere.

Can you build or repair computers, design and build communications and electronic gear, strip and rebuild car engines and gearboxes, gut a house and rebuild it including plumbing and electrics etc?

I can do all that - and more - yet despite 11 years in France, and numerous attempts at learning the lingo, an abysmal level of retention meant that by the time I left I could still barely hold a basic conversation.

It's the same here in Spain but being a decade older I'm not even trying to learn Spanish but then it's far less necessary here than in France.

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Hi AnO
Thank you so much for that, you made my OH's day.  He is so good and a self-taught 'natural' at all the things you mention but also really struggles with the language, despite taking many courses and really trying.  I, on the other hand, just love learning French but, in his words "cannot cope with anything that has more than one working part".

I guess, as you say, we all have our strengths (and weaknesses).  Fortunately, I was able to correspond with the Tax Office to sort out a problem which would have been more difficult if I didn't speak French but, even so, I do find it stressful sorting out 'the tax' every year and our affairs are very basic, so I do sympathise with Cf.

Am glad Spain is working out for you - have followed your posts in the past.

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Really Idun that's typical English arrogance for you but never mind you will get over hopefully one day. There are many Brits who have lived in countries for far longer and never bothered. I have no idea what level French the person speaks all I would say is I can manage short conversational French and nothing more but then I don't have to because I don't live there. Even in German inn which I am far more fluent in certain situations I will have a friend because there are times when the depth of language skills go beyond me although that is getting less and less. It is often said the English are the worst at learning another language certainly those beyond a certain age on the basis they still believe in Empire therefor the world should speak English.
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Arrogance, really?  Moving to another country and not learning the language is to me the height of arrogance. Because there would appear to be an expectation that those of that country should adapt and cater for someone's either fear of rollocksing it up, or simply cannot be 'rsed.

 And that is all I can think of for not learning.

And IF anyone thinks I am in anyway doue with languages, well, I have enough problems with my mother tongue, 'english', and french well, I arrived with 5 words, none really any use, and I just got on with it, and my did I rollocks it up a lot, mangled it royally, and even now I can do just that.  And yet I can hold a conversation with anyone at all in french.

My french friends take the mickey sometimes, not nastily, but they, like me, cannot stand all the foreigners who arrive and don't try. And I feel the same about those who arrive to live in the UK and don't learn english or any of the other native languages on these isles which is spoken in their chosen home.

We did get a little help for just over our first year then we were on our own, in three years, we had 2 children and had a house built.

So from this woman who speaks french like a vache espangole, out of basic respect for the country in which we chose to live, I knew that in spite of my inability with languages, if I was prepared to do my best and get stuck in that it should work out. AND it did.

How can one get the best of one's adopted new home, if not able to  chat happily to one's fellow residents or understand the telly and read the language, because some information is very very important in one's life. And about that chatting in a village, gossip in a village is VERY IMPORTANT, as things that the Mairie or DDE are considering could well affect one's own life.

Being able to communicate with the authorities, banks, and medical people, surely that is very important. I don't believe that it is up to them to speak english, what if things get lost in translation, not their fault, they know the words in french.

So calling me arrogant, seems rather arrogant to me, and I wouldn't expect you, as a non french resident to speak french. You didn't chose to live in France.

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Ouf, i didn’t realise my ability (or not) to speak French was up for discussion, but fair enough. I have a severe hearing loss, and despite being appareillée with very good hearing aids, it has certainly had an impact on my learning French over the years. I’m registered as handicapped with the MDPH here. Mr CF is fluent, but we split the french admin with me doing as much as I can - clearly not very well!

It’s a bit of a leap to assume every Brit who doesn’t become fluent in a few years is doing so wilfully. Communication is a complex thing. My french is fine in certaine circumstances (listening to a gouvernement announcement at home with headphones attached to the tv) and not so good in others (masks are a nightmare as I can’t lip read or see facial expressions - I’ve pulled back in some nascent friendships at the school gate this year because I just cannot understand what is being said at all, I just drop and run now unf). we live in a big city with lots of bilingual contacts. Most of my friends are English speakers. My workplace is fully bilingual. I’m not likely to need to talk to the maire ;-)

Thanks for all the help - hopefully this will be the last year I need it!

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Chocfish - My dad was the same. Anything to do with building or electricity he was fine, ask him in French and he wouldn't know. By dad was a clever man but could not learn languages. My Great Grandad spent years in France during WW1 and didn't speak any. But it's not just them and French. I find it a pain translating for workmates when out with German friends. Fortunately there are other Ex Prats in the groups who also translate. One thing our company does insist on is at work everyone speak, reads and writes in English. The only place you hear German is in the canteen.

I didn't know what standard of French language skills you have and from what you have said and for the price I would recommend you get a translator (defiantly not a mate, can cause more problems later). There is nothing shameful about using one. If you do it yourself and you miss a word in the wrong place you could potentially end up in a worse mess and that will be, in their eyes, your fault and they will say they told you and if you didn't understand it's not their problem.

I personally know of more than one occasion where somebody has been diagnosed at the doctors wrongly because they used the wrong word and didn't really understand. The biggest problem I found was speed, if you think the French speak fast try German or Spanish.

Best of luck and ignore those bigots who believe if you live in a country you speak that language perfectly and don't believe they have never made a mistake.
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These discussions always annoy me.

I've worked as a language teacher so I know that some people have a blind spot about languages. It's a left side of the brain/right side of the brain thing.

So I would never condemn a person who has tried to learn but whose brain is the wrong shape or whatever. We cannot change the shape of our brains.

To me, that is not the point.

The point is, to have a strategy to mitigate a lack of language skills.

I knew a couple who retired to France, weren't gifted at languages and were past the age where learning comes easy, but they learned the basics and they were good communicators because the will was there. The husband in particular was a sunny soul who despite his lack of vocab and grammar always managed to make himself understood - gestures, pictures, mime, a few words of English whatever - and people responded in kind, no offense ever given or taken. They made friends locally, in fact he joined a ten pin bowling team; all the other blokes were Bretons with barely a word of English between them until he taught them a few, and it was great to see him becoming good mates with them across the language barrier I am sure the couple thoroughly enjoyed their time in France although him probably more than his wife..

But I have also known people a lot less willing to put in the effort and I can't help thinking what a strange life it must be, not knowing what's going on around you, not being able to understand callers on the phone or letters through the post, not understanding billboards, road signs, public information announcements. I don't actually even like going on holiday in a country where I don't speak the language because I feel potentially vulnerable. And the health crisis has highlighted this, because it's so important to keep up to date with the rules as they are announced in the French media. Having to rely on other people to filter information to you, is not an ideal situation to put yourself in..

Sorry I am rambling on but my point is that what's important is having a communication strategy that meets your lifestyle needs. In the OP's case, he is in a multilingual environment so that is his strategy pretty much sorted at a stroke. Other people are naturally good communicators and even without fluent French they still have the resources to cope. What I don't think is wise is not botherhing to work out a robust strategy and expecting other people to do it for you. If you choose to move to another country it is your responsibility to ensure you are equipped to integrate sufficiently to meet your obligations there, which includes understanding the rules and doing all the things that a responsible autonomous member of society is expected to do. A person who doesn't know what is going on around them and what they have to do, is a potential liability.
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