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Help Re: Taxes Foncieres Please?


Valerie

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We received a taxes foncieres bill about 6 or 7 weeks ago and just before I was going to write out a cheque and send it off I noticed that although it was addressed to me, the property to which the bill referred was not ours but another hameau in the same village. I wrote to our local tresorerie asking them if they could change this and let me know if the charges would be the same. I have been worrying that they may send the bailiffs in to claim their money since I had heard nothing until today when I received a note from the local tresorerie saying they had forwarded my letter to Avranches. So I will probably have to wait ages to find out what's happening and will still worry about the bailiffs!

My question is this - I know that taxes d'habitation is variable dependant on the size of the property etc., but are taxes foncieres the same for every dwelling in the village? If so I could send off a cheque and just let them know that they should credit it towards our house and not someone else's! Otherwise I am going to spend the next few weeks worrying. I know an English man who just managed to stop all his furniture being auctioned off by the bailiffs - his French was so poor that he did not understand the letters he was getting from the tresorerie and it was only when our French neighbour noticed a notice in La Manche Libre saying that someone was going to have all of their belongings auctioned off due to non-payment of taxes that I managed to alert our friend who sorted it out within only an hour or two of losing everything. Apparently, they don't care if they don't get very much for your property - as long as their charges our paid - he has since heard that people hang around these sales like vultures because they know they will make a really fast buck!

Any advice out there please? Mazan - where are you?!

Valerie
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Well one thing is for sure you have certainly understood how the repossession system works here.

No not every house has the same taxe fonciere bill, these are all individual depending on the charges that are marked on the bill. I do hope you kept a photo copy of the bill you sent back and the letter you sent with it. You MUST always keep your own copies of everything in France.

Contact your local mairie and ask them who issues the taxe fonciere bills and then get in touch with the proper office. If necessary send them copies of what you have already recieved and sent along with a letter telling them that you want to pay up ASAP, and KEEP photocopies of all this too. In France it is usual practice when sending such letters to have them sent recorded delivery with avis de reception. Also with all the correspondance you receive you should keep the envelope in which it came.
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Heck, I'll start worrying now.
1. Had a bill for Tax d habitation, sent cheque off but forgot to sign it. Signed and returned the cheque but it would have arrived just after the 15th Oct. To date it does not seem to have been presented to the bank yet. Should I contact the local Tresor or the Grenoble one that sent the bill?
2. Habitation bill came to my english address, but I've not had the Foncieres one (and not been to France since 1st Nov). Is it likely to be sitting in my Mail Box. Again, who should I contact??? How much of a grace period do you get?
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There are several things to know about these two local taxes, Fonciere and Habitation.

All houses get them. The Fonciere is paid by the owner and the Habitation is paid by the inhabitant. You may be both.

They are both calculated on the supposed rental value of your property. This value is totally artificial and bears no relation to reality at all. You will pay more or less depending on what has been declared about your house by previous owners (size, number of bathrooms, garage, pool etc.). Some people in one village may pay 100 per year and people with a similar house in another village (or the same village for that matter) may pay 10 times that amount, or more. Don't look for any logic because there isn't any. Popular areas tend to have higher taxes.

Some deductions may be made for dependant relatives, low income etc.

The two bills come separately, around September and October.

Even if you wish to contest the payment the law requires you to pay first and argue later. If you don't pay on time you may be billed extra and this amount increases every month.

It is your responsibility to pay these taxes every year even if you haven't received a demand. Non-payment for whatever reason may incur an extra charge.

To ensure payment on time set up direct debit payments (prelevement automatique) from your French bank account. This is free and totally reliable. Forms are often included with the tax demand and payment is made on the last valid day.

If you don't want to use direct debit then be sure to take your cheque to the Tresor Public in person. Do not rely on the post.
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