Tuesday, 17 January 2012

What will France losing its triple A mean?

This information is taken from http://www.english.rfi.fr and I take no credit for it!!

French politicians are squabbling over how important Friday's downgrading by the Standard & Poor's rating agency is and who is responible. But what will it mean for ordinary French people and European institutions? And will it kill President Nicolas Sarkozy?

  1. France will pay more interest on state borrowing, scheduled to be 180 billion euros this year, further boosting state debt;
  2. Local authorities’ debts will get bigger – many owe large amounts to banks whose interest rates will go up – pushing up local taxes;
  3. State institutions, such as social security, will pay higher interest rates, as will companies that are all are part-owned by the state;
  4. Mortgages and other personal loans in France and other downgraded countries may become more expensive;
  5. Foreign investors, such as pension funds, may put their money elsewhere;
  6. Europe will have more austerity – finance ministers say they will agree a new treaty to tighten fiscal rules at the end of the month;
  7. Some European banks may be downgraded because their governments are seen as too risky to back them up if necessary;
  8. The European Financial Stability Fund - the eurozone bailout fund - could be downgraded since its rating depends on that of the six top-rated countries;
  9. Nicolas Sarkozy will die (electorally) - "If France loses its AAA, I'm dead," he told aides in October, according to Le Canard Enchaîné weekly.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Sea France

Ferry firm SeaFrance is to shed 127 jobs in Dover after it was liquidated by a French court and told to cease activity.

The Tribunal de Commerce decided SeaFrance's future after a bailout by the French government was ruled illegal by the European Commission.

The court also said an offer by a cooperative of employees was not acceptable.

Hundreds of jobs in France are also expected to be lost.

Three ferries were operated by SeaFrance on the Dover to Calais route. The service was suspended in November.

Conservative MP for Dover and Deal Charlie Elphicke said: "It is a real concern for the... people in Dover who have worked for SeaFrance and also their families.

"This is a difficult day and I think the heart of the whole community goes out to them.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Eurotunnel - thank you

We booked our usual October Eurotunnel crossing back in July of this year and as usual paid for the whole crossing by converting our Tesco Vouchers.

Come the morning of our planned departure and due to illness we are unable to make the crossing. I await the office to open and give Eurotunnel a call expecting them to tell me that I have lost my place and that is that. However, a very helpful woman informs me that as it is within 24 hours of our booked departure I can transfer the crossing to another day. I delay the departure for 48 hours at no extra cost and thank her very much!

Two days later and we still cannot make the crossing for the same reason and decide to cancel our trip. Again on the phone to Eurotunnel and am very pleased to be told that I can transfer the crossing to another date and all will be fine as long as we travel within 12 months of making the booking with no extra charges (unless the crossing I choose is more expensive).

After transferring my tickets for a February 2012 crossing I finish my call, and there is already an email in my inbox confirming the change.

Well done Eurotunnel - a great customer experience.

Thank you.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Local French Property Taxes for 2011

Local French Property Taxes for 2011

This time of year is not the best for post dropping through your door with two rather hefty bills due.

The first is the Taxe Fonciere which is due to be paid mid October, and the second is the Taxe d'habitation which is due by 15th November (or a few days later if you pay on the internet).

This page gives details of the average costs around France and any exemptions that you may be able to apply for.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

New holiday home tax scrapped!

Great news!

The new tax that was being planned by the French government has been scrapped.

The decision to abandon the idea was taken over the weekend at a meeting between President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Minister of Budget, François Baroin.

The meeting was also attended by a group of senators representing French nationals living abroad, who would also be caught by the new tax.

The actual cost to home owners would have only been a few hundred Euros a year, but it is a great relief to home owners who are already struggling with the increased costs in running a second home.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Fed up with toll queues when travelling through France?

Have you ever noticed this sign when waiting to pay at French tolls, and then seeing other vehicles drive up to the barrier and without stopping the barrier lifts and away they go?

Well, if you are a regular traveller through France then you may be interested in signing up to the scheme which will allow you to automatically pay for the tolls without having to fiddle about with cash or credit cards.

Sanef have recently started to advertise their transponders to UK residents which allows you to pay for the tolls through a direct debit scheme.

I have been using one of these boxes for about four years now and they really are fantastic. Although we tend to travel out of the summer season we still beat the toll queues and save plenty of time on our journey.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Yet another new tax to be voted on in July

Here is a report from The French Paper that a new draft law was unveiled on Wednesday that could introduce a new tax for non French tax house owners.

Basically it is looking to cut out the loop hole which allows home owners to declare and pay taxes in the country they are resident in which means that the French government miss out.

Now, we have recently had to start paying a 'Tourist Tax' which is, put simply, anyone who stays at La Pagerie should be taxed for each night that they stay with the odd exception. We are unable to increase the cost of the rental weeks to cover this extra tax so we end up paying for it.

With this new tax it is thought that it will be 20% of the 'base' value of your property which in our case will be an extra 400€ to 500€ per annum.

Add onto this the other taxes (d'habitation, fonciéres, taxe de sejour) then we will be looking at an annual tax bill of 3,500€ before any other cost.

Voting on this bill is in July 2011 - personally I am keeping my fingers crossed for a no vote but I am fully expecting a yes vote!