Thanks to the last-minute antics of Alex and Kate, a Franco-American couple I’m friends with, I was not late on declaring my French taxes.
I must admit I’m not very connected to French society. Yes, I live here, but all of my close friends are American. Some are assistants like me, some are au pairs and some are here for grad school. I don’t listen to the French radio, because it’s mostly American songs anyway, and I’d much rather listen to my MIKA cd or other favorites on my iTunes. Occasionally, I’ll pick up a free French newspaper in the metro – Direct Matin or Direct Soir, or À Nous Paris*. But I’ll also admit that I usually just look at the pictures without reading many of the articles.
So it’s no surprise that taxes caught me completely by surprise this year. It’s a little my fault; I should have asked about taxes when I received a document in the mail a few weeks ago that I would need for taxes. I meant to ask, but I am too organized: I filed it away in my “important things” binder and promptly forgot about it. Oops.
So last night, when I was hanging out for the last time with my friends before Kate and Libby left for the states (early this morning), Alex and Kate mentioned that they had to sign taxes before the deadline. Today, May 31st, by midnight. I freaked out quite a bit because I knew nothing about the system or what I needed to do. Alex was a life-saver, though, and emailed me the link to the forms I needed.
I printed them out at school today and checked with the secretary at the Inspection, who helped me figure out where to put the right info. I filled it out during my lunch break, and got some advice from my other teachers (such as attaching a letter to inform them to change my address to my future German address so I can get next year’s tax info at the right place).
Where’s Waldo? I mean, the tax center?
So when I got home, I finished up the paperwork and called Alex to ask about where to find the tax center (centre d’impôts) for my arrondissement (neighborhood/zip code). I had to bring it directly to the tax center because I heard from the teachers that it had to be stamped by the post office before 4:15 p.m., and I got off work at 4:30. I had done an online search and was confused because there were three or four different addresses on different sites. Alex had the same search problems, but recommended I go the the closest one.
Luckily, I ran into the concierge on the way out and I asked her about it. She answered right away: 9 rue du Docteur Lancereaux. That was also the conclusion Alex and I had come to, so I felt extra-confident. I hopped on my bike and pedaled up to the aforementioned street. 17, 15, 13, 11…7. Where was the 9? There was a door where the 9 rue du Docteur Lancereaux was supposed to be, but a homeless man had set up camp there, and there was no sort of signage at all. Confused and frustrated, I asked 6 different people on the street if they knew where the tax center was for the 8th arrondissement. (I’m not exaggerating at all…I asked 6 people and had 6 negative responses. One lady said that the tax office moved a long time ago, but she wasn’t sure where it went.)
The other address that I had memorized for the occasion was 5 rue de Londres, which is not actually in the 8th arrondissement, it’s in the 9th. It doesn’t really make sense for the tax center of the 8th arrondissement to be in a different neighborhood, but I had to try all my options and get this taken care of. So I biked over to rue de Londres, in the old neighborhood I lived in during the summer I spent in a studio apartment after studying abroad. That was the correct place, but they were closed, so I had to stick my envelope in their drop box. Hopefully it’s all good.
I stopped at a Subway on the way back and treated myself to a 12-inch sub. It had been a stressful day. I may or may not have drunk some rosé wine directly from the bottle in my fridge…. And I watched this week’s Lindenstraße while I ate dinner. For dessert I had three brownies. I’m not ashamed.
Next year is going to be insane. I will have to declare taxes in France, Germany, and the USA. Luckily, I’m not getting triple-taxed…I think there are laws against that. But I still have to declare everything. I may need to get myself a tax advisor if I end up having to work a freelance job in Germany. Oh là là!
Life lessons learned: stay on top of taxes and do it in advance if at all possible to avoid running around on tax day like a chicken with its head cut off!
*Cool link! You can flip through a virtual version of the À Nous Paris newspaper! Go check it out!