Know anything about French tax laws?

My wife and I left France over two years ago. We’ve been living in Taiwan (her home country) since. Today, out of the blue, we received a “commandement de payer” saying we (she) owed 628,59 euros in “taxe habitation.” Two-thirds of that sum was incurred months after we left France (it says 31-10-2006 to 15-12-2006, we had left in mid-July).

What should we do about this?

Route 1: contact the embassy in Taipei.
Route 2: locate the webpage and email of the agency that claims to have sent you that document. The document itself may have one, but google for it to make sure you’re not getting a spoof. You want to make sure the claim is from the government and it’s serious.
Write to them, indicating that you left the country on such and such and therefore you can’t be liable for occupation tax after such date. Ask which documents do they need as proof of your claim. Question anything else - I once received a claim for tax for someone with a name remotely similar to mine, but the ID indicated didn’t match mine and it was from a township I haven’t even set foot on.

Once you’re sure that you have a debt and how much it is, pay.

Nitpick: France does not have diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. The Institut Français de Taipei might be able to help, though.

‘Taxe d’habitation’ is assessed yearly, based on your residence on (I believe) the 1st of January. So it doesn’t matter the exact date you left, you’re still expected to pay it. The flipside is that if you arrive in the country on the 2nd of Jan, you don’t pay the tax for that year. The fact that a six week period is mentioned in the letter seems a little strange - OTOH the amount fits for a mid-sized apartment in an expensive neighborhood for 1 year.

We had a tiny, one-room apartment in the 16th.

As you probably noticed, unfortunately 16th arrdt in Paris is some the priciest real estate in the country :slight_smile:

If you were there at the beginning of the year you’re being assessed for, it’s probably best to pay. Isn’t there a number to call in the letter ?

Yes, I know it’s pricey, even though our apartment was so luxe.

Why are we being assessed for this more than two years after we left France?

Because the tax administration system in France is not efficient. Note that the period in question is the end of '06; your taxes would not have been due for several months after that (I forget the due date in France), and it would take them many months to figure out that you hadn’t paid yet. So, a two year delay is not uncommon… not just for France, for any taxing authority anywhere.

I’m not an expert in French taxes specifically, but I do know that most countries tax income based on residency. You lived in France for more than six months in 2006 (OK, six months and a few days, but that’s still more than six months) and so would need to pay income tax for the entire year as a French resident. The time you spent in Taiwan, you would be taxed in Taiwan as a part-year resident. If there is a tax treaty between France and Taiwan, you would avoid double-tax. If there’s no such treaty, then you’re outta luck.

In short, this could be complicated. Your first best bet is to try to talk to the French taxing authority directly, but I suspect you’ll need to hire a tax attorney who specializes in international situations. (It may be cheaper to pay the damn tax.)

What about the fact that neither of us had an income? We were both students…

What if we don’t pay?

The truth is, this couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. I know it’s never convenient, but this is probably the worst time.

We don’t have the money to pay it. We’re in the process of doing immigration papers for my wife and I to move back to the US, I’m applying to grad school, studying chinese, and working. We’re planning two weddings (here in Taiwan and in the US), and trying to find work in the US. I need to know what the reprocutions are for not paying this tax.

We are going 24/7 trying to tie up loose ends, and this just seems wrong.