April 16, 2007

Life's Little Ups and Downs

Last year I spent a great deal of time and energy changing the status of my carte de séjour so I could be self employed in France. The process involved a lot of headache, driving, arguing with bureaucratic paper pushers, pleading with bureaucratic paper pushers, crying in my car after getting no help from bureaucratic paper pushers, translating treaties between France and America to prove to the bureaucratic paper pushers that I had the right to be self employed, and patience. I was finally granted the right at the very end of 2006 and started my entreprise after making sure I was not going to be hit with social charges for the year of 2006. I was assured that I wouldn't be.
I was.

When you start a business in France you pay into the health system, for retirement benefits and unemployment benefits. The charges are set, they go up a lot every year and you pay them even if you haven't earned one single euro.
So, you can guess what happened. The charges were pro-rated for 2006 and the ''powers that be'' consider 2007 as my second year of business, therefore, I must pay all the second year charges.
We weren't prepared for this.
Last week I went to a couple of offices I owe money to, to plead my case. i.e.: the sous-préfecture gave me no choice, I had to start the business by December 25, 2006, even though I wanted to wait until early 2007, thus I'm not prepared to pay the second year charges. I was given a sympathetic smile and the (in)famous Gallic shrug. In other words, I'm SOL*.

*shit out of luck Pin It


felK said...

Sorry to hear about your business and the French bureaucratic system. There appears to be no solution and that's probably the reason for the economic situation in France. BUT! If you look on my previous suggestion you could start the Teach Dogs Toilet Training School (TDTTS) in your village.
Or, find a french resident as a "front" for your business - would that work??


Katie said...

That sucks!
I'm curious as to why you 'started' before you actually were earning sufficiant income? That's not the usual French way from my limited experience.(probably it's the correct way)
Of course, most of the people I knew were not married to French people - could make a difference - more difficult to plead ignorance yet still etranger.
You'll think of something!

Brenda said...

Well....perhaps I DO NOT want to move to France...that kind of beaucratic crap would make me insane. You know me and injustice. Let's cruise by their offices when I am in town and we can spit :)

Jennifer said...

I'll keep that Dog Toilet Training School in mind! It would come in handy around the village.

I had to start the business to change my carte de séjour. It was one of those Catch 22 situations!

remember the evil, bitchy woman in San Francisco at the Consulate? I should have known then...

Anonymous said...

i tried to comment the other day, but blogger just doesn't like me sometimes.

i wish i could say i was surprised, but situations like this are the reason why so many Corse work under the table down here. i'm not sure we know too many people running a legitimate business. pretty sad, but understandable.

still it totally sucks! we're in a similar situation to you, so i know kind of how you're feeling. France is never going to grow and get out of the whole it's in, if it can't encourage small businesses and creativity.