It had been 14 months since the glorious granting of my Profession Liberale visa and the beginning of long-term stability here in my beloved France. I was at the prefecture with all my paperwork which, for the renewal of my provisional one year visa, was focused on proving two things (in addition to all the “usual” stuff you need for a renewal):
- That I was current on all my social charges and
- That my new French business was generating enough revenue to justify a renewal
However, the appointment was cut short as the supervisor deplored my lack of a declaration from the Ministry of Finance that I had, indeed, filed my taxes (the copy I had provided of my filed return was deemed insufficient). “Come back in 3 months,” she said with the usual “not my problem” tone of voice. Well, that was in July, and a few weeks ago, as I was getting ready for the rescheduled appointment, I realized what the issue was.
My new French business accountants had a mandate from me to also file my personal return, but they had done so incorrectly, and as such my French personal accountant had to amend and resubmit it. My first year in business in France was very modest and I had no taxes to pay, therefore the letter due to come to me saying I owed 0€ (which is the letter I needed for the prefecture) was at the bottom of the priority list for the Ministry of Finance.
In lieu of this document I had to obtain a signed, dated, and stamped attestation from the Ministry of Finance that yes, I was a law-abiding citizen who had filed my tax return. My friend and mentor Jean Taquet told me that people have an actual fear about going to the Ministry of Finance, but not being possessed of such a fear (skydiving = scary, tax people ≠ scary), I went to 13 rue de la Banque on a weekday afternoon, and after a few minutes in line and a verification of my identity, cross-checked with my fiscal number from my previous tax returns, I got two copies of the document I needed for my appointment.
Since the appointment had been delayed an additional three months, I was also expected to update everything from the last (failed) appointment: attestations from URSSAF and RSI that I was a good boy, as well as my business bank account statements and most recent invoices to my clients.
Speaking of which, as a consequence of the modest first year of revenues, I got a refund from URSSAF. That’s right, I had earned less than the estimated base year, which is what I had paid against, and since the French base your current year’s charges on the previous year’s earnings, which they now had in their possession, I got money back as I had already overpaid in 2017 against their estimates. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the line item in my online banking account with the money which had come back to me out of nowhere.
But the biggest surprise of all came at the appointment itself, which I will tell you more about in a future article.