All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The French financial miracle.....

A 2 Euro coin (Vatican design)Image via Wikipedia
Or how to turn 26,700 Euros into 2,000,000 Euros in nine years, by completely legal methods.

It has to be said that this is not available to everyone.....but it would get the imprimatur of all those who believe in the French national preference (French come first, the rest get the leavings) as it has no tinge of what are disdainfully referred to as Anglo Saxon financial practices...which for me  conjures up visions of Grendel's mother emerging from the lake, briefcase in hand, followed by a troop of bankers in cross gartering and horned helmets, but then I'm not French and do not share the national cultural vision.

To activate this miracle, the person concerned has to be qualified to attract an investigation into their financial affairs by the French taxman.....a privilege not open to all, even in the land of  liberty, equality and fraternity.

It excludes the super rich...the ones who hand out the folding stuff in doggy bags to politicians who come to tea..
It excludes it would be regarded as indelicate to enquire into the origin of the contents of the doggy bags for fear of inclusion of the super rich in the miracle which is about to be vouchsafed unto you and it would be equally indelicate to enquire into the uses made of the contents of the doggy bags for fear of involving a third group who suffer a like discrimination...
Local notables.....the sub prefect, assorted maires, political fixers and the ladies with whom they spend the hours from five o'clock until seven in the early evening.

There is a further requirement, just to complicate matters...but then, if it looks too good to be true, that's just what it is and this is no Madoff scheme.

There has to be a 'denunciation' to the tax authorities to enable them to start the process.

Now, in France, denunciation can be regarded as a civic obligation...and the German occupying forces were astonished at the readiness of the French to carry out their civic obligations.
Nothing much has changed since.
But you need to carry out your civic obligations with a bit of circumspection.

A denunciation is the provision of information to an appropriate body that alerts the said body to the existence of something nasty in its someone fiddling their tax returns or underpaying their workers' social security payments.
However, a denunciation has to be signed and an address given...which is where the circumspection comes in.

Careful enquiry needs to be made as to the social milieu of the person to be denounced.

Denunciation of anyone in the three social sectors excluded from the operations of the miracle tends to result in the denunciator being investigated instead, which rather defeats the purpose, although discouraging other would-be denunciators from wasting the time of hard pressed bureaucrats.
A quick flip through the family tree of the local taxman is not a bad idea either...on the same grounds.
But without a signature, no enquiry can be made...according to President Sarkozy.
A potential dilemma for the denunciator.

But help is at hand.
In a judgement of 1998, the Cour de Cassation decided that the taxman could proceed to seize property and goods on the strength of an anonymous tip off......a 'delation'.
And the judgement stands.

So an anonymous letter will do the trick.
However, even if avoiding the risk of investigation, the we must now call him or her....knows that no one from the four sectors outlined above will be investigated, so has to aim the barbs at someone deemed appropriate prey.

Someone who has, to general astonishment, made his own way without the help of powerful local family or connections to a point where he is wealthy - by local standards - and thus attracts jealousy, that curse of French life which animates the spirits behind the formal courtesies and rituals of everyday routine.
His money will evidently be of suspect origin as not being collected in doggy bags.

The financial miracle can begin!

The taxman starts an investigation into Monsieur  Goupil's affairs. He finds that Monsieur Goupil has understated his financial position and owes the taxman 294,000 Euros.

Monsieur Goupil responds by hiring a fiscal specialist who, after four years, brings the taxman to agree that Monsieur Goupil only owes  26,700 Euros.

However, before Monsieur Goupil can settle his agreed debt of 26,700 Euros, he first has to pay up the 294,000 Euros to clear the original claim, at which point the taxman will initiate the somewhat lengthy process of refunding it to him.

Now, if at this point Monsieur Goupil agrees to pay up, the miracle does not work, but those who have earned their money the hard way tend to have a sense of injustice being done and should he consider this a distinctly unjust procedure, the miracle can proceed.
Monsieur Goupil will place all his assets into voluntary receivership to avoid the taxman getting his hands on the loot while safeguarding the jobs of his employees.

The administrator appointed will then start selling off the assets at knock down values at auction...incidentally destroying the jobs of the employees.
Monsieur Goupil, realising too late that in his case the age of miracles is over, John Paul II notwithstanding, tries to raise the 294,000 from the assets in receivership.
But they are no longer his assets.
He is hauled into court, given a six month suspended sentence, made officially bankrupt...and has to pay the administrator 56,000 Euros.

By this time his various obligations, debts, fees and costs amount to 2,000,000 million Euros..
The miracle has happened!

The state has turned a debt of 26,700 Euros into one of 2,000,000 Euros.....

Monsieur Goupil is living in a caravan dependent on friends for food.....

And somewhere a delator is cursing his or her pusillanimity in not signing the letter, which means that the taxman has no way of expressing the gratitude of the state by a donation of the folding stuff in a doggy bag.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Do not shout all this too loudly. The UK Coalition might be listening, desperate as they are, for a new business model to bring the country back into the black...

  2. Sounds to me like it’s a bit of an evolutionary offspring of its original revolutionary ancestor – the ‘Loi de la Grande Terreur’ – which likewise promoted moral suspicion and pusillanimous denunciation of counterrevolutionaries and pretty much anyone you had a petty disdain or jealous peeve for.

    Poor young Max Robespierre made the mistake of giving public sway to it, and thence it duly turned and bit him badly on the back of his neck.

    Aaaahhh…. Now I think I get it. Why you and Mr Fly up and moved from the rich green invitingly open pastures of France, all the way out there – into the depths of the jungles of Costa Rica. The Montgolfier hot air balloon finally burst. The guillotine’s just dropped.

    You can now finally, see the real wood for the real trees.

    Clever you. Love it.

  3. Steve, it's a tried and tested method....and there are plenty more where that came from...
    Luckily no British politician understands French...

    Phil, rule one of French life...never turn your back on the has a habit of creeping up on you.
    And quite right about the this space!

  4. A wry grin this end Fly. Truly inspired turn of phrase re your - “…rule one of French life...never turn your back on the has a habit of creeping up on you.”

    Sombre délicieux !

    Watching this space. xx

  5. Reading this one wonders why there is still a fiscal black hole in France. Such a sure-fire method of fleecing the workers and protecting the rest ought to have filled it by now. Superb, Fly!

  6. Phil...reminds one of the Searle cartoons of Gabbitas and Thring hunting potential junior masters in Molesworth...

    Perpetually in Transit....there would be no problem filling it by these methods...or even by acceptable ones... if only the exempted sectors were not inordinately greedy...

  7. Fly you’re such a star.

    Molesworth, Gabbitas and Thring! I had to look that one up. Thank you! Always been a distant admirer and chuckler of Searle’s cartoon work, but truly had no idea heed gon dun an rit all theez books.

    Did you ever use the ‘Gabbitas’ agency yourself?

    Funny thing is, I was looking at changing my blog's 'moo cow's' main header image to something cartoonist from the archives of Ralph Steadman, the guy who created all the cartoon work for 'Oddbins' wine merchants in the 80's.

    I’m off to terrorise our local librarian tomorrow then. Again.

    Thanks for the ‘education’ Fly. Looks like this is right up my very pot holed street! x

  8. Phil, thanks for the link to Steadman...and now I have to look for 'The Grapes of Ralph'...all thanks to you!

    It has been suggested that a suitable header image for this blog would be Granny Giles!

  9. And a jolly good morning to you too Mme Early Bird! From a kind of cloudy sunny 1.30pm up here. Bet you’ve done the coffee part already too. Mine’s just coming up to boil as the rugby’s about to get underway at Twickenham.

    “Granny Giles” – Ha Ha Ha – and “Nooo!” All those images of Ena Sharples, and me sitting around in dentists waiting rooms awaiting that ‘slow and torturous drill’ while thumbing through a pile of Giles editions. Eeeeuwe.

    Thanks to your earlier piece of inspiration re: Mr Searle – I’ve just this minute penned off an email to Ralph Steadman himself, via his website, to ask his permission to burgle some of his work on my blog. So there ya go.

    P.S. Don’t you listen to that other cheeky bugga over there. You’re far and away too cultured and sophisticated for a Granny Giles header. Definitely a ‘Searle’ or a ‘Steadman’ type though. Real ‘Class’. x

  10. Phil, just turning on the delighted that Italy beat France yesterday...!
    They won't have been singing the Marseillaise at the ex neighbour's house yesterday evening...more like building a guillotine for the coach.

    The problem is that I would have difficulty putting any header up on my blog....I subscribe to Ayak's 'computing for numpties' which means if she can't do it neither can I!
    I'm having real trouble on my CR blog....I've ticked all the boxes for post pages...and it just doesn't happen!

  11. Fly, if you get any further insights into the inner workings of Blogger, please do post them on here. I struggled enough with posting photos at first and am now also wrestling with creating pages. Sigh...

  12. “Italy beating France” – Laugh! Thought you would. I just caught the last whistle of that one. What a come back by the Romans and their great big Boer of a coach too.

    I started to watch our tribe take on the men in kilts earlier, and then the sun came out properly, so I put it all on to record and bugga’d off out to play in the sunshine. Still haven’t watched it yet this evening. Bit worried though cos when I left the match earlier, it looked like I might end up feeling like a ‘Frog in Rome’ myself after I catch up with it later tonight. Might have to watch it from behind the sofa.

    Don’t forget, if you want any help with the old ‘Blogger’ layouts and tools, I’m more than happy to try and assist Fly – and if ever you need a photo image altered, re-sized, cropped, enhanced and so on, all you have to do is email it across to me and I’ll be happy to have a go in my ‘Photoshop’ software.

    Oddly enough, one of the trickiest things to get right with the Blogger page layout templates – is the sizing of the main header image at the top of your blog. It may be of help to you if I resized any future new images you’d perhaps like to use – to the correct ‘pixel width’ for your blog page. Don’t worry about the jargon, it’s not important, but I really am more than happy to ‘have a go’ and see, if you want me to. Don’t be afraid to ask. Then you can sit back while I royally cock it all up!

    I’m trying to finish about three different new blog posts right now, and I just can’t get into it at all at the moment. Been like this for the last week. I call it ‘Bloggers Droop’.


  13. Perpetually in Transit, without Ayak's help and encouragement there would be no blog at all!

    Now, she told me what to do...go to the settings section...go to comments and choose 'pop ups'...then go to formatting and press 'yes' on page posts...and that used to work...but now it doesn't.

    There are a couple of possibilities...

    I have forgotten a vital step...

    I notice that on the edit page, where it used to be automatic posting now it comes up as scheduled and though I change it, it seems to return...

    Bluntly, I am bewildered, but console myself that it is not Wordpress...

  14. Phi, you are the answer to Granny Giles' should be a maiden's prayer but you'll never believe that one!

  15. Only in France I suspect.

    In the UK we seem to do things the other way round - unless of course it is public sector pension liabilities in which case tehy can grow like topsy - who cares, its's only our children who will pay.

    My current strategy: owe nothing, lend nothing, depend on no one - planet me.

  16. Thanks for this, Fly. I'll have another go tomorrow and if I have any success, I'll come back and tell you how I did it. I gather they updated the software not long before I started my blog, which may have something to do with why your previous method no longer works.

    I'm starting to think I should have chosen a shorter username. Perpetually In Transit is such a mouthful to write every time - just call me P-i-T as others do....

  17. This boggles the mind and discourages à la fois. I continue to find the tolerance for dishonesty to be higher here than my comfort level allows. And this reporting other people anonymously thing - jeez, what is up with that?!? It is the unspoken national threat here held over the head of anyone who offends. No wonder no one smiles around here - they're all too twitchy about who might turn them in!

  18. Mark, we've lived on planet me for years and like its climate.

    P-i-T, since you so permit me to address you, the update may well be the source of my problem...thank you for the offer of help!

    la fourchette, ah yes...a bit of the underbelly of France that doesn't get discussed among the 'living the dream'ers.

  19. The French underbelly is a pretty shocking place to be and jealousy is so rife it's a wonder the population is not a general shade of green.

    No wonder they have that sneaky 'signes exterieurs de richesse' to nab you just in case you might be doing slightly better than normal...

  20. Sarah, you just watch out when the bouclier fiscal comes off....all sorts of working people will find themselves paying a lot more tax while the rich just...pass the doggy bag.