French Municipal Elections
Candidates posters in the town where I live.
As I said in my January 2008 newsletter France will hold municipal elections on March 9th and 16th. You can read about how elections work and how things are shaping up where I live.
Normally municipal elections focus on local issues, as they are where I live. But it’s possible that there will be an antigovernment vote, possibility a wave as in the regional elections of 2004 where the opposition left won all but one region (out of 22) in metropolitan France, Alsace being the one exception.
It isn’t so much that the government is unpopular, the Prime Minister François Fillon has an over 55% favorable rating and so far most government legislation has not been overtly controversial, at least not enough to loose the election.
But there have been a few sticking points. The first is the increase in the cost of living. It was recently revealed by consumer magazine 60 Millions De Consommateur that some everyday products like milk, butter and yogurt have increased in price by upwards of 30% - 40% over the last few months.
This has meant that President Nicolas Sarkozy is not very popular. His favorable rating was at 38% in one poll. He ran for President in 2007 as the candidate that would keep prices under control and increase buying power. He is now paying the price for not delivering on his promises.
Also, Sarkozy is a take charge leader (or has that perception) who seems to be every where all the time. This means that he is the fall guy for what is going wrong in France and not the Prime Minister who traditionally has that roll. It’s happened in the past that when things have gone wrong the President changed the Prime Minister to restore faith. The problem is now that Sarkozy can’t do that as he is the one doing the leading, being out in the public taking charge and not the Prime Minister.
Something else, is that Sarkozy has in the last few months both been divorced and remarried thus putting a lot of his personal life (by choice it seems) in public eye. It’s not the fact that this happened (divorced and remarried ) that makes things bad for Sarkozy it’s that he has been very open about this, something somewhat new in France. The French really don’t care about Sarkozy’s personal life as long as he doesn’t publicize it. Something he has done.
It’s almost that time of year again
Yes, it’s tax time. I work with two American accountants who are specialized in dealing with the American expatriate community, be it in France or another country. I also work with a French accountant who can help with filing your French returns. All three can be found on my Expat Tax Services page.
2008 tax deadlines (2007 tax year) in France are; for professionals and companies: May 5th or on-line May 20th, individuals May 30th or on-line in June depending on your school vacation zone. There is a web site for the French tax authorities - http://www.impots.gouv.fr/.
In the Untied States the tax deadlines for 2008 (2007 tax year) are; April 15th for those filing with a US address, June 16th for those filing with a non US address, October 15th for both if filing Form 4868. Any taxes due for 2007 must be paid by April 15th along with first quarter 2008 estimated taxes no matter where you live. If relying on the post office, the IRS accepts postmark stateside but does not from foreign countries.
The official US government exchange rate euro to dollar for 2007 is $.68 for one €1.
I also have found some one who can help lower your French tax burden. Her name is Florencia Bonet and for more information please see this page.
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