Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I'm hoping someone can shed some insight in what I should do. My question is whether I should file a 2014 tax return in France, if I arrived without a visa, as well as how that would affect my carte de séjour application and/or renewal.

My story: I'm an American who arrived in France late August of last year, with a work contract in place with a prestigious French cultural institution (without giving too much away). Due to miscommunication between me and HR (letter sent to an address after I left, my timidity, the knowledge that offices would be closed during August), I arrived in France without having made any attempts to secure a visa or a work permit. I went to the local prefecture shortly after arriving, made an appointment for an interview for a carte de séjour, set for December. (I believe this is the récépissé, but please correct me if I'm wrong.) Once I had this appointment made, I went back with it to my employer, and started working.

Unfortunately I was turned down because I never had the original visa to begin with, the one I should have gotten before arriving in France. Of course back in August they made it seem like it could be overlooked, but apparently not. So I went back to the US, got my visa, and now am going through the process again.

But now there is a separate issue. Tax season is upon us, and I'm not sure if I should make a déclaration de révenus. My French lawyer is saying no, because a year from now, if and when I renew my carte de séjour, having a 2014 return before I had a work permit would be an immediate red flag. His logic is that if the tax office wanted me to file, I would have received a pre-filled déclaration in my mail already, and since I haven't, no news is good news.

I would counter that

1. I switched apartments in France on January 1st, and didn't think to set up mail forwarding until recently. So maybe it went to the old address, where I don't trust my former landlady to notify me if something did indeed arrive in the mail.

2. I was under the impression that first-time filers wouldn't necessarily get anything in the mail, and that it was up to them to declare.

3. Maybe there are downsides to filing a 2014 return with the immigration process, but surely there would be penalties for NOT filing?

4. Why would a 2014 tax return have any bearing on a carte de séjour renouvellement? (My lawyer is saying it would; can anyone confirm? He is saying it wouldn't be an issue during my first application, which I'm still trying to make happen, but for the renewal.)

5. Perhaps irrelevant, or perhaps it doesn't help my case, but I only opted to stay in France and work because my employer told me to do so, implying I was able to work legally. Wouldn't the récépissé allow me to work, although I was ultimately turned down? Or did it not matter because I never had the first temporary visa to begin with?

Since tax deadlines are approaching for both France and the US (June 15 for me), I'm eager to resolve this as quickly as possible. Can anyone offer any insight? Thank you.

(This is, of course, assuming, that I am in fact obligated to file a return. I was present for less than 183 days in France, but I did earn more than 10000 euros during that time. However, if I'm NOT in fact obligated to file a return, please let me know.)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,465 Posts
OK - first of all, dump the lawyer. The advice he's giving you is garbage and is likely to get you in deeper trouble.

My French lawyer is saying no, because a year from now, if and when I renew my carte de séjour, having a 2014 return before I had a work permit would be an immediate red flag. His logic is that if the tax office wanted me to file, I would have received a pre-filled déclaration in my mail already, and since I haven't, no news is good news.
You won't get a pre-filled in form your first year in France. So that's a big old "red flag" for your lawyer.

Now, does the visa you're now on come with work privileges? That would mean that your employer filed for work authorization, got it, and then you basically just had to go into the Consulate back in the US and pick it up. You can't apply for a "work visa" until and unless your employer has obtained work authorization for you.

Under that scenario, your paychecks should indicate that you've had all the cotisations withheld and you should be in the process of getting yourself a sécu number and a Carte Vitale (which can take a LONG time).

In your case, I'd file for 2014, no matter how long I was here (legally or not) during 2014. If nothing else, you might get a break on your Taxe d'Habitation based on your tax filing. And, you'll at least get your name and sécu number into the system. If your employer allowed you to work before you actually had your visa, that's on their head.

But check what is indicated on whatever you got from your December appointment at the prefecture. If you're allowed to work, it should say so on whatever they gave you, recippissée or not. And BTW, a recippissée is nothing but a receipt for your dossier. They should be in touch if you're going to be getting a titre de séjour of some sort.

But in any event, you should declare your worldwide income to the IRS. You should probably file for an extension if you are planning on taking the FEIE (to exclude your overseas earned income), because for that you need to have been outside the US for 330 days of a period of 12 consecutive months - and you can't do that until the 1st anniversary of your arrival in France (with or without the appropriate visa).

To file your French taxes, you need to get a wiggle on. The paper forms are due May 19th. But even if you go in to the Tax Office for help in filling them out, they aren't going to ask to see your visa or your titre de séjour.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your input.

Now, does the visa you're now on come with work privileges? That would mean that your employer filed for work authorization, got it, and then you basically just had to go into the Consulate back in the US and pick it up.
If you mean the visa I'm on now (since I didn't have any visa when I arrived in France the first time in August), it's a type "D" which is a long-stay visa. I'm not sure it comes with work privileges or not.

I do know that my employer submitted a "demande d'autorisation de travail" which was stamped and approved by DIRECCTE. The problem was that it had been sent to my old address, in another European country, and also accordingly had my old address on the form. So by the time I found out about the form's existence, I'd already arrived in France, and the information on the form was irrelevant. I did take it to my interview in December, where it was rejected. Does this tell you whether I had work authorization?

(After my first application in December was denied, my employer submitted another application, the same form, with my American address, and this was the form I took to the consulate in the US. Of course, now last week when I go to the local prefecture to make an appointment for a titre de séjour interview, I find that this form is outdated as of 2015. But that's another issue.)

Under that scenario, your paychecks should indicate that you've had all the cotisations withheld and you should be in the process of getting yourself a sécu number and a Carte Vitale (which can take a LONG time)
As for the cotisations, yes, I see them on my payslips. I understand that France doesn't have income tax withholding, but I see entries for "assurance maladie," "C.R.D.S.", "C.S.G." and others.

My numéro INSEE ends with a string of 9's, which I take to mean I don't have a social security number.

But check what is indicated on whatever you got from your December appointment at the prefecture. If you're allowed to work, it should say so on whatever they gave you, recippissée or not.
The paper I got from the December interview says:

Il apparaît que vous ne pouvez pas justifier d'une entrée régulière en France ou que vous vous êtes maintenu sur le territoire français à l'expiration de la durée de votre visa ou de la période de séjour autorisée sans visa.
And then that I need to pay 50 euros for the application to be considered further.

The "convocation" (what I was referring to by "récépissé") I got after my very first visit to the prefecture in September (I arrived in late August and by the time I went to the prefecture it was September), which has the appointment time for the December interview, has a handwritten note that says "En attente de decision dossier en cours d'instruction" (I think).

I don't know if that gives you more insight into my situation. In any case, though, it seems the thing to do is to declare taxes, contrary to what my lawyer is telling me.

Just to be clear, legal implications with the tax office aside, does anyone know why having a 2014 return in my case would cause problems for me down the road when I renew my carte de séjour (if and when I get my first one)? Does the prefecture ask for tax returns during the process?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,465 Posts
This is definitely not looking good. But the least of your worries is filing a 2014 tax declaration. The only thing that can do for you would be in your favor - especially because you're having the cotisations withheld.

But I have no idea what an INSEE number is. Your employer should be getting you a sécu number - very often there is a temporary sécu number before you're issued your regular number.

A convocation is not a récippissée. It's nothing but an official demand that you attend an appointment. You need to ask your employer to help you out with the immigration side of your situation.
Cheers,
Bev
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top