By living 4000 miles (6400 kilometers) from Washington, DC we can escape some of the news that revolves around the White House but once people here learn that we’re from the US they definitely want to talk politics. That’s been the case over the last 25 years that we’ve been visiting France no matter who the president was/is. So while we may be a long way from the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there’s an address right next door at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue that’s as close as your bank account. The Internal Revenue Service knows where we live. Read the rest of this entry
Although we bought our house here in Carcassonne a few months ago, I haven’t felt as if we really live there…until today. One of the requirements for getting a visa for our first year in France was to have an address, so we rented a fully-furnished house. It’s really comfortable and truly came with everything we needed to live, down to the knives, forks, and spoons, and the all-important Internet. The only problem is that once we venture outside of our 2-foot thick (60 cm.) walls, there is no wi-fi, so when we go over to work on the house I feel a bit out of touch…until today. Read the rest of this entry
We love the game shows on the French TV stations. They happen to be broadcast during our happy hour(s) every evening. We watch with the subtitles on in French so we can comprehend some of the words that are spoken so quickly. Money Drop is a great show where money is placed on trap doors of the answers and the losing answers drop the money away back to the vault.
We think of this show every day as the planes line up to land at the local airport and they have to pass by the Cité and over the Bastide St. Louis. Yes there might be a bit of noise as they fly directly overhead but the planes are filled with tourists coming to the area to spend their vacation (and Euros) in the region. Each and every tourist dropping out of the sky helps our local economy and in turn helps keep the taxes lower for those of us living here on a permanent basis. As the region is known for the wine production and the two UNESCO world heritage sites there are not many large businesses as a tax base, although this is the world’s largest wine producing region and we are doing our part to keep the vintners in production. Read the rest of this entry
It may have taken three months, that felt like a year, but we have signed the final sales contract on a house in France. The first time I mentioned anything about house buying on the blog was in a post from May when we had been taking some pictures of courtyards. We both crave light, finding dismal days depressing, so a house built around an outdoor courtyard, with glass doors and windows opening each room to the sun was ideal. There are websites (listed at the end) that give complete details about the entire house buying process here, but the highlights of what we went through are below. Read the rest of this entry
“Clunk” is not a sound that you ever want to hear coming from your computer yet that’s exactly what happened last week. Bill and I each have two computers (or more, but this is not Truth or Dare) and his large laptop emitted that ominous noise indicating an eminent hard drive crash. He started looking online and several times found what appeared to be exactly what we were looking for except for all of the terrible reviews it received or the fact that it didn’t have a DVD drive, or it wasn’t touchscreen. Read the rest of this entry
Whenever we go on vacation, instead of staying in a hotel we usually try to rent a house or an apartment since you get more room, a kitchen where you can prepare a few meals, and it’s easier to pretend that you live in the community to see if you might want to make it your home. Since we’re house sitting this week along the intracoastal waterway, it’s confirmed our desire to move here once we sell the house in Georgia. When applying for a visa, you have to use the French consulate that has jurisdiction over your state, which in our case would currently be the Atlanta office. They have to deal with applicants from 6 southeast states; consequently, getting an appointment simply to apply for a visa is very difficult during most of the year. On the other hand, the consulate in Miami is responsible for Florida and some of the Caribbean so appointments appear to be much easier to obtain.
A second advantage of being a Florida resident is that there is a reciprocal agreement between this state and France which allows for an easy exchange of driver’s licenses between the two. A few other states, not including Georgia, have the same agreement avoiding the application process that can involve driving school, a written exam, and possibly a medical evaluation. The price for this can be close to $2000.
Lastly, Florida has no income tax. Although we are certainly not opposed to paying taxes we would be foolish not to take advantage of opportunities offered to us.
Actually this is just going to be about taxes since that alone is fun enough for one blog post. Before we start, just a reminder that we aren’t tax attorneys, so as with everything else on this blog this is just what we’ve experienced and not advice to you. So what kind of taxes can we expect to pay? If you rent a property and are living there on January 1, you have to pay a habitation tax that covers things like police and fire protection, street lights, road maintenance, and other services that anyone who lives in a community might use. Although it varies around the country, a rule of thumb is that it equals about one month’s rent. The owner of the property that you are renting is also paying a higher amount in property taxes. The third tax on that same piece of property is a daily resort fee of about $1 if it is rented out as a holiday home. Read the rest of this entry