Just a friendly reminder that the April 15th tax deadline is fast approaching with our friends at the IRS. Americans living abroad have until June 17th to file their returns, but still any taxes owed to the US government that are outstanding must be paid by April 15th.
For those in France, the US Embassy Paris has a page dedicated to taxation resources, including many links to IRS and forms (like the 2555-EZ form for Foreign Earned Income Tax Exclusion). As the article stipulates, if you’re American and work and reside outside the US, you may be able to exclude up to $95,100 USD annually in foreign income. Check out the links above for further information.
AARO has some views on taxation of Americans abroad, worth the read.
The French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) posted the following summary of a report recently carried out by consulting and accounting firm KPMG.
The full report is available here, entitled “Facts & Figures on France’s Investment Attractiveness”.
Probably a good idea to check out other resources as well.
There is an interesting report by The Economist in their “The World in 2013″ edition that highlights the likely challenges facing President Hollande’s administration in the next year including the difficulty in encouraging business growth and more investment.
While France remains a country that retains an attractive profile, there is a real risk that increasing taxes and a morose business climate could take hold and hamper growth in 2013. So although France has a lot to offer, it must make progress to improve the business climate and decrease unemployment. It’s not an easy time for Europe, and France will not be an exception. But as the adage goes, “no pain, no gain”.
From: Invest in France Agency
In the competition with other European countries to attract inward investment projects, France boasts a number of key strengths underpinning its investment attractiveness.
These advantages include:
- A large, dynamic market in Europe.
- A skilled, productive workforce.
- Recognized support to foster innovation.
- A plentiful supply of commercial real estate.
- Dense, high-quality transport infrastructure.
- High-quality energy and telecommunications at competitive rates.
- Renowned quality of life.
According to KPMG’s “Competitive Alternatives” biennial guide to business costs in over 100 cities in nine different countries, France stands out for having particularly attractive business setup costs, comprising labor costs, facility costs, transport, utility costs (electricity, natural gas, telecommunications) and corporate tax. In the 2012 edition, France was ranked fourth among the countries compared, up two places from sixth in the previous rankings (2010).
The annual famous light festival in Lyon, France, Fête des Lumières, takes place this December 6th thru December 9th, 2012.
It is really a FANTASTIC show. The amazing aspect of the spectacle itself varies according to year, but you won’t regret going. You may only regret the crowds. I’ve been the past 5 festivals and the population of Lyon doubles to almost 4 million during the long weekend.
-You’ll want to check out the TCL Lyon public transport system website for travel updates.
-The regional train system, TER Rhone-Alpes, has information on train schedules as well.
-If you’re flying in, the Aeroports de Lyon website has information.
-Hotels are usually booked this weekend months in advance. Check out classifieds or apartment sharing websites at this point.
It’s truly a wonderful festival, and I love the city of Lyon. Check out my post from last year.
Bonne visite !
The Economist this week has a 14-page special report this week in its print edition that focuses on France, from its economy to politics, under the central theme of how economic structural reform is necessary in order to avoid a “time bomb” going off at the heart of the Eurozone. You can access the Nov. 17, 2012 print edition contents here. The leader article introducing the special report is here, and the special report link can be found at the table of contents site under “Special report: France” (there are 8 articles).
I’m delving into all this right now and encourage you to do the same. Even if you don’t agree with the magazine’s analysis, it is a highly-regarded publication for a reason: for asking important questions.
This is the not the first time the British news magazine has waxed poetic about France’s economic woes and potential for growth. Indeed, French economic and business paper Les Echos puts past covers and stories into perspective (in French).
What do you think are France’s biggest problems and do you think Hollande and Ayrault’s government can solve them?
If you’re American and live abroad, that does not mean you have to put your political views on hold come election time.
Make sure to check out this website Vote From Abroad for information on how to vote from other countries. A video is below. (Disclaimer: This is a Democrat-affiliated organization).
They have also made these information sheets available for you:
-Flyer for help sessions in person in Paris (1st and 3rd Saturday of each month, 2-5pm at Shakespeare & Company, 37 rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris)
Merci for the helpful documents!
If you have any stories about voting from abroad, feel free to post a comment. Happy voting!
Message from US Embassy Paris
Have a say in our country’s future. One of our most treasured values is the right and the privilege to vote – to participate actively in our country’s democratic process. This November, U.S. citizens will elect a President, a Vice President, one-third of the Senate, and the entire House of Representatives. The U.S. Embassy in France encourages all U.S. citizens to participate in this year’s elections, and stands ready to help you vote.
Almost all overseas U.S. citizens can vote. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia now allow adult children who have never resided in the United States to vote using their parents’ state of voting residence. Details are available on the FVAP website at http://www.fvap.gov/reference/nvr-res.html.
Register and request a ballot. To vote, new laws require you to complete and submit a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) this calendar year. The FPCA allows you to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. If you haven’t yet done so, we urge you to do so now. The easiest way to complete it is online at www.FVAP.gov. Depending on your State’s rules, you then send it to your local election officials electronically or by mail.
Mailing guidance. Print out the completed FPCA and the (U.S.) postage-paid envelope containing the address of your local election officials. You can drop off the postage-paid envelope (containing your FPCA) at the Embassy, and we will mail it back home for you without the need to pay international postage. If it’s easier for you to use France’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.
Embassy Paris drop box: You may drop your signed, dated, sealed FPCA registration or ballot in the Consular Section drop box:
a. Go to the Consular Section entrance of the Paris Embassy with your registration or ballot;
b. Announce that you would like to drop off voting materials;
c. Present suitable ID (preferably a passport);
d. Present the registration or ballot;
e. After the security check, place the ballot in the ballot box.
Need help? Go to the Embassy’s voting website page to receive assistance. Voting Assistance Officers or private U.S. citizen volunteers in France may also help you. (NOTE: It is acceptable for private U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens’ groups to collect FPCAs and deliver them to the Embassy on behalf of other eligible voters, as long as each FPCA is in its own U.S. postage-paid envelope.)
Make your vote count! Follow your State’s absentee voting procedures carefully. Send in your FPCA before the registration deadline. When you get your ballot, vote and mail it promptly so it reaches local election officials by your State’s absentee ballot receipt deadline.
Questions? If you have any questions about registering to vote, please contact the Paris Voting Assistance Officer by email at VoteParis@state.gov
Happy Bastille Day everyone! Joyeux 14 juillet tout le monde !
How did you celebrate today? Feel free to post in the comments section your favorite places to celebrate, no matter which country or city.
I myself am in Washington DC today and among several spots to revel in the celebration, Bistrot du Coin is a local favorite.
In the spirit of transatlantic relations, this NY Times piece is interesting.
Vive la France !
Think you had enough shopping done during the Christmas holiday?
The French are getting ready for the national sales around France.
They kick off tomorrow January 11 throughout the country, and you can see a full list of dates here for each département (Paris being the 75th on the list).
You’ll see many départements have sales until February 14, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The French government authorizes stores to use the word “les soldes” as an official sales period twice a year (January and July) to foster economic growth and consumption.
Stores are free to have discounts, special offers and promotions throughout the rest of the year, but they cannot use “les soldes” as an expression outside of these two time periods.
Tomorrow Economic Minister François Baroin will be the MC of the traditional kick-off of the sales period at Galeries Lafayette.
Despite all the pomp and festivitives, a new poll done by l’Institut BVA and published by Les Echos newspaper reveals that 36% of French consumers think that the national sales do not have a real purpose any more, and this is even more pronounced among younger consumers.
While the sales might be less trendy than last year, and this drop in enthusiasm may be explained by economic uncertainty, 60% of the French still believe that these periods present special opportunities for good deals.
If you do choose to shop, make sure to remember that prices will generally decrease as the time period goes on (up to 80% off in some cases by the end), but that the best items will likely be gone.
You may also want to check out this page for more links and information on fashion and shopping.
This week the French Consulate in New Orleans is organizing a “Semaine Française” to celebrate Franco-American friendship and ties. Excerpts from Embassy website below. See the sites for more information. Vive la France! Vive l’Amérique!
The Consulate General of France in New Orleans, Louisiana, in partnership with local institutions and sponsors, offers the first edition of the Semaine Française. More than 20 multidisciplinary events will be held in New Orleans during 4 days to celebrate the French-American relationship and strengthen the ties between France and Louisiana.
From Thursday the 17th of November to Sunday the 20th, business, educational and cultural thematic will be highlighted by these events, a large majority of which are free and open to all. Semaine Française is presented under the high auspices of his Excellency the Ambassador of France to the United States Mr. Francois Delattre.
Semaine Française will propose:
-Regional cooperation will be underlined by the signing of a memorandum of agreement between port of new orleans and Port of Guadeloupe, followed by a trade summit on the impact of the Panama Canal expansion with French and American perspectives. Officials from both New Orleans and Guadeloupe will attend this event, as well as his Excellency the Ambassador of France to the United States François Delattre.
-A business symposium will be held on the 18th of November at Tulane University. Three seminars will adress the issues of energy, coastal sustainability and transportation. Professionals in these fields such as the CEO of Areva Jacques Besnainou and nuclear cousellor to the French Embassy in Washington D.C Cyril Pinel will participate to these seminars.
-A French education fair will gather all the Louisiana institutions offering French studies and classes on the 19th of November. A roundtable discusssion with Louisiana State Representatives and a panel of university professors will deal with the state of the French language in Louisiana, followed by a networking cocktail with the alumni of the Teaching Assistant Program in France and professionals.
-Several cultural events will be held during Semaine Française in New Orleans. The Beaujolais Nouveau will be celebrated through a festival and French DJ after-party; culinary cooking demonstrations will be offered by Guadeloupean chef Joel Kichenin at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum; a concert by the Gypsy swing trio and a screening of French film « Le Herisson »by Mona Achache in cooperation with the New Orleans Museum of Art and the New Orleans Film Society. Painting and sculpture exhibitions of French artists living in New Orleans will be organized in several galleries. A photo exhibit on the theme « What makes Louisiana French »will take place at the historic New Orleans Collection. And more…
Semaine Française is presented by the Consulate General of France in New Orleans, the French-American chamber of Commerce-Gulf Coast Chapter, the Alliance francaise of New Orleans and the forum francophone des affaires. Semaine Française benefits from the support of all the French and French-American organizations in New Orleans and has partnered with most of the city’s institutions including the city of New Orleans, the Council for the Development Of French language In Louisiana (CODOFIL) the Port of New Orleans and Tulane University.
If you’re in France today, you’ll see signs in many bars and restaurants windows touting the message “Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!” in some variation (“The New Beaujolais region vintage has arrived!”).
There are soirées all over the world to celebrate this annual event. One of my favorite places in Washington D.C. is Bistrot du Coin. I believe the French Embassy in D.C. and its Consulates have events as well.
My friend Miss Vicky Wine is hosting a wine bar hop tonight in Paris with Le Petit Ballon to celebrate the arrival of the 2011 vintage. You can find more information and RSVP on this Facebook event. Here is the itinerary, and more information on this site (in French). Have a good time tonight!