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US Tax deadline April 15, and June 17 for US expats abroad

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.

Voting from abroad in US elections (update)

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).

The US Embassy in Paris has also send out helpful information, below the video. The US Embassy’s page on Facebook is also a great resource.

In addition, the non-partisan, non-profit association Union of Overseas Voters has a site at WeVote.fr for tips. You can join them on Facebook.

They have also made these information sheets available for you:

Important Voting Facts for US citizens

About the Union of Overseas Voters

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

Sep 11 memorial commemorations in France

September 9th, 2011 No comments

I hope this somber anniversary we will be safe in remembering those lost. As we move closer to a sense of closure, we can’t forget to move forward positively.

The BBC has a special report on this year’s annivesary, the Economist as well.

French daily Figaro also has a special dossier.

The famous French daily Le Monde printed a moving op-ed the day after the attacks of September 11, 2001 (available in English here, image of newspaper cover here).

Ten years later, the French have not forgotten their old ally in commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attacks. There are several events throughout the country. These are a selection. If you have more, feel free to post in the comments section for all to see.

The American Embassy in Paris also has a very informative page on 9/11 in Paris.

Paris
-Sep 11, 4:30-7:30pm: The American Church in Paris Sep 11 “Becoming a Blessing”

-On Sep. 11 at Paris Trocadero, a French association will be honoring the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with small replicas of the Twin Towers. Information can be found on Facebook, from FACC Chicago and this website.

Grenoble
-Sep 11, 11am Grenoble region: Association France-Etats Unis with Peachtree Fire Department of Georgia. Event PDF

Former US Ambassador to France Felix Rohatyn at American Library Feb. 8

February 7th, 2011 1 comment

Former US Ambassador to France Felix Rohatyn will be speaking at the American Library in Paris on Tuesday February 8 at 7:30pm. You can read more about the event here. This is part of the “Evenings with an Author” series at the library, which is located at 10, rue du Général Camou 75007 Paris.

Felix Rohatyn presents his memoir Dealings.

It was a German soldier’s chance decision to reach for a cigarette and absently wave a car through a checkpoint outside Marseille in 1940 that allowed Felix Rohatyn and his Jewish family to escape from Nazi-occupied France. In the States, a chance summer job led him to the small, private investment bank of Lazard Freres, where he came under the tutelage of legendary financier Andre Meyer. The summer job turned into an extraordinary fifty-year career.

About Felix Rohatyn

Rohatyn is an American investment banker known for his role in preventing the bankruptcy of New York City in the 1970s. He served as United States Ambassador to France from 1997-2000.

New birth abroad consular rules to start January 18

January 17th, 2011 1 comment

This message from the US Embassy in Paris…

U.S. Embassy, Paris

Redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad

(Upgrade of Systems: January 1 to January 18, 2011)

The Department of State is pleased to announce the introduction of a redesigned Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240). The redesigned CRBA, which is an official record confirming that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents acquired U.S. citizenship at birth and serves as proof of citizenship, has been updated with a variety of state-of-the-art security features to help prevent fraud and identity theft.

Beginning January 18, 2011, overseas posts will still document the citizenship of children born overseas to U.S.-citizen parents, but the CRBAs will be printed at our passport agencies in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and New Orleans, Louisiana, using the information provided by overseas posts. By centralizing production and eliminating the distribution of controlled blank stock throughout the world, we will help ensure uniform quality and lessen the possibility of fraud.

Additionally, the Department will no longer issue the DS-1350 Certification of Report of Birth Abroad. Instead, the Department will simply provide new FS-240s in response to requests for additional, replacement, or amended CRBAs.

In order to upgrade our systems for this change, the Consular Section of the Embassy in Paris is suspending CRBA adjudication from January 1 through January 18, 2011. CRBA applications submitted during that time will be adjudicated after January 18.

***

For details on consular services, births abroad, you may refer to the Embassy website page: Birth of U.S. Citizen Abroad.

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

SMART TRAVELER ENROLLMENT PROGRAM (STEP) If you are going to live or visit France, please take the time to tell our Embassy (and/or Consulate) about your trip. If you enroll, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency. Here’s the link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/).

Country Specific Information is available for every country of the world. These pages include such information as location of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the subject country, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, and drug penalties. We strongly encourage visitors and persons residing in France to refer to the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information Sheet for France and Monaco at the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1116.html.

Your U.S. Passport
Remember to renew your passport and your children’s passports in a timely manner for departure from France. It takes at least 14 business days to receive a new passport, and you may need to schedule an appointment with our office, so plan ahead if you are traveling soon. Information on passport services is available on our website at http://france.usembassy.gov/passports.html. Important note: the Immigration and Nationality Act (U.S. C. 1185 (b) requires that U.S. citizens enter and depart the United States on U.S. passports.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

“Creating prosperity through global trade” Paris event Jan. 25

January 14th, 2011 No comments

Power Networking is organizing a great event Tuesday January 25 at 7pm at Le Secret Paris (16 Avenue de Friedland 75008)

It is a talk by Daniel E. Harris (Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs – Embassy of the United States of America). You can register and find more information at this website.

This promises to be a very interesting event and opportunity to hear a top US official while networking and learning more about business.

More details below. Happy Networking!

POWER NETWORKING PRESENTS:

“CREATING PROSPERITY THROUGH GLOBAL TRADE”
Daniel E. Harris, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs – Embassy of the United States of America

TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011 – 7:00PM

Location: Le Secret Paris, 16 Avenue de Friedland, 75008 Paris (01.53.53.02.02): MAP

REGISTRATION: €40 (€20 for members)

BUSINESS NETWORKING RECEPTION – Cocktails and Amuse Bouche will be served.

As Senior commercial Officer, Daniel Harris serves as the chief of the Commercial Section and the senior representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce in France. Learn how the U.S. Commercial Service can help you:

-do business in France
-increase your sales to new global markets
-get introduced to qualified buyers and distributors

Where to celebrate Thanksgiving in France & Monaco

November 17th, 2010 No comments

Thanksgiving this year falls on Thursday Nov. 25. This is one of the most important American traditional holidays and being abroad can make one miss home being with family and friends. (French explanation here by US Embassy Paris, Thanksgiving guide by Lyon à la carte.)

Luckily there are many communities of expats in France and Thanksgiving festivities all over the country from Biarritz to Paris, even in Monte Carlo (Monaco). Here is a list below, non-exhaustive of course, as there could be events of which I’m not aware (especially in other cities). If this is the case, please feel free to list events as “comments”.

Many of these require reservations in advance and spots are limited, so get on it! Not all fall on Thanksgiving, they range from Nov. 17 to Nov. 28. Also, price ranges vary, anywhere from 20 to 80 euros a person usually. Parents with children ages 3-5, you may be interested by American Library in Paris having a story hour on Nov. 24.

cheers, and Happy “jour de dinde” (Turkey Day) en avance!

PARIS
Nov. 17: France-Etats Unis Paris (with talk on JFK)
Nov. 23: France Amériques
Nov. 24: American University Clubs of France
Nov. 25: Breakfast in America diner
Nov. 25: Katz’s American Diner, contact@katzparis.fr, their menu, their flyer
Nov. 25: AmCham France (American Chamber of Commerce)
Nov. 25, 26, 27: Le Saint-Martin
Harry’s Bar (not sure for 2010, contact them).
American Club of Paris (not sure, contact them)

LYON
Nov. 21: International Christian Community of Lyon (contact through site)
Nov. 27: American Club of Lyon. Info, PDF sign-up here.

MARSEILLE & Aix-en-Provence
Nov. 14 – ICCM English speaking church
Nov. 28 – Anglo-American Group of Provence

LILLE
Nov. 21: American Club of Lille

TOULOUSE
Nov. 20: France-Etats Unis Toulouse
Americans in Toulouse may have information on events.

BORDEAUX
Association Bordeaux-USA (not sure for this year, contact them)

STRASBOURG
Nov. 28: Americans in Alsace (looks like members only, contact through site)

GRENOBLE
Nov. 25: France-Etats Unis Grenoble (under “calendar”)
Pumpkins restaurant (contact them)

NANTES
Nov. 28: France-Etats Unis Nantes

MONTE CARLO (MONACO)
Nov. 25: Stars ‘N’ Bars

NICE and CANNES
Nov. 25: Expat Meet-Up Nice
American Club of the Riveria (I’ve heard they hold Thanksgiving, but call to confirm).

CAEN
Nov. 25: France-Etats Unis Caen

BIARRITZ
Nov. 26: France-Etats Unis Biarritz (soirée gala, Thanksgiving dinner)

US midterm election coverage from France

November 2nd, 2010 No comments

As US midterm elections take place today, there are several helpful sites with lots of information and insightful commentary, such as CNN, BBC, New York Times and The Economist.

But there is a fair share of sites in France, too. Le Figaro interviews Americans in Paris debating politics, talks about Obama campaigning for candidates, profiles young voters in the US who are disillusioned with politics, and features a midterm election special here.

Le Point talks about “the moment of truth for Obama” and you can also find information at Nouvel Obs, 20 minutes and a fantastic guide from France24. The US Embassy Paris also gives a guide.

US midterm elections: electronic voting from abroad for 25 states

October 12th, 2010 No comments

I got this message from the US Embassy in Paris concerning voting in the upcoming Nov. 2 US midterm elections.

Electronic Voting System Project
October 12, 2010

Attention U.S. citizen voters:

The following 25 states, or parts of these states, are participating in an Electronic Voting System project:

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia

If you vote in one of these states/counties, you should follow the instructions in the attached Electronic Voting System Fact Sheet to find your respective state, and use all of the voting options available to you through www.FVAP.gov. Many of these state tools allow you to use a full ballot reflecting all contests (federal, state, and local). Follow the instructions for returning the voted ballot.

If you subsequently receive your blank state ballot from your state after submitting the online ballot, you should vote and return the state ballot immediately. The state ballot will take priority over the electronic voting project ballot if both are received by the state deadline.

If you have already received, voted, and returned your state ballot, you should not participate in this project.

If you have questions about this project, or about voting by absentee ballot from France, please contact the voting assistance officers by e-mail at: VoteParis@state.gov
or, at the following telephone numbers:

04 91 54 96 10
01 43 12 29 93
01 43 12 20 93
01 43 12 20 21

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
France
Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22
Website: http://france.usembassy.gov
E-mail: citizeninfo@state.gov

France under terror threat alert in wider European plot

September 28th, 2010 2 comments

This is not to scare my readers but to inform them. For the past couple weeks, the threat alert in France has been high as intelligence agencies from the US and EU have picked up on widespread and credible hints at a terrorist plot of coordinated attacks on targets in Europe, particularly in France. This in the wake of French nationals being kidnapped in Niger by Al-Qaida affiliates and bomb alerts against the Eiffel Tower, and French transport systems.

French weekly Le Point talks about how the French government is communicating on this issue, with predictable criticism coming from left and right about how they are creating panic. But according to French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux, there is a “real threat of an imminent attack.” And Police Director Frédéric Péchenard adds that “we have serious indications from reliable intelligence sources that there is a risk of a big attack.”

Meanwhile, the CIA is upping drone attacks of militants in Pakistan in an effort to hamper terrorist threats against European targets.

As the Wall Street Journal stated:

“…Last week, France stepped up its level of vigilance over what was thought could be an imminent al Qaeda threat. Authorities said that they had uncovered a suicide bombing plot to attack the Paris subway linked to al Qaeda’s North African affiliate. They said the threat might be connected to France’s recent vote to ban the wearing of burqas, the head-to-toe garb worn by the most conservative Muslim women…”

The US Embassy in Paris has issued this warning against attacks.

Authorities are trying to prevent a repeat of the 1995 Paris metro bombings and related scares or something even worse.

Louis Caprioli, former anti-terrorist intelligence chief at DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire) (former French intelligence services agency, now part of the larger DCRI), was interviewed by Le Figaro here below talking about how there is a real threat notably from Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb including Algerian networks that use women suicide bombers.

Stay alert, stay safe, but don’t let this interrupt your daily life, of course. Il faut vivre.

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