[FoRK] Fucked by the French

Dr. Robert Harley robert.harley
Mon Oct 3 14:34:33 PDT 2005

>> 6502-emulator-writing-in-a-night is probably a well documented
>>symptom of some mental condition.
>But dammit we don't want to be cured :)

6502 is the first machine I was into but ARM was the one that grabbed
my attention - after writing flood-fill routines for both circa 1988,
the choice made itself. At the time and for a while thereafter, I had
dreams which involved writing ARM code and counting cycles therein.

Orthogonally - and to get to the point - please DO NOT ever get
involved in business in France - it makes sense to hire the services
of another party to make sales there, but DO NOT get caught up in
running any business there yourself. (I wouldn't say the same of
other European countries - even Germany which is most like France but
where people have a clue and are turning the corner). If you do set
up shop in France, you WILL be hit by unimaginably unjustifiable
expense and red-tape. Even if you have been careful, taking good
and expensive advice from legal types and accountants, you WILL be
screwed. Excuse the all-caps but I have felt like saying this for a long

One thing is that in France you generally pay for previously incurred
charges (previous year, previous quarter) rather than paying in
advance - this applies to tax, social security, secondary health
insurance, pension funds, CSG ("general social contribution"),
"training charges" and so on. While income tax and company tax are
not particularly bad on their own, you WILL be charged innumerable
other taxes (effectively taxes even if they are not called that) that you
never even dreamed of. CSG is fairly minor but is both payable and
taxable. Yes, you understood right: you pay it and you pay income tax
on it ("Oh, but it's not a tax, it's just an obligatory contribution
to cover the social security deficit). The first year in France is
bliss, the rest are bad, and year you leave is hell!

The point what brung in this diatribe... I left France 18 months ago.
I now pay for British national health insurance and an executive
health plan than covers everything 100% and the national pension fund
and a private one too. I spent last year double paying everything
(quadruple paying health).

The French national pension scheme finally recognised, after mucho
letters exchanged, that I overpaid (due to their threatening letters -
they owe me money back but the fact of the matter is that I will never
get a refund (plus it goes to pay French pensioners, not any pension of
mine)). The French national health scheme also finally accepted that
I overpaid and thatI owe them nothing more.

But the "obligatory complementary health insurance" (which is on top of
social security, for managers and other non-salaried positions) is charged
by a company (not part of the state but in bed with it) and they are after
me again.
They went beyond threatening letters at the beginning of this year and
took me to court to get payment of (undue) charges. I replied with
numerous letters and copies of documents to prove that I have two
health insurances in the U.K. and the last I heard was that they
withdrew the case and that I had in fact overpaid by 400 euros, but
now they are demanding more than 700 euros again, and this for a
coverage that I don't need or want, and including surcharges for late
payment inspite of the fact that they know I have two coverages already.

I'll repeat, and this is not the result of a moment of anger but
rather of long-withheld anger and experience: do not under any
circumstances ever place any of your assets in France, do not deal in
France except at arms' length via a third party. Do not expect
fairness or the rule of law in they way that you might expect in any
modern state - you will (and I mean you - company law does not protect
you) be liable to being f*cked over to fill the innumerable massive
deficits of the French guv'mint.

Don't do it.


PS: Was that clear enough? I'll repeat it if need be.

More information about the FoRK mailing list