Taxes And More Fraud

14 Feb

We spent all of 2010 pet/house sitting, camping around France, and fighting various battles with French tax officers and the Cadastre (Land Registry) in Aurillac. It went on throughout the year until we received a letter from a senior tax officer called Madame Regine Cosson, she is based in Mauriac (15). What a wonderful person she is, and we have much for which to thank her.

We had received an unexpected taxes foncier and d’habitation facture from the main Tresor Public in Mauriac, a facture for a total of over €3,000, relevant to the years 2008 and 2009. It was a ludicrous situation, there was no rhyme and no reason to the figures, and I immediately replied to say so. I also requested a full breakdown of the payments made by Monsieur MA, on our behalf, and of the payments made directly by the two locataires. To this day, we have never received a breakdown, not even a bottom line figure!

Every time I wrote asking for the same information, we received yet another facture – with different figures! Eventually, after receiving a third facture with different figures, I took the bull by the horns and I phoned the Tresor Public in Mauriac. I find it much easier to speak French face-to-face, and to write French, than I do to speak with a French person on the telephone. But, the situation was really getting us down. We had estimated that we were actually in advance with our property taxes, very much so because we should not have been paying taxe d’habitation.

A young man answered the phone and I managed to explain my enquiry. He asked me for my telephone number and said he would investigate and phone me back. I thought that was that, yet another Gallic Shrug! So, Tom and I decided to drive to Mauriac the following day, to sort it out over the desk. Ten minutes later, the clerk at the Mauriac Tresor Public office phoned me back! I almost collapsed with shock! Very pleasantly, he told me the local Tresor Public office, in Saignes, had clawed back everything paid since 2007 to cover an outstanding water rates bill.

It really does take an enormous shock to shake the wind out of my sails! I should think most, if not all, of my family and friends would quite happily confirm that I can, without any difficulty, talk the hind legs off a field full of donkeys! I was totally speechless! After a rather long silence, the young man seemed to think out loud, he said, “That does not look correct to me, Madame.” He then told me he would speak with his superior, Madame Cosson, but he advised me to telephone Saignes in the meantime.

Having already had several skirmishes with the Tresor Public staff in Saignes, about the hairdresser’s water rates that she refuses to pay, I decided to have a cup of tea before making the call. How British is that!

But, before I could make the call, the young man at the Mauriac office phoned me again to tell me not to worry about speaking with the Saignes staff, Madame Cosson would be writing to us, the letter would be posted by 5pm that afternoon.

Three days later, our friend, Madame ZC, phoned Tom to let us know a letter from Madame Cosson had arrived at the house in Champagnac; we arranged to travel to the village the following day to collect it. It was a long journey for us to make to collect one letter, ie ten hours round trip, but that letter started the ball rolling that would eventually lead us to the Cadastre, and to evidence of yet more fraud that had been committed by our sellers. Tax evasion.


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4 responses to “Taxes And More Fraud

  1. fly in the web

    February 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    And how often does tax evasion lie at the bottom of soemthing that appears otherwise inexplicable!

    It is only after the death of my husband’s mother that we are discovering…slowly and against the odds…. how his brother conspired with the mother’s sister’s family to cover up tax evasion …using the mother’s name to cover her sister’s familiy’s activities.

    I wonder if that long moment of flabberghasted silence when you heard about the clawback gave the young man time to realise that there was something not quite right…where a hasty reply might have just made him think opf you as just one more disgusted taxpayer.

    • hobosinfrance

      February 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Yes, as we were to discover, the house was sold to cover up the sellers’ tax evasion. Something we didn’t know until Madame Cosson (Tresor Public, Mauriac) started digging on our behalf, our sellers had been evading taxes for at least 8 years before we bought the house – probably much longer than that, and the resident locataire’s evidence to the Appeal Tribunal proved that tax evasion. Yet, even our own avocat didn’t tell us about that evidence, the locataire told us after we divulged to him what Madame Cosson had discovered! The situation with your husband’s family was very similar to what happened in my husband’s family nearly 20 years ago, the family solicitor was prosecuted and sent to prison, and my husband’s (middle) brother was also prosecuted! It was a dreadful time for Tom (my husband) and his youngest brother, they were devastated at the death of their mother, and by the fact that their sibling had been involved with a crime in which their innocent mother had been a pawn. You and your husband have my sincere sympathy, it’s a dreadful crime for loved ones to uncover. Warmest regards, Chrissie

  2. catherine

    February 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    This is like an onion, peel away one layer….

    • hobosinfrance

      February 15, 2012 at 1:46 am

      That is exactly as we describe it, Catherine, when listeners’ eyes take on a glazed expression, as we try to précis the events of the past 4+ years! It’s certainly not a topic for a ‘5 minute talk’! Warmest regards, Chrissie


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