Have you heard of the “taxe foncière des entreprises”? Well, I just learned about it a few days ago when the envelope arrived from the tax office .

I give cooking classes at our local organic store, do some catering and am starting some cooking classes out of my house. As I am a very honest person, I took advantage of the possibility in France to be an “auto-entrepreneur” which allows a person to offer a service (ie. WORK) and only pay the “charges” (medical, etc) according to how much they make. For instance, if I don’t work for a trimester, I don’t pay anything while if I make 100 €, I pay a certain percentage. Up until now, it has worked for me. I had some trouble with the URSSAF because oops, they forgot to let the social security office know that I am auto-entrepreneur and not micro-entreprise and so I started receiving notices demanding thousands of euros. But that got straightened out.

Let it been know that I do NOT make a lot of money. I only work a few hours a month. But since I work for a company, I need to be able to bill them properly, legally. And I admit to being a truly honest person, which I am learning fairly quickly is maybe a stupid thing to be in this country.

So, the other day, I receive a document from the tax offices declaring that for the 804 € that I earned in the year 2011, I now owe 368 € in property taxes ! Because my home address is my business address, they just take that and calculate a base rate with NO concern whatsoever as to what I earned. 46 % of my earning??? Oh well, they say. That’s just how it goes.

I called the tax office, talked to a legal expert, the mayor and spent a great deal of time on web site forums and what I learned was that there is NOTHING I can do about this. I may be able to be exonerated for it in the future, but in order to be exonerated for the year 2013 the local government would have had to vote before the 15 of October 2012… almost a month before this new tax hit everybody. So, basically I am screwed for next year, too. There is no exoneration for us silly people that just want to do a few hours a month but be honest and legal about it.

I have had a major decision to make. Either I give up working because it isn’t feasible, or I figure out a way to make quite a bit more money in order to make that 368 € less of a burden. I’ve decided on the second option. I like working. Well, I love teaching, I love cooking and I love interacting with people. So, I will be developing my business a bit more and hopefully cooking up a storm !!!!!!

UPDATE  14.11.2012 : Looks Like my friend Martine was right.  It seems the governement has just decided to waver this tax this year for auto-entrepreneurs. I get to keep my money ! Yay ! I’m just a bit nervous for the decisions that will be made for next year. They are talking about getting rid of the auto-entrepreneur status which doesn’t help people like me who work just a little but need to be legal about it.