More than 120,000 undeclared swimming pools have been discovered during France’s push against tax evasion, King Charles III announces new dates for his French state visit, and are France’s pension strikes finally over? Here are the French news stories you need to know about this week.
1. Tax fines for undeclared swimming pools
We warned readers back in August last year that the French authorities were clamping down on undeclared property renovations, with the Public Finances Directorate General in France (DGFiP) employing a new artificial intelligence tool using aerial photographs to detect undeclared swimming pools and extensions on French properties.
Well, the results are in! Less than a year later, the DGFiP has announced the discovery of some 120,000 undeclared swimming pools across France. Letters were sent out to the property owners in May, inviting them to regularize their situation. Failing to declare a swimming pool or renovation work is essentially a form of tax evasion, as such works are subject to additional property taxes.
If you have received such a letter, you have 30 days to update the details of your property on your online tax account. You can do this by accessing your personal space at impots.gouv.fr and declaring your pool in the ‘Bien immobiliers’ section. If you need help doing this, you should contact your local tax office or send a message via your personal space.
If you haven’t received a letter but know that you have undeclared renovations or extensions to your property, we highly recommend coming forward and regularizing the situation as soon as possible. The French tax authorities are always considerably more lenient if an individual comes forward of their own accord, and with this new technology in use, it will only be a matter of time until you’ll be found out.
2. France to welcome King Charles III in September
Back in March, we reported that British King Charles III had cancelled his state visit to France due to logistical and safety concerns amid the country’s ongoing pension strikes. But with France back to business as usual (more about that in a moment), the recently coronated King has now announced plans to visit France in September, some six months after the original dates.
The March trip had been promoted as an opportunity to rebuild the ‘fractured relationship’ between the UK and France, and would have been His Majesty’s first overseas trip after ascending to the throne. The original itinerary included a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles, a commemorative ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and a visit to Bordeaux.
3. Will strikes affect summer vacations?
Speaking of strikes, last week saw what looks likely to be the last of the country’s ongoing nationwide strikes in protest of Macron’s controversial pension reforms. Held on Tuesday, June 6th, the one-day strike was the 14th mass strike of its kind to take place since the protests started back in January. However, with a diminishing turnout and no legal options left for contesting the pension reforms (which passed into law back in April and will come into action this September), does this mean the end of France’s pension reform strikes?
Well, it depends! Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT union, has gone on record stating that “this will be the last demonstration against the retirement reforms, in this format”, while both the CGT union and Jean-Luc Mélénchon, leader of the La France Insoumise party, have both insisted that the protests will continue, albeit without actually committing to further strike dates.
The general consensus seems to be that this will be the last of the major strikes, but only time will tell whether further protests gather momentum. One thing is for sure – public support for the pension reforms remains low, and there is still growing frustration among the French, further fuelled by inflation and the high cost of living.
The good news for travellers is that strike action is traditionally postponed throughout July and August when most workers are happy to enjoy their vacation time. So, if you’re planning a visit to France over the summer months, you’re unlikely to be affected by travel strikes.
Leave a reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *