A very happy new year to you all and hope that 2013 is kind. It’s not being that kind to the UK, I have noted, what weather and more weather! Ugh! So far there has been snow all around us, most particularly up in the ski stations and even in some places on the coast like Cap D’Agde. But not here in mid-mountain, just blue skies! Not complaining, no siree. The novelty of snow wears off pretty darn quick. It’s been a while since I posted so I would like to do a bit of a recap of 2012 since our accounts have been finished. Unusually the end of our financial year is the end of October. We chose this as, with our last business the accountant was up to their necks in accounts at the beginning of the year and ours were often late. The end of year here in France is quite punishing. All the taxes come through and all have to be paid over November and December. So that includes income tax if you’re liable, taxe d’habitation (council tax) taxe fonciere (rates), for the business it’s the equivalent of business rates and foncieres, and the most ridiculous one that really makes me wanna spit which is cgd/crgds, or somesuch mixture of those letters, that is supposedly a contribution to the national debt. It must be some massive debt, as we’ve been paying it off since we’ve been here (since 2000) and we pay it everytime we happen to make any money on something, like for example if you sell a property (not the primary residence) for a profit. Even interest on the bank account gets deducted. As if interest rates aren’t low enough! I’d like to know when exactly the debt (that I didn’t even have a part in accruing, incidentally)will be repaid. Although I can hazard a guess….like not in my lifetime! Business-wise we saw a sharp fall in turnover and profit compared to the year before. This didn’t come as a surprise as we keep the figures week to week so we know how it’s going. The first 6 months of the year were the most difficult and our turnover was down every month. I had hoped that we would catch up in the summer, but although we didn’t go down in August, we can’t really go up either because we are always at maximum. I guess it was all to do with the recession, people did seem a little more cautious with their money. A bit depressing to say the least to finish the year with next to nothing to show for it. However, we can sleep sure in the knowledge that we will still get taxed!! *laughs hollowly* and of-course things could have been a whole lot worse.
Some things have spectacularly gone up in the last year or so. Our council tax has increased by 30% here in the village and we now have a reputation for high tax which is keeping people from buying here – and we have customers actually saying that. Another thing that got me spitting nails was the fee for playing music in the restaurant. We pay 2 bills for diffusing musice publicly – albeit we are a dinky space: 1 is to the artists which went up from 217€ to about 420€. The 2nd is to the writers and publishers which is a % of the 1st, so went up in the same proportion. Now, of-course artists et al should be paid for their creative output, but they’ve come up with some outrageous formula that we cannot justify. For one thing, part of the calculation of the fee is based on the siz of your commune. for Vernet-Les-Bains, they have counted it as a town of 11000 inhabitants, regardless of the fact that the permanent pop is around 1500 from November to March and attains aroun that in peak August. Well, that was the last straw for us and music and after a bit of research we discovered a whole new world of ‘rights paid’ services where for around 50€ a year they provide a new load of music every quarter that you can download and play rights free. So we have saved a bunch of money there *smug voice* but, of-course, the music is a bit non descript. Vernet’s prodigal musical son Cali released an album recently https://itunes.apple.com/fr/album/vernet-les-bains/id573220336 named after Vernet, his home town and there was whole frisson around it that was quite exciting. However, we couldn’t play it, because we couldn’t afford to! Still, it was jolly satisfying telling them we were no longer paying. *smirk* I am looking out for other satisfying money saving ops…..