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Who can help with the language barrier at the tax office in France?

Discussing complex topics such as property can be challenging, especially if knowledge of French is still limited

Interpreters can help with a visit to tax office Pic: fizkes / Shutterstock

Reader question: My property taxes have doubled since I did some minor construction  and modernisation. I wish to visit the tax office and discuss this but my French is limited. How can I find a professional who could accompany me and help me put my case?  T.T.

Consider employing an interpreter, looking for interprètes in the Pages Jaunes (yellow pages), for example, an interpreter being someone who translates vocally. Alternatively, it is possible to obtain a list of ‘sworn’ (assermenté) interpreters approved by your regional appeal court

Note that local tax offices often only issue assessments for the property tax, and are not responsible for the base value on which they are calculated, valeur locative cadastrale (VLC), which appears at the top of tax assessments. This is probably done in the main tax office administration centre in the same town as the prefecture.

This is a fictitious annual rental value, based on surface area, adjusted for location, condition and amenities, and by comparison with similar nearby homes. Improve­ments increase it, especially if you applied for planning permission, as the evaluating office has details of the works.

Tax rates set by councils are applied to the VLC, so check the calculations on the assessments to see what caused the rise.

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