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EULawyer, Lawyer
Category: French Law
Satisfied Customers: 269
Experience:  Titular Attorney (Avocat) at Ioan-Luca Vlad Law Office
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I lived in France over 30 years ago. I belonged to SACEM when

Customer Question

I lived in France over 30 years ago. I belonged to SACEM when I lived there. I recently found out that I owed a lot of taxes and that the government put a block on any monkey I might receive from SACEM( I hadn't thought I had any money coming so hadn't checked it for all of that time but recently wrote something for a French artist and wondered if it had paid any returns). I spoke to someone asking why there was no money and they told me about the block. I was unaware that I owed any taxes and was shocked to learn that because I owed them from 30 years ago ( a small sum then), it had grown because of 30 years interest! I am not sure what to do but really can't pay the money. What could happen if I don't contact the government and as I don't live in France, what is the worst that could happen to me? Now that I know about it, I am worried. Thank you for any help you can give me
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: French Law
Expert:  EULawyer replied 1 year ago.
Dear Customer,Thank you for your question. I am very sorry for your situation.To answer your question directly, there are two things that can happen:1. International money collection. This means that the French fiscal authorities, being notified one way or another of your current location (or finding it themselves via international judicial cooperation), ask the Thai authorities to pursue you for the debts. The Thai authorities would then, acting on behalf of the French state, use the local means of debt collection (i.e. impounding cars, confiscating assets, selling house at auction etc.). The main way to protect yourself against this if it ever comes to it would be that you would have available all the normal benefits of a debtor in Thailand, and in France, which means:-> you could contest the decision to pursue both in France and in Thailand, and this would bog down the proceedings for a while; and-> you would have available the right to ask for periodic payments or deferred payments, taking into account your financial situation.Also, supposing you were never informed of your debt, you could contest this in France so that the penalties are removed and you only have to pay the original sum or something close to it. For this, however, I would strongly recommend retaining a local French tax attorney.2. In criminal law, not paying taxes is a crime, punishable with a fine and / or up to five years in prison, according to Article 1771 of the General Tax Code of France. This means that, in theory, France could issue an international arrest warrant, or retain you at the border. Nevertheless, even if that happens (usually unlikely), it too can be contested, even while you are abroad, for reasons such as that you did not know of the amount and existence of your fiscal obligation.In practice, I would be more concerned about the first situation, particularly if you still have economic connections with France (like bank transfers from / to that country). In your situation I would certainly try to approach this pro-actively, retain a local French lawyer, find out the exact amounts owed and what can be done to eliminate some penalties and interest, and then to make periodic payments.I hope my answer, although sadly not ideal, is useful and clears up your legal situation.I look forward to your rating, which is essential to my activity.Cordially,Dr I L Vlad