Saturday, May 5, 2018

Meetings, meetings, meetings

My nature is to volunteer. I do. I left the AARO board, but not the committees and I'm still organizing most of the Paris events, but I insist that others find the topic and the speakers and let me just handle the logistics.
Nothing was scheduled in April. That didn't bother me after a busy March. But then, an urgent meeting came up -- to present the new repatriation (transition) and GILTI taxes imposed on U.S. shareholders of foreign corporations. The motivation for those was the money hoarded abroad by U.S. corporations in their foreign subsidiaries. It also affects the Americans who live abroad and has a (small) company, like a restaurant, hair salon, or a service company, who have no intention of "repatriating" the profits to the U.S. because they don't live in the U.S. No more about that. I'll post the link to the report when available for anyone really interested.
The meeting was decided just as we were on our way to the south of France, in the second week of April. Paul was driving and I was trying to reserve a conference venue by phone. As soon as we would go over a hill, I'd lose the signal and have to start over. The meeting was scheduled for May 2. The month of May, in France, is a difficult month. May 1 and May 8 are fixed holidays; Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Monday are floating holidays. When these days are close to one another or close to weekends (Tuesday or Thursday) you get what are called "ponts". People bridge over the workday (Monday or Friday) to create a 4-day weekend. When they are all close together, people manage to get a whole 10 vacation with only a few work days in the count. Now, add in the two days of train strikes in every 5-day period! May 2 was not a strike day, but May 3 was and that could have impeded people needing to leave on May 3 from coming, at all. There was no availability at Reid Hall, so we held the meeting at FIAP Jean Monnet, which is, in my opinion, a fine conference center. The speakers agreed.
All of the May mess makes any hope of people showing up for a hastily scheduled meeting a risky hope. May 1 was Tuesday, so many for many of the expected professional audience, May 2 would be the start of their week. I was overly optimistic, but we were not too far from breaking even. oof.
The next meeting, coming up, is May 7 -- yikes! That's the Monday before May 8, in the bridge! It's the meeting dealing with how to declare your French taxes -- generally speaking and your U.S. income, specifically. We couldn't get the big room at Reid Hall for this, so we settled for a smaller room and it's sold out. The original date for this meeting was May 23, but people who are filing in France for the first time have a May 17 deadline, so we had to push it up. The deadlines for filing online are different, depending on what "département" you live in. In the Parisian area, we are lucky, having until mid-June.
There have also been committee meetings: a communications project and further advocacy on this repatriation and GILTI tax issue. But at least I had nothing to do with the scheduling.
Once the French tax meeting is over, Paul and I will be off on another excursion. More about that, later.

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