Friday, February 28, 2014

Papers, papers partout!

I feel like I am currently buried under gigantic stacks of paperwork and I'm struggling to get out alive.  And for once, it is not only French bureaucracy at fault, though that is a large part of it.  I have simultaneously been working on preparing my dossier to renew my titre de séjour, finishing up my dossier de naturalisation and trying to comprehend America's overly complex tax system in an attempt to prepare our US taxes.  And let me tell you, trying to do all of this at once is really stressing me out and it's getting quite confusing.  Not to mention that I feel like my brain can no longer function after trying to wrap my mind around the US tax code.

Some people have asked me why I'm tackling all three of these tasks at once.  And well, admittedly my dossier de naturalisation has taken much longer to assemble than I would have expected (thanks to last year's government shutdown in the US, the state of New York and the overly complicated process of obtaining a birth certificate with apostille for someone born in NYC, my lingering fear of La Poste and their inability to deliver mail based on previous experience, the Tribunal d'Instance de Bordeaux and the Préfecture de Bordeaux).  I naively thought I would have had all of that paperwork together and turned in before the end of 2013.  Clearly that is not the case.  I just refuse to wait until I finish with the other tasks.  I really want to get that file turned in ASAP in the hopes that next year I might have citizenship before I would need to renew my titre de séjour again.  As for the US taxes and my titre de séjour renewal, it's not like I had the choice.  I have to renew my residency card before the other one expires and I had to wait to receive our W-2s from our jobs in the US before I could start on our taxes and they need to be filed by April 15.  I know I can get an automatic extension but I just want to get it done.

The only good news in all of this is that I managed to finish assembling my dossier for my renewal request and I mailed that en recommandé this week.  I've already received the récépissé from the préfecture to let me know they received the file (surprisingly quick...I was shocked), so now I just have to wait to get a date for my appointment and keep the originals organized until then.  The current status of my dossier de naturalisation is much more complicated but suffice it to say I thought we had all of the papers together and then discovered that one of the documents won't work so now we are trying to scramble and get a different document.  I'm also waiting to hear back from the préfecutre regarding an appointment thanks to their convoluted appointment scheduling system.  And the US taxes, well, I don't even know where to begin.  I feel lost and confused.  Every time I research answers to my questions I just end up even more confused than I was in the beginning.  So, needless to say, I am quite stressed at the moment and it is highly likely that there will be more posts on this coming soon.  Here's hoping I eventually find the light at the end of the paper tunnel!


  1. Yikes! I'm sure you've thought about it, but would a professional tax preparer help at all? I know it can be expensive, but if it's getting you too stressed to focus on other things, it might be a worthwhile investment! Or maybe the French-American chamber of commerce has some resources?

  2. I have thought about looking for a professional tax preparer, but I just don't want to spend all the money for it. Especially when I think it is something I can figure out on my own. It's just going to take a lot of time and research and create a lot of stress! And possibly require a call or two to the US Embassy's tax assistance line. Hadn't thought of trying the French-American chamber of commerce, I might have to have a look there too.

  3. AAARRRGH! Justificatif de domicile! I work through an interim agency and they ask for a new justificatif every three months. WHY!!!!! To what purpose! Am I likely to move each two and a half months just to confound the system. Won't somebody think of the saplings.
    Even for myself, a member of the European community (but only just), the paperwork is horrible. For yourself Michele, it must be 100 times harder.