02/07/2012

Now, I need to give you some background to this post. It involves re-registering a foreign vehicle in France. To do this, you need sundry paperwork including something called a “Quittus Fiscal” which you obtain from your local Hotel des Impots (tax office).

A couple of weeks ago, LSS had called the local tax office, which is the sub-prefecture in Romorantin to ask when she could pop in to get a Quittus Fiscal. This document simply states that tax has been paid on the vehicle.

“What are your opening hours? I’d like to obtain a Quittus Fiscal.”
“A quitty what?”
“A Quittus Fiscal. I’ve brought my vehicle to France from the UK and I need to re-register it on a French number plate.”
“Oh, Quittus Fiscal. No, you don’t need one of those, unless you bought the vehicle specifically to import it to France.”
“No, I’ve had the car for 8 years.”
“Oh, that’s fine then. It falls under your personal property so you don’t need a Quittus Fiscal.”

I suggested that LSS check this information. According to an Internet resource I’d found at http://britishexpats.com/articles/france/registering-motorcycle-car-france/, we needed one. So she called the Head Honcho department itself, the Prefecture in Blois.

“Please can you confirm whether or not I need a Quittus Fiscal in order to re-register my English car in France?” she asked.
“No, you don’t need a Quittus Fiscal any more,” was the reply.

So this morning we were off to the Prefecture in Blois to get the Carte Gris for the Hyundai. It’s only 60 km away but it’s an hour’s drive, because the roads are all “D” roads (D for Departmental).

We reach the counter in the Prefecture.
“Car documents?” queries the clerk behind the counter when LSS explains she’d like a Carte Gris for an English car. The document (V5) was handed over.
“Bon. Request for car re-registration?” Handed over. (Can you see where this is going?)
“Bon. Certificate de Conformité?” Handed over.
“Bon. Quittus Fiscal?”
“Er, what? I specifically called to ask if I needed one and your offices confirmed that I didn’t.”
“Oh no,” the clerk replied. “I don’t know who you spoke to, but you need one.”

Steam started rising from the top of LSS’s head at this point. “So I’ve got to go all the way back to Romorantin to get a document which your offices here told me I didn’t need?” LSS asked sweetly.
I took cover behind a potted plant to avoid being splattered by the clerk’s blood, as I was sure that she was about to be dragged over the counter by the hair and beaten to death with the life-sized marble bust of Marie Antoinette which graced her desk (with the inscription “The people don’t have any bread!” “Hah. Let them eat their Quittus Fiscals.”)

“No,” the clerk said. “You can go to the local Hotel des Impots here to get one. Go out of the building, turn left, and it’s just past the shops.”
I followed in LSS’s wake, dodging the clouds of steam.

“Bloody country! Who in their right minds would want to be French!” she declaimed loudly to the queue of hopefuls waiting in line to get their own vehicle documents.

Of course we had to pop into a local coffee shop to ask directions to the Hotel des Impots. Having been initially directed to the wrong building, we eventually found the right place and informed the receptionist that we required a Quittus Fiscal. We were asked to take a seat whilst the correct employee was found. Unfortunately when this employee arrived, we were informed that Blois could not give us a Quittus Fiscal after all; it had to be issued by the local offices in Romorantin.

The drive home was completed in total silence. We had lunch, then drove the 37 km to Romorantin where we marched into the Hotel des Impots and asked for a Quittus Fiscal. We were told to take a seat, and shortly thereafter a portly bearded man asked us for the vehicle documents (I’d brought the ST1100 documents as well, just in case, although I was still waiting for its Certificate de Conformité – you can read about that particular nightmare here).

The Quittus Fiscal document was filled out within minutes, and handed over to us as easy as you like. So tomorrow we need to go BACK to Blois, this time with all the documents they want. I just hope it’s a different clerk this time. The good thing is that now I have the Quittus Fiscal for the bike too, so as soon as the Certificate de Conformité turns up I can once again visit Blois. France is definitely a nation of paper-pushers. I’ve noticed that every desk has its own photocopy machine.

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