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Comment: Frenchie here (Score 1) 386

by christophe (#46765999) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?
I don't understand why most people should pay for a software for income tax, or any income at all by the way. Richest people with many sources of income or independent workers who are a firm as well as a person may need some consulting, but this is service, not software.

As a French, I'll do this in the next weeks:

Go to the website of government where I can pay all my taxes.

Enter my credentials (I got them my snail mail years ago).

Answer a few basic questions about marital status, address, spouse, age and number of children (very quick, the Fisc (our IRS) know everything and it has not changed).

All incomes from the family (employers, stocks...) are already known and pre-filled. I just have to check that it is in sync with all the summary papers that my employer or my banks have sent me these last weeks ("you must declare XX € in field XY, and YY € in field YZ"). If I want to check, I'll have to make some additions (hard!). I don't remember many mistakes since all this is already filled.

Tax deductions have their own fields. I must sum the numbers from the papers sent from by charities. The nanny for my daughter is already subsidized, so they know how much I've paid and can deduct.

The biggest challenge was tax deduction for the heating system and some insulation in the house. The problem is knowing if and how I'm allowed to deduct these expenses, not computing them. If I think that the 10% default for professional expenses is not enough, I can count all kilometers to work and a few other things. You need Excel to track all this, not more.

At the end the website tells me how much I'll have to pay, or how much I'll get back. If I want to calculate myself, the rules are simple enough that Excel should suffice. My grand father, whose situation was much more complicated, did all of this himself without computer.

So, French administration is on this rather simple and effective. Well, 500 years ago, foreign ambassadors were stunned by the efficiency of our tax system :-) Paid amounts, other taxes, and the way they are spent are other topics...

I see comments from Switzerland or Finland telling this is not more complicated there. I read German newspapers and every year the tax sofware is a hot topic - but these people never knew how to make things simple (not a surprise that SAP was born there but I digress) (said as Germand-friendly Frenchie).

Comment: Re:Want some fun ? (Score 1) 892

by christophe (#44582353) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: When Is It OK To Not Give Notice?
I resigned in 2006 and was forced to stay 3 months in a boring job (coding ABAP on SAP R/3) while my new boss was waiting for me. My future ex-employer did not really try to find my replacement before the end of the second month. It's difficult to "negociate" a shorter préavis while being professionnal (it's a small world). Just going away without reason could cost you 3 months salary IIRC.

On the other side, a French firm cannot fire you at will, it's much much more complicated (Americans never understand it, and I partly agree).

That's a pain in the neck while searching for a job or an employee, because nowadays most jobs are to be filled NOW, not 3 months later, and in the current job market nobody would resign without the next job signed.

Comment: France (Score 1) 613

by christophe (#30887690) Attached to: Why the IRS Should Automatically Fill In Returns With What It Knows
Here is France, tax fillings are pre-filled for at least two years.

Each administration, bank or firm sends you a paper each year telling you how much you earn from them and how much you must declare to our IRS. I've seen tiny errors in complicated situations, nothing to complain about. Having a centralized state has some good sides.

I must only add things that the administration cannot know (charities, deductible professional expenses, tax credit for energy savings...). Of course it's all online for years (and it works rather well).

It helps that we do not need software to compute all this for us, I don't know anyone on salary who uses one. It seems to be a hot topic in Germany though but they always over-engineer everything.

Comment: Re:Knowing how PC the US is these days... (Score 2, Insightful) 964

by christophe (#29198131) Attached to: Microsoft Poland Photoshops Black Guy To White One

(Warning: braod and probably abusive generalization below.)

It's always funny to see such photos on American products or ads in my part of Europe.

I remember the photo on the packaging of a computer mouse for children (from MS?): a boy with blue eyes and fair hair (in the center), a Chinese-looking girl, a black boy. This is an American mix, not a European one.

To be PC in the West-European market, you have to add an Arab- or Turkish-looking child. In France the typical hair is darker than in the States and blue eyes not very common, so the fair hair boy looks like one of our Dutch tourists. Our proportion of Asian people is low outside of Paris, and they are more Vietnamese than Chinese.

It depends heavily on the country (I suppose that you could say between the states inside the US.)
You cannot be PC and have the same photo for all countries. Unless that you want to appear like a soul-less company with American-style management.

BTW, the white person in many of such photos is always in the best position: on the mouse packaging, the boy was in the middle; in a recent ad for Visual Studio, the white young man is on the front and a Chinese-looking girl in the background; and in the photo from the article, the white woman is the only one active (she seems to be the boss). Neither do I see fat or disabled persons.

Social Networks

Twitter As a Campaigning Tool 92

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the smtp-aint-sexy-no-more dept.
labourstart writes "Meetup.com wasn't designed to help presidential candidates and Twitter wasn't supposed to be a campaigning tool. But LabourStart's Eric Lee argues that Twitter may be just what unions and other campaigning organizations have been looking for — a way to cut through the background noise and reach their members."

Comment: Re:That will force them to give options (Score 1) 663

by christophe (#23460824) Attached to: French Judge Orders Refund For Pre-Installed XP

Punitive damages do not exist in France.

In the PDF (page 7): ASUS has to pay to the plaintif 100 for Windows, 30 for the other software and 150 to reimburse Mr Hordoir some expenses he had to do for going to court. Hordoir asked for 1000 of dommages et intérêts, (damages) to cover the time lost in this case, but that was refused by the court. Dommages & intérêts is intended to cover physical and moral damages, and not to be directly punitive.

(In my opinion, our dommages & intérêts are usually far too small to annoy big corporations in such cases, while US-style punitive damages gives some money to the plaintif totally unrelated to real damages. Something in-between should exist like punitive fines increasing geometrically with each new case.)

More: ASUS had to pay les dépens , ie paying the legal expenses of BOTH sides. In French system, the user usually pays... (Don't ask me the difference between les dépens and the 150 euros above related to our article 700 ...)

IAF, but IANAL.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (4) How many times do we have to tell you, "No prior art!"

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