My dealings with my pension agent CIPAV can only be described as “disastrous”.  The bastards who run this little outfit, intended to help freelancers plan for their retirement, seem to find it amusing to ignore all communication from their desperate members (i.e. me) who say they are unable to pay due to CIPAV’s estimated earnings being way beyond the reality.

In 2006 I stupidly ticked the box for ‘complementary cover’ in my retirement plan.  Meaning I agreed to pay extra if I earned above a certain threshold.  Last year I came in way below this threshold – and so filled out the requisite form asking for exemption.

No reply.  So I was a bit miffed when I was asked for the same amount again a few months later. So I followed advice and wrote a cheque for what should have been the legitimate amount.

Today I received a bill, that not only ignored my complementary exemption, but also ignored the fact that I had already paid up 50% of what they had asked for. Additionally they see fit to charge me a bit extra for my earnings in 2007 plus three late payment penalties into the bargain, resulting in a bill for around 33% of my gross profit for 2009.

I am now seeking advice from my accountants, but it looks as though the bailiffs will be called if I don’t go and find a loan to pay off these clueless fonctionnaires.  This is the irony of being self-employed in France – you are required more often than not to borrow money to pay the state in advance of earning a single penny, and then when you do earn some money – they seem to think that it’s OK to ask for most of it after the fact.

It is for this reason I am considering a portage scheme … one whereby you get treated a bit more fairly … allegedly.