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Racing to Beat the Tax Man and A Day at the Races

The tax man got me yesterday morning as he did most of you, I imagine.

I paid estimated U.S. tax via the government’s online system — which wouldn’t allow the payment to be made on a non-business day, therefore it will be dated 4/16/2012 and may be ‘a day late and a dollar short.’ The French taxes got paid by check and mailed, although it won’t be registered by the French Post Office until today, either. It was a race to the finish line.

For those of you who wonder about Expats and to which country they pay tax…just know we pay tax to every country in which we earn money. It’s pretty simple. And fortunately, when you pay tax to one, you won’t pay tax on the same income to the other, thanks to the tax treaty of 1994 and President Bill Clinton:

16-4-12-RacesatLongchampManet1867Race at Longchamp – by Manet16-4-12 ginaGina Rarick16-4-12-244 bus shuttleShuttle bus to Longchamp16-4-12-longchamp-PONYRACEPony racing for young jockeys16-4-12-longchamp-TINIEST SADDLEOne tiny saddle16-4-12-longchamp-TAKING THE REINSIt takes strength to rein in a race horse16-4-12-longchamp-JOCKEYING FOR ATTENTION16-4-12-longchamp-WALKING THE HORSES16-4-12-longchamp-INSIDE THE GATEA look inside the starting gate16-4-12-longchamp-PRESENTING THE HORSES16-4-12-longchamp-GETTING INEntering the starting gate16-4-12-longchamp-IN THE GATEReady, set…16-4-12-longchamp-AND THEYRE OFFAnd they’re off!

   To the Senate of the United States:

     I transmit herewith for Senate advice and consent to ratification the Convention Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the French Republic for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Capital, signed at Paris on August 31, 1994, together with two related exchanges of notes. Also transmitted for the information of the Senate is the report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention.

     The Convention replaces the 1967 income tax convention between the United States of America and the French Republic and the related protocols and exchanges of notes. The new Convention more accurately reflects current income tax treaty policies of the two countries.

     I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention and related exchanges of notes and give its advice and consent to ratification.

     WILLIAM J. CLINTON

(You may find the entire document by downloading the PDF at International Tax Treaty)

Then I headed to the races at the Hippodrome du Longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne for a much more enjoyable finish line.

PAN, the Paris Alumnae Network, invited their members to “Discover the excitement of thoroughbred racing in France with an insider’s tour guided by Gina Rarick, currently the only American professional racehorse trainer in France and the first American woman granted a license here.” They promised an introduction to racing in France by Gina over a “BYO” (Bring Your Own) picnic lunch, a tour of the track, the weighing room where the jockeys prepare for the races, the stabling/saddling enclosures and, if possible, a trip down to the starting gates to watch the horses jump out for a race.

It was miserably cold and windy, but not rainy, and well worth the frozen fingers and toes. It’s not difficult to get there — you can take the Métro to Porte Maillot and then either take the shuttle bus to the entrance of the Hippodrome de Longchamp or the Bus 244 and then walk. (The tricky part is finding the bus stop — just opposite the main entrance to the Palais des Congrès de Paris on the other side of the traffic lanes — follow the directions from the Métro exit to Bus 44. Or visit Hippodrome du Longchamp for more access information.)

All these years in Paris, and I’d never been to the track. Betting’s not my thing, and horses are animals for ‘other’ people, but still, it was an opportunity not to be missed. A group of about a dozen people showed up with their box lunches in hand. We were led to the owners’ stands before the races began and Gina prepped us for the day.

The Hippodrome de Longchamp (wikipedia.org) “is a 57 hectare horse-racing facility located on the Route des Tribunes in the Bois de Boulogne at Paris, France. Built on the banks of the Seine River, it is used for flat racing and is noted for its variety of interlaced tracks and a famous hill that provides a real challenge to competing thoroughbreds. It has several racetracks varying from 1,000 to 4,000 meters in length with 46 different starting posts. The course is home to more than half of the group one races held in France. The highlight of the calendar is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Held on the first weekend in October, the prestigious event attracts the best horses from around the world. The first-ever race run at Longchamp was on Sunday, April 27, 1857 in front of a massive crowd. The Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie were present, having sailed down the Seine River on their private yacht to watch the third race. Until 1930, many Parisians came to the track down the river on steamboats and various other vessels, the trip taking around an hour to the Pont de Suresnes.”

Gina was a jewel — articulate and funny and full of spirit. She clearly knows horses and racing — a vocation she took up in her early 30s changing a career as a “turf writer” for the International Herald Tribune mid-stream to devote her time to horseracing. Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, she admitted that she knows more about the sleeping habits of horses than cows. And while training horses and jockeys, she still manages to cover such races around the world, including the Dubai World Cup, Royal Ascot, the Breeders’ Cup and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Although a late-comer to racing, she rode in her first race in 2001 and won!

We watched eight races, not including a pony race with very young jockeys. A few of the group made small bets, but considering there were no happy screams, I’d have to assume there weren’t any wins. Gina showed off the tiniest of saddles (that I wouldn’t want to ride!) and demonstrated the amount of upper body strength it takes to rein in a racehorse…one reason there are so few women jockeys.

The people at the track are a special breed. There were the owners, the trainers, the spectators, the wage-makers, the deal-makers and the equestrians of all kinds. Then, there were an exorbitant number of small muscular tight-hipped men (one must assume are or have been jockeys) along with tall pretty women (who we might assume are “jockey-idolizers”).

Gina joked that jockeys are known to be great lovers (one can only imagine why!) and then today I discovered this blog that fully explains it: 1) They’re Mysterious, 2) Fierce Fashion, 3) They Ride Beautiful Animals, 4) They Model For Ralph Lauren, 5) They Jump Horses, 6) Fierce Emotions, 7) Jockeys Win Big Money and 8) Girls Love Horses. But the blog left out the most important reason: they’re good in bed (or so we were told).

The horses, of course, are stunning. If you don’t mind stepping in a bit of dung or taking in its pungent fragrance, then you would certainly enjoy a day at the races. You might even enjoy becoming an owner — you can invest in a leg or more and reap big rewards. For instance, non-participating owners receive tax-free earnings and professionals can write off their losses. More than 30 million euros are distributed each year to owners in France, an average of 22,810€ per owner (2008). Not bad!

Gina Rarick and Gallop France is looking for a new breed of owners. If you would like to race to the finish line with a winning investment idea, contact her at [email protected] or visit Gallop France for more information.

A la prochaine…

adrian 2Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Become a member. PAN is a non-profit organization that brings together university graduates for professional and social networking and hosts social, cultural and educational events such as this one. Membership with PAN is as little as 38€ a year (30€ to students). For more information, visit Paris Alumnae Network

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