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Piquer une tête: An insider's guide on where to swim in Marseilles

A funny IRS story from France

French mailboxes
Mailboxes in Marseilles. Today, read about a letter I received from the IRS....

Today's word: le fisc américain

  : the IRS

365 Days of French Expressions: Learn one new French Expression per Day

Example Sentence :

Depuis 2014, les Français nés aux Etats-Unis sont tenus de déclarer leurs revenus au fisc américain, voire de payer des impôts aux Etats-Unis alors qu'ils n'y ont jamais vé 

Since 2014, French people who were born in the States are required to declare their income to the IRS, and to pay taxes to the United States even if they have never lived there. 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristin Espinasse

A Hussy to the IRS

"Listen to this," I say to my husband, waving the letter I've just received from the tax authorities.

The Internal Revenue Service, or le fisc américain, has been trying to correct my name and address for some time, and this latest attempt is downright hurtful.
"Kristin Espinasse, 'Pute de Port!' That's what they've written this time--instead of 'Route de Port'!" They haven't even gotten to my house number--line three, after my route (normally line two)--before I've taken the first blow to my ego.

"Tiens. Donne-moi ça," Jean-Marc snickers. Grabbing the envelope, he's shaking his head in appreciation. But when his eyes meet with my icy regard, he's quick to wipe the grin off his face.

"You are not a slut, Darling. Look here, there's an "o": poute--not pute!"

Suddenly I'm a little disappointed because the thought of an IRS agent calling an expatriate a "Slut of the Port" is hilarious in its own way! It reminds me of the assumption some people make that an expatriate is one who is not loyal to their home country--arguably a slut of the port willing to board any old ship to escape! 

That certainly wasn't my case when I came to France. (I boarded a 747!)

French Vocabulary
le fisc américain = the IRS
tiens = here
donne-moi ça = give me that
une pute = a hooker

Kristi and Jean-Marc Espinasse

The story above was written a few years ago. This photo was taken on Wednesday, after Jean-Marc went diving for sea urchins. Those are special scissors I'm holding, for opening the carapace, or shell of the "oursin". Wishing everyone a good weekend.

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Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

The oursin scissors, I take it, represent what you'd like to do to the letter?


Such a drag, to say nothing of the expense of a US accountant, to have to pay US as well as French taxes.

Tracy H

I couldn't imagine a funny story about paying American taxes, but you just told one, Kristin! Beautiful photo of you and Jean-Marc avec les oursins!

Don Christiab

It's a miracle! You state the IRS wants all French born in the US to pay the US government taxes even though they, the French, have never lived there, in the US. Does that mean those French were born dead and resurrected once they left the US? Nevertheless I love your blog--keep it up.

elizabeth foree

dit you pay to IRS, or is this a blag?


Hi Kristin
The United States is only one of two countries that expect their citizens aboard to file tax returns. Your children will be required to do it as well,even if they have never lived in the US. This all started during the civil war when men who didn’t want to fight left the country. The government couldn’t stop them from going but decreed that they would still have to pay tax. It is unbelievable that it has never been revoked. As an American who has lived in the UK for 33 years, I have no intention of EVER filing or paying tax to a country I don’t live in. And as for my UK born children, I would sooner see them give up their US citizenship than file tax returns to the IRS.


Happy weekend to you both! May there be some lovely walks and sunny skies for you this weekend. Frances in Napa, California, USA

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Giggles and warm wishes for a fantastic weekend!


Or dear Kristi,
As always,you've added smiles and sunshine to a less then cheerful topic--taxes(you know the other half to that old parody about what awaits us--death AND taxes).
Hoping this weekend is filled with uplifting thoughts and fun(and neither of the above!)
Natalia XO


And me too, Karen. My family lives in Canada and I'm still filing US taxes all these years, and still paying a US tax accountant to do it as well as filling out one very annoying form myself to save some money. I've heard that giving up one's US citizenship is expensive and invasive.

Thanks for the information about the source of this annoying and frustration IRS requirement.

Lynne Schweitzer

Wow! Very interesting!


Good info! And a wee bit funny-if the IRS can ever be funny :) I Think this precludes me from moving to France!! But it would be ok as long as I didn’t make any money in France! I can’t believe you have to pay US and France income taxes for the work you do in France after living there almost your whole working life! Is there any offset or deduction for paying one country’s taxes from the other country? Love your photo with Jean-Marc. And those are some hefty IRS scissors!! LOL


Hi Kristi I, for some reason, am not receiving your email posts.... since a few weeks. I have for several years and all of a sudden they aren't there. Not sure why. I just tried signing up again. I am going to be in La Ciotat in a couple of weeks !! Patricia

Kristin Espinasse

Hi, Patricia,

Sometimes my listserver automatically sweeps out and removes inactive accounts or emails that have bounced. I will have a look and see if your account is active, now that you have signed on again.  

Alice Wilson

Good for you...

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