Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Tax evasion

By the end of 2006 we received a letter about tourist tax (taxe de séjour). As of 2007 we had to pay tourist tax, and we were supplied with ample examples of how the tax form worked, how to fill it in, and how we should calculate the tariffs.
It looked more complicated than it was. Campsite are normally rated with stars, and gîtes with ears of corn. The more stars or ears, the higher the tariff. since we are not registered with any organisation, we had no stars and no ears, and hence we should have to pay the lowest tariff, i.e. € 0.20 per person per night. children under 18 went free, and when the price per person per night was less than € 5.00, they did not have to pay tax either. It was obvious that, no mater what, we had to pay tax for the gîte guests. But the campsite was something different. At the time our tariff was € 5.00 per tent per night and an additional € 2.50 per person per night. Most campers were couples with one tent, and hence they spent exactly € 5.00 per person per night.
This should wake up the creative bookkeeper within every Dutch person.
Asking € 4.99 per tent and € 2.50 per person would result in € 4.995 per person per night; rounded off we got the dreaded figure of € 5.00 back again.
Before the tax was brought into effect, we had “lowered” our price for a tent to € 4.98 per tent per night. This brought our price per person per night (for 2 people in one tent) to € 4.99 per person per night. Doing this, we only had to pay for the lone traveller (€ 4.98 + € 2.50 = € 7.48 per person per night).
The first year, 2007, we paid exactly € 0.20 tourist tax (for 1 lonely camper), as opposed to € 61.60 for the gîte guests.
The second year we paid € 1.40 for the campers and € 71.20 for the gîtes.
However, knowing now that the tourist tax is actually used to boost tourism, e.g. by setting out walking trails with direction signs (Balades Vertes) evading tax this way looks a bit childish. This insight, combined with comments from a number of campers that we were actually too cheap (although hardly anyone decided to pay more voluntarily), made us change our policy radically and increased our prices on the campsite.
If we would have to pay tourist tax at this very moment, we should pay € 62.00, and the high season has not even started!
We sincerely hope to pay the tax man, with a smile on our faces, at least double this amount; thanks entirely to our campers!
The website of La Tuilerie de Chazelle

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