Sunday, October 19, 2008

The never ending taxes

I had never paid income tax in Malaysia. My monthly salary was less than RM2500, the minimum income to start paying tax.

In the US the income tax was automatically withdrawn from the monthly pay. I didn't see the pain, but was rather happy to get tax return every year. When I was working as graduate assistant in my University, beside getting back all the taxes they withdrew, they paid me extra as my salary for the fall and spring semester didn't meet the minimum salary requirement.

It is a different story in France. My first shock was the tax d'habitation, a tax that everyone has to pay if by the time of 1 Jan, you stay in an apartment or a house. Basically by occupying a space in the city, you need to pay a tax, even though the apartment or the house belongs to you. It sounded really ridiculous to me, but little by little I just accept it as the city has done a great job to maintain the parks, roads and provides many good services to the citadin. Just to give you an idea, we were paying around 400 euros per year, which included 116 euros for the TV tax. Last year we moved to a bigger apartment, but still, I couldn't believe we have to pay close to 1000 euros for this tax!!!! We are not living in a space twice the size as the previous one, so why is the tax increased 150%? Anyone has the answer? I can't imagine how much it could cost for a house.

Moral of the story: before investing in a property, take into account all the extra taxes you have to pay including the tax d'habitation and property tax.

Poor hubby, his dream to own a LCD TV will have to postpone to an indefinite date.


  1. Anonymous11:57 PM

    Hi Bee Ean,

    Now in Malaysia, there is no income tax unless over RM3000 per month (there is a payroll tax SOCSO that kicks in at much lower).

    Actually, in Malaysia there is a Majlis PerBandaran (e.g. DBKL) property tax. So, that is not exactly a surprise. In UK, it is called council tax. In Singapore, it is property tax.

    UK is not as bad as France (although getting worse), so, I may seriously needs to think about moving back to Asia.

  2. Are you going to check to see why it's so high? Perhaps it's a mistake. Especially if you are living in the same town, in just a bit more square footage.

    It would be nice, at the very least, to "understand" exactly why you are paying around $85 euros per month for your taxe d'habitation.

    You have my sympathies!

  3. Casper,

    Don't worry, we have to pay property tax too for our apartment. Apart from property tax we have to pay this tax d'habitation, which is much more expensive than the property tax in our case.

  4. la framéricaine,

    Actually we moved to a place that belongs to another city even though it was just a street away from our X city. We heard that this new city has lower tax d'habitation, but appearantly we are wrong!

  5. Anonymous5:28 AM

    ask them if they want your blood or not

  6. Welcome to socialist society where people believe in distribution of wealth. Why are you surprise ?

  7. Jamy,

    I'm not surprised that we have to pay this tax, but a 150% increase is just a shock.