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Works of art exempt from tax?

July 4, 2013

Did I mention that I unwittingly contributed to a French gendarme revenue collection scam on the drive down to France? The local police, that is to say in the Dept 06 which runs from St Tropez to Nice, have arbitrarily decided to reduce the national motorway speed limit from 130km to 110km in their area. They have made no attempt to alter the speed limit signs and it is just a cynical piece of police theft. I thought they were here to protect innocent citizens not fleece them?

As many will know, speeding in France on an English licence does not gain you any points on your licence. All they want is 90 euros in cash and you can be on your way. They will even escort you to a cash machine if you don’t have enough of the folding stuff about your person. I was all for taking them to a higher court, refusing to pay such a clearly unfair levy, but even when they suggested in such circumstances that non payment involved visiting a police cell for a period of time and the impounding of the vehicle, I was unbowed and still standing on a point of principle. However, one look at that Nice Lady Decorator, who gave me the distinct impression that she would not be visiting me in prison, was enough to have me reaching meekly for my wallet. She pointed out that I had in fact been driving at a speed above the national limit, so on this occasion attempted martyrdom was swapped for paying the ginger git of a gendarme, who was clearly enjoying his work, judging from the big smile that crossed his contorted features when another poor victim joined the ever increasing queue of drivers similarly deceived.

Another splendid walk yesterday morning, this time up behind another of my favourite restaurants, l’Auberge de la Source, near Sophia Antipolois, I was sent into the garden to, well, do some gardening. Then after filling up several wheelie bins with garden detritus at the municipal garbage deposit point, I was in need of a siesta before venturing out into Valbonne.

waterfall in south of France

Waterfall on Le Brueget

An invitation from the Master Mariner Mundane, coupled with the Sprogs decision to go camping, meant that we had an opportunity to leave the house and have half a chance of something being left to eat and drink upon our return.

Over a glass of wine or two, maybe more, at Cafe Des Arcades and then at the newly refurbished and very nice La Kavanou wine bar in the back streets of Valbonne, we were discussing matters of great importance such as today’s Currencies Direct exchange rates, when I learned something else of great relevance to a writer. It seems that works of art are exempt from tax. Who decides what constitutes a work of art? Perhaps it is a matter of opinion? Some of my regular readers will guess where this is heading. This means, surely, that my book, The Valbonne Monologues, which in my mind is clearly a work of art, should be exempt from tax. That was the basis of an argument which was overheard by a couple of The Masters friends who wanted to know about this learned tome. In a flash I produced some copies which I just happened to have about my person and two more sales were made, bringing the total now to 109, just one more sale away from break even. It is just a matter of time before I shall become a doubly successful author (after my first book “Summer in the Cote d’Azur” sold a massive 232 copies and made a profit) all tax free.

Chris France

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