France gives les citoyens the right to cock up official paperwork
Forgot your tax return, mon ami? Pas de problem!
France has reportedly passed a law to allow hapless citizens the right to make admin screwups in their dealings with the state – and not have those mistakes held against them.
The new law, part of French president Emmanuel Macron’s manifesto, will allow Frenchmen and women to make mistakes when dealing with the authorities. It will now be up to the authorities to prove that faulty paperwork was submitted in “bad faith”.
“"It is a revolution in the relations between the administration and the administered,” enthused the “minister of public action”, Gerald Darmanin, according to French newswire Agence-France Press (AFP).
The forgiveness of France will be limited only to the first detected mistake, however.
“At the opening of debate, the minister said the government had listened to "the French who like their public services but not their administration", citing a letter of grievances sent him by one ‘Alexandre’,” reported the newswire.
The new law will, we are told, cover everything from the "procedures for obtaining a permit for the installation of wind farms at sea" to online tax declarations to, of all things, making church donations via SMS text message.
Expat news website The Local's French tentacle wrote more extensively about the "droit a l'erreur" in November last year, informing us that it is seen by its proponents as "an attempt to reconcile the French public with the much-hated administration".
One example given by The Local of how the change will benefit forgetful folk is tax returns. If you submit your tax return late, you pay a 2.4 per cent fine. Under the new law, if you submit it late, that gets halved. Very generous, n’est-ce pas? ®