AE, paid by UK company - possible?

I'm about to start carrying out some part-time freelance work for a UK company and would like to do this through the AE scheme.

I'm hoping this will be quite straightforward, can I just get set up online as a 'consultant' or something, then invoice the UK company each month and declare it?

I plan to do some other hourly paid work for a client in France, to ensure I don't just have the 1 client.

Also, do I need to have registered as a French resident before becoming an AE and how would I go about that? Will I automatically be able to register for a Carte Vitale as an AE?

Thanks in advance for any advice! It's a minefield when you start Googling!

I'd be interested in the answer too as I want to add admin/secretarial to my AE options. Though as I'm already registered as a 'commercant' maybe it could be covered under that.

Hi Claire... when I launched as an AE I thought doing it on-line was a good wasn't! An APE code is generated (Activite Principal Exercee) for you, and in typical French style every conceivable human activity has a code. Not a problem of itself, BUT there may be insurance ramifications (and doubtless tax too) if you get lumped with an inappropriate code. As a surveyor, the work I do seems to have completely foxed the system and the nice people at INSEE who try to sort it out are equally perplexed!

In general the AE system is good as it allows you to defer tax payments and only pay on actual earnings. The downside is there are no allowances for costs / expenses / travelling etc - a straight %ge deduction gross -to- net is less good a vehicle if you have significant overheads / stock etc. Good luck.

just about to sign up online but under admin/secretarial work, it puts you as an artisan, are there any negatives to this? Is it quite straightforward at the Chambre de Metiers?


Just beware though, when you say "I'm about to start carrying out some part-time freelance work for a UK company" that under the AE scheme you cannot have just one client. If you only have one client, the French authorities may well consider that you should therefore be an employee of this company and that both yourself and your "employer" would be liable for French social charges. Of course you would also have the rights that come with the status of employee.

A lot of companies are "playing the AE system", avoiding paying the high social charges by asking the people who work for them to set up as Auto-entrepreneurs.

Of course it's easy to say that when you start out you may only have one client, but I don't think you could get away with it in the long term - if the French authorities decide to carry out a contrôle.

If you intend to have more than one client, then disregard all of the above.

Jemima. Bear I'm mind I'm talking from a retired old farts perspective who doesn't work either here or anywhere. I think the same rules apply to workers here but worth checking. We had an epic battle over the social charge element of this with our local Tax Dragon but in true St George tradition slew the beast :-)


It can work well as rental income on English property is taxable in England but also subject to normal personal allowances so little or no tax is often payable. In France it is declared but not taxed nor is it subject to social charge. It does however count towards Tax d'Habitation. Somewhere here I have given all the tax references required to perform this "slight of hand"

Jemima - I'm not an accountant, but I think that it's correct to declare your UK property income in both countries. However, I don't think that you should be paying much or any tax on it in France, as Article 6 of the UK-France double taxation treaty seems to provide for income from property in the UK to be primarily taxable in the UK (& vice-versa):


1. Income derived from immovable property (including income from
agriculture or forestry) situated in a Contracting State may be taxed in that

It's the use of the term may that makes this less than clear. In the French version, there is no such condition. It merely states that such income is taxable in the country where the property is situated. (1. Les revenus provenant de biens immobiliers (y compris les revenus des exploitations agricoles ou forestières) situés dans un Etat contractant sont imposables dans cet Etat.)

Even if the French can legally charge you tax on it, they should give you a credit up to the amount of tax you actually pay in the UK. That should mean that you pay little or nothing on that income to the fisc. You or your accountant would probably have to specifically claim this relief and prove the amount of tax paid in the UK.

Your French accountant should be able to advise you about this.

Yup, the French do not have a 183 day rule - they consider you to be resident where your main centre of interests is!

Quand est-on considéré comme ayant son domicile fiscal en France ?

Mise à jour le 11.04.2014 - Direction de l'information légale et administrative (Premier ministre)

Que vous soyez français ou étranger, vous êtes considéré comme ayant votre domicile fiscal en France si vous remplissez l'un des critères suivants :

  • avoir son foyer (ou le lieu du séjour principal) en France : il s'agit du lieu de la résidence habituelle ayant un caractère permanent ;

  • exercer une activité professionnelle en France : si vous exercez plusieurs activités, c'est l'activité principale qui est prise en compte. Une activité exercée à titre accessoire n'est pas concernée. L'activité principale est celle à laquelle vous consacrez le plus de temps effectif ou celle qui vous procure l'essentiel de vos revenus ;

  • posséder en France le centre de vos intérêts économiques : il s'agit du lieu où vous avez effectué vos principaux investissements, où vous possédez le siège de vos affaires d'où vous administrez vos biens.

Additionally, there is still lots of hoo-hah going on abut prof lib AE's depending on where you live. Believe it or not it was easier back in 2009!

I'm an AE and most of my clients are in the UK but I declare in France. However, I still have income from property in the UK which I've been declaring on my UK self-assessment but that my accountant has also been putting on my French annual tax return as income earned abroad (nothing to do with AE). Now I'm worried this isn't right?..

Hi Emily,

Is there an accepted rate to quote in euros i.e should you use the bank of france rate, or a particular UK bank?

I too invoice UK companies.



Unfortunately, it's a lot less straightforward than simply the 183 day rule when the UK is involved. In some circumstances, you can be also UK tax-resident if you spend more than 10 nights there! This is at the extreme end of the spectrum, but the more normal position is that spending more than 90 nights per annum in the UK makes you tax-resident in the UK regardless of your position in another country. Being tax-resident in both countries puts you in the position where you (or your accountant-s) have to be up to speed with the double-taxation treaties between the UK & France.

Since last year's Finance Act became law a year ago, there is a very specific formula for determining how many nights can be spent in the UK before you will be treated as UK tax-resident. Working it out isn't for the faint-hearted, but the details can be found on the HMRC website.

Yes everybody. The 183 day rule applies. Whichever country you live in for more than six months by that one day or more is the country where you are fiscally obliged to pay taxes and all other charges. That is the country you are considered fiscally resident in, which supersedes the old rule about actually living at address on and so for six months. So, to all intents and purposes, if you are mostly here Claire you count as living here.

Hi Claire,

You ask if you have to be "registered as a French resident"? There is no formal registration process these day (ie no 'carte de sejour' as in the past). How long have you lived here? Do you declare taxes in France (even if your income is too low to pay any)? If yes, then you are resident!

Yes, once you are registered as an AE you are entitled to a CV through the RSI.

What work do you do?

Bonne chance.

That's fine. All of our respective normal work here is international, paid from outside of France and so on. No problem. It would work doing as you are planning to. We are research consultants, that comes under liberal professions as AEs. You need to keep all paperwork and statements in case you are asked to show them but invoicing the UK, being paid then declaring it is all they need. As long as you are a resident and paying your quarterly social contributions you are entitled to the carte vitale. We got ours quickly and easily, some people appear to wait ages, so just get in touch with URSSAF as soon as you start and get the ball rolling.