Being employed by a foreign company

I'm about to go for an interview with an Irish company who wants a home-based project manager in the UK or Ireland. I was wondering how easy it would be to persuade them to employ me in France instead. Obviously they could pay me in euros, and I presume they would just need to make contributions to URSSAF. Does anyone know what's involved and what other issues need to be considered?

What a shame Sarah.

They've withdrawn the job offer. They say they only pay tax and social contributions in the country of residence and they won't consider a contractor at this time :(

Why not look at the treaty? Tax social security are different treaties. For example Australia has tax treaty with France but not social security. But it has one with Switzerland.

I know the treaty means you can't be taxed twice, but I don't think that means you can choose where to pay social contributions. In any case their HR dept has said they will only pay in the country of residence and since they are not incorporated in France they can't issue a French contract so that won't work.

Why do you think you can't accept the job? It doesn't matter where you pay NI, as long as that country has a reciprocal agreement with France.

If you are not a member, might be worth posting the question in the Ladies in Business in France on Facebook - there may be some there who have gone through the same issues as you. I recently joined to get advise about setting up a consultancy advising UK charities.

Hi Sarah

If the company think they can do it and you have not alerted the French authorities to the plan then it is still possible - see how far you get with it, if they think it can work, then why not try. I know of someone who is salaried with a UK company and pays social charges and income tax in the UK but is permanently resident in France. It is a risk but if the French authorities don't know you are sitting in France doing the work, as long as you are paying your taxes legally somewhere. If the French applied a residency test then they would almost certainly want you to be paying your social contributions and tax in France. Personally I continued to pay all my taxes in the UK 2 years after I had moved from UK until my employer sorted out a French contract. HMRC was more than happy to take my earnings even though they knew I was living in France. The only issue might be if you need healthcare in France, how would that work? There is always a way around an issue and if you have a family address in the UK then it makes it even more likely to work. Don't give up! Hopefully someone can recommend a consultant to advise you on a professional level. Let me know how you get on. Mary

Am gutted. They say the contract would be a UK contract so I don't think I can legally accept the job. Does anyone know a professional consultant in uk and French employment law who could confirm?

When my organisation registered themselves as an Organisation with No Place of Business in France and hired a payroll company to manage my salary and take the necessary contributions, the payroll company specifically asked to see my French contract and would not proceed without it.

Congratulations! My understanding is contracts aren't required under French law but it would be beneficial for you to have one for your own security. You need to know if you will be CDI or CDD, for example (fixed or temporary). The social contributions will have to be paid to France if you are resident here and they will need to register with the relevant French tax agencies to do that.

Great news Sarah. Couple of questions that comes to mind is into what regime/country will the social contributions be paid, i.e. where are they treating you as being employed- in France or Ireland? If they are treating you as a French employee then the contributions would be paid into the French system and you would need a French contract of employment. Or do French laws allow them to employ you as an Irish employee, even though you are overseas and resident in another country? My understanding is that the French would have claim to your income as you are sitting in France earning it.

OK, so I've been offered the job!!! They say they will take the appropriate social contributions out of my salary before paying me each month. As long as they do this is it ok that I don't have a French contract?

Thanks - I've added you as a friend

Hi Sarah,

I'm employed by a far eastern company to do their marketing in the uk. I was basically given a salary and it was my choice how i handled my tax. I decided that i wanted to be employed so contacted a local accountant who set it all up for me. I pay URSSAF and an retraite quarterly in arrears. They opened up a local branch of the company for employment purposes only. I make my declarations and have to pay a couple of hundred euros a year to something for the company. But nothing else. The accountant does my payslips and it's been running smoothly since 2012 since I started. I can give you more details of what, but I tend to hand over things to the professionals but it was all very straightforward and continues to be an not expensive. Not saying this is the best route financially just what i wanted. i have a cdi which seemed to make life easier when i was renting an apartment for my daughter for uni … good luck …

You can't escape them entirely but can avoid paying more than necessary. I'll send you some contact info offline, if you like.

I agree with you there. I would much rather not pay cotisations at all and take out private healthcare cover but I'm guessing this isn't an option.

Steve, I looked into that too. It's an umbrella company where you effectively pay employer as well as employee cotisations and take a percentage of the total revenue. My current Swiss arrangement follows this principle but the French contributions are much higher than the Swiss ones. Incidentally, despite the "charges" being so high in France, what you get back doesn't reflect the high level, which you pay.

I contacted HMRC on behalf of a friend a few months back and was told that non-residents could make a UK tax return for (consultancy in this case )income earned solely in the UK. Sorry if this doesn't help with Ireland!

I was wondering whether the "portage salariale" system (ie working through an agency ) might be a solution for you ? They would look after the SS admin/costs in return for a %.