Cross border working


I know that, although recently moved to France, as all our work is carried out in England, we should be paying NI and tax in UK, and giving details on French tax return. I would like to speak to someone in hmrc about this, as I have several questions to ask but cannot find a phone number to dial from abroad. Does anyone know of phone number for UK cross border workers to call?

Thanks Briony

Try +44 191 203 7010 but good luck with that, usually the helpline people can’t help with anything foreign, they say you need to speak to a “technician”, and when you ask to be put through they say the lines are busy, you need to make an appointment for a call back and the next available slot is in around 3 months! Or that was my experience a number of years back, maybe they’ve improved.

But my initial reaction is, if you are working in the UK and living abroad then the first step should be to complete this form
HMRC will then know the situation and hopefully the right wheels will be set in motion.

They are pretty good at getting a technical advisor to call you back, you might even get through if you call at 8am UK time. Experience last month of tech call back has been approx 3 days, they do call outside of the time slot though so be prepared to wait in all day!

Thanks both for your help. Inwill try the number Monday and meanwhile look at the link.

Hi Anna,

I have taken a look at the link, which Inhave found before, but as someone who is self employed,it doesn’t cover my circumstances. I thought I would set up as ME here but of course as work is in England this isn’t the right thing to do.

Will let you know how Inget on with he number.

If you actually do all your work in the UK, are you sure you would be classed by either country as resident in France? If you work anywhere near full time then presumably you both spend at least half the time in the UK, so according to UK residence criteria you would still be classed as UK resident, you wouldn’t be classed as “leavers”. Under French criteria, well France isn’t the centre of your economic activity, arguably it is your “foyer” but even then, if you’re here fewer than 182 days or whatever it is, that might be a grey area - you presumably also have a “foyer” in the UK where you live when you’re over there?
Do you have kids at school here, for instance?

Hi Anna,

Sorry only just found your reply.

We only work part time as maths education consultants and so currently plan to return to uk for a week at a time, around eight times a year. We no longer have any base in uk, but as our work is nationwide we have always had to use bands for it, even when we lived there and spent holidays here. So yes I am certain we are in France for majority of time and also under property rules.

I have spoken with a technician, who seemed to look at the same documents as I have been looking at previously, i.e. documents on residency rules. She had to keep looking at them to know the rules, didn’t seem that knowledgeable to me. I explained we were definitely resident in France but were working in the UK so cross border workers. She just kept going through the residency rules and said we were due to pay tax in France under the residency rules. I know this and explained that I did, BUT our work is in UK and so I thought legally we were supposed to pay tax and NI in UK get form S1 for health cover and then declare English income and tax on French return. Unfortunately she could not help me on this just kept repeating that as French residents we were liable to pay tax in France. So much for help from a technician. Does anyone, by an chance, have a number for the NI helpline from abroad for a form S1 and then I can see if I get any further with them.

Alternatively I may just declare as a Micro entrepreneur here.
Thanks for your help and patience.


As I understand it as a French resident who does self employed work in the U.K. you would not be eligible for an S1. Surely it would be more straightforward to set up your business in France and to pay your income tax and social charges here even though the physical work is carried out abroad. If you were an employee while working in the UK things might be different.

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The problem as I see it is that when you are self employed, the business and the person are one entity. Which means that if you are domiciled in France it’s not possible for your business to be domiciled in the UK. If it was a ltd co or if you worked for a UK based employer it would be different, the business would be domiciled in one country and you would be domiciled in another therefore you would be a cross border worker. But you live abroad, therefore you are not entitled to NHS cover.
I think that in these circumstances, setting up as a micro entreprise would be the correct thing to do, even though you then go to the UK to do the work. You would pay cotisations on your earnings in France and thus be affiliated to the French social security, which again seems correct since you live in France. Tax would need discussing with the fisc and HMRC to check what they want you to do but I would have thought that technically you should declare your earnings to HMRC as a non resident, then declare it as foreign earnings already taxed in France - so you wouldn’t opt for the flat rate tax option as a micro, otherwise you would pay tax twice. It sounds a bit odd but I don’t see how else it can work, unless they tell you to declare it and pay tax in France since that’s where you are registered.

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Hi Anna,

Thank you so much for taking the time to help me on this. I have come to the same conclusion as you, especially after speaking with an hmrc technician, who was no help at all.

I am now setting about the ME registration forms as a professional liberal as I really want to get this sorted.


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This may not be an issue but bear in mind that you can’t offset actual expenses as a micro. The regime has a built in allowance that for professions libérales assumes expenses of 34% of turnover. If for instance you had to pay for accommodation in London on top of your travel and your expenses came to more than 34% of the amount you invoice for, then micro might not be the best option. If that were to be the case you could look into portage salariale though that is quite expensive.

Hi David,

That is exactly what I intended to do and have decided to carry on doing. I just wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing, as a cross border worker.