Living in France, offered a position by UK company

Hi everyone,
Need a bit of good advice, please. I live permanently near Bordeaux, and have just been offered a position as editor-in-chief at a UK-based startup. I’ll be carrying out the work completely from home here, so I am liable for all taxes and contributions here in France, of course. The easiest way to proceed, which my (future) employer agrees with, is to work for them on a contractor basis and simply invoice them for the hours I work and figure out my own finances here. My question is therefore: how best to do that here? Is the best way to simply set up an auto-entrepreneurship and handle things that way? My salary won’t exceed the EUR70k/yr AE limit, so it would seem to be a sound option.

Hoping for a nice, clear answer, please :slightly_smiling_face: I’ve been bouncing around advisors for two days now, and I’m none the wiser. My (future) employer is being quite patient with me so far, but I don’t know how long that will last for…

Many thanks in advance,

Stu

Hi Stu and welcome to SF
I’m sure someone with experience in this area will address your questions pretty soon but in the meantime, are you able to say whether you have a CdS-WA (or applied for one) from living here prior to the dreaded 31 December Brexit 2020 deadline since that will be very significant as to what hoops you may have to jump through.

Hi Graham,
Yes, luckily I arrived last year and got the paperwork in. Plus I have the paperwork to show that I was here in 2020, so all good.

Stu

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It’s a while since I stopped being self-employed here, but as I understood it then you couldn’t operate as an auto-entrepreneur if you only had one client. That was considered as being employed by that company.

Things may have changed so please don’t bank your future on my experience, but I think that your employer needs to follow this guidance:

Edit: just had a look on an AE portal and that still seems to be the case, considered as a disguised worker

Hi Stu,

I’m a fellow Bordeaux resident (well, living in the Medoc, to be precise) who works solely for a UK-based company, so may be able to help you out.

When my employer and I looked into this, we discovered that you’re not entitled to class yourself as a contractor if you’re only working for one company. There were some other restrictions too around how much autonomy you have which I can’t remember the exact details of, but essentially if you’re working for just one company then for tax reasons it’s considered to be a “employée déguisée”.

We ended up having to register my company with URSSAF (specifically on the TFE site) as a business with no place of business in France. This enables your employer to be allocated a so-called SIRET number, but without them having to pay corporation tax, etc… Your employer then registers your role, number of hours, salary, etc… with URSSAF. They’ll then determine what income tax is due, which can be paid to them directly, and how much you’re entitled to. They’ll also create French pay slips for you.

Incidentally, the taxes your employer is liable for over here are much higher than in the UK… this caught me and my employer out, and we had to have some interesting discussions when they realised how much extra it would cost them to keep me on my UK salary. Worth having that discussion with them now, rather than when URSSAF gives them their first tax bill.

Edited to add: The people at TFE were extremely helpful when we had some issues, especially bearing in mind that I moved over here during the early stages of the pandemic and their site wasn’t working for new registrations for a while. In case you’ve not already seen it, their website is: Home - tfe.urssaf.fr

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Working as a contractor has a couple of hidden drawbacks whether considered from the UK or French perspective.

Firstly you have to consider the UK’s IR35/Hidden employment rules (there are similar considerations here in France).

Fall foul of those and you will be considered an employee of the UK company. That isn’t totally bad news but you will then need to sort out with HMRC in the UK and the Impots here in France about your tax, and possibly, social security situation.

You need a tax advisor who can provide advice on a. the domicile of the employer you are working for, b. your personal domicile (tax and more generally) and the application of the UK/France tax treaty to your particular situation.

Finding somebody who is prepared to advise on both the UK and Frech aspects of this will probably be akin to finding hen’s teeth.

In all likelihood you will have to take advice from on the UK and the French situation and make an informed decision.

Don’t forget to talk to HMRC and the Impot here in France, both organisations are obliged to provide you with the best advice based on the information you provide them.

Thank you all for your help. Much appreciated :blush::+1:

Registering with URSSAF is what our company did. You should expect a lower salary because, as Gareth said, taxes are way higher on businesses than in the UK, but personal income tax is way lower in return, so you can’t really expect a UK salary in France. System’s completely different.

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