Micro enterprise for English pensioners


I wonder if anyone can help me. I am a pensioner and want to earn some money buy selling vintage goods online.
I have been told about this micro enterprise but I can’t make out anything about the cotisations every month if you are already retired. I know you have to pay a percentage of your earnings every month but as this is for pensions as well as health do I have to pay all of it. Also at the year end I would have to declare my earnings to the tax people - will my English pension be included in the amount of tax. I pay.
I wonder if anyone else who is in this position could help me. I really would appreciate it.
Many thanks


You need to look into it carefully but it sometimes turns out not to be worth doing.
The rules are the same for every micro entrepreneur. Cotisations are at a fixed flat rate with no exceptions, so if you’re pensioner who currently has your healthcare covered via an S1 from the UK at no cost to yourself (I assume that’s your situation?) it would mean that you start paying yourself for something that the UK is currently paying for you. I’m sure the NHS will appreciate the gesture, but are you sure you want to do this?
Re tax, yes you declare all your worldwide income in France if France is where you live, and everything that’s taxable in France - which will include your UK state pension and your micro entreprise income - will be totalled up for the income tax calculation. So potentially a higher tax bracket and less abattements on house tax etc.
Also, when you no longer get your healthcare via an S1, you may be liable for CSG on certain types of UK income, not sure whether this would be payable on a state pension or not?
You will also have a business tax called CFE to pay annually starting in your second calendar year of business.
So it very much depends on your personal circumstances - what income you have now / how much you expect to earn from this venture / any other benefits or allowances you may have / etc. It could work out that you wouldn’t be any better off at all.

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Thanks Anna

We have

Sorry for the above.

Thank you so much for explaining. We don’t get any health benefits from the U.K. as we have been here for quite a while and have to pay euros per month for a mutuelle.

Someone told me My pension would not be taken into account but they are not professional people.

Could you help me further and explain CFE is exactly and will it be a large amount.

Again thank you so much.


That was meant to say 90 euros per month

A mutuelle is your top up insurance, that reimburses part or all of what the French national health service does not reimburse but how are you affiliated to the French national health service itself? Do you pay an annual cotisation to URSSAF?
The rest of the equation very much depends on the answer to that.

No we don’t pay anything now. My husband worked for a little while before we retired and we got into the health system that way.

I am sorry Anna I am getting mixed up it was that long ago when we sent in our
S1 I had forgotten.

Oh right, you had me confused then - everyone has to get their healthcare via one route or another, and whichever route it is then someone has to either pay or you have to qualify for an exemption.
So if you are currently on an S1, what you have to look at is the various benefits that you get from your S1 (healthcare funded by the UK so no cotisations for you to pay, exemption from CSG liability). If you start a micro entreprise, that will invalidate your S1 and you’ll lose those benefits.

I presume your pension is currently taxable in France and you declare it on your tax form each year even though maybe you don’t actually pay tax if you’re below the threshold. It will remain taxable in France, you’ll continue declaring it, and you’ll also declare income from your micro entreprise. So this may push your total household income above the tax threshold. But you need to look at the figures and work it out.

CFE is a business tax, it varies from commune to commune but it’s usually somewhere between 200 to 300€ a year, so no not a large amount.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you Anna. It is not worth paying a higher tax bill plus losing my S1 benefits so I will just have to tighten my belt.

Thank you so much - without your help I might have taken other people’s advice and lost a fortune.

You have been very kind

Best regards



Well - have you done the sums? If you work out the “tipping point” it could be that by sticking rigidly to your target earnings, you would be better off. I wasn’t intending to put you off the whole idea, just to point out that it is possible to work and get no additional benefit for yourself out of it.
(Or … don’t declare it; but of course you can’t say that out loud…)

Thanks again Anna your help is very much appreciated



I would just like to say how much we appreciate your sensible and factual replies Anna. You’ve become a very valuable part of Survive France - so thank you!
Catharine and James x

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I’ve run into this same issue. I am insured through my retired husband’s S1. I am a qualified English teacher but if I start a micro enterprise ( formerly autoentrepreneur) I’ll be taken off of the S1 and I have not been able to find out if I could get back onto it if my business failed or I retired. Frustrating business, for those of us whoi want to work!

If, after working and paying in, you close your business, then normally your existing healthcare via RSI continues automatically for 12 months with no further cotisations payable, and at the end of the 12 months it ends and you have to take a different route to healthcare. As you would again be your OH’s dependent I guess you could be put back onto his S1 but that’s for the UK to decide, France can’t make that decision. But if you didn’t get an S1 you could still join PUMA.
When you retire and start collecting your pension, then strictly speaking if you live in France, and France was the last country where you worked, and you have any French pension to collect, then you are France’s responsibility not the UK’s so you are not entitled to an S1 from the UK (if entitled you would get your own, not go back on OH’s). Saying that, some people in that situation still seem to manage to get one.
I guess it depends what your priorities are…
And of course, post Brexit the UK may no longer be issuing S1s in any case.


So, anyone entitled to a French pension is entitled to French Health benefits, even if also entitled to UK pension? Whose responsibility you are depends on where you live. Is that the situation?

Interesting one this…

I accompanied an English couple…to the CPAM offices to see about a Carte Vitale…(already thinking they might well need to get an S1 or whatever equivalent.)

However, amongst the multitude of questions asked, was the very important one: Do they have any French income/ French pension?? The lady was quite clear about this…any French income ???

I asked her what was the difference in outcome…

If the answer was NO… then the couple must chase the UK for more info…S1 etc

If the answer was YES…then they would be dealt with within the French sytem…(whatever that might entail) and a whole different set of forms would be used… to decide where they stood.

Hope this helps…

Not exactly. Under EU rules, it’s the most recent state in which you lived and worked, that is responsible for your healthcare after retirement. So you would need to (a) have a French pension and (b) not have lived and worked in any other EU state since France, before retiring.
Of course it’s not always as simple as it sounds. Eg people don’t always work in the same state where they “live”, so if you “lived” in France but worked in the UK right up to retiring, and therefore covered by the NHS, it would be the UK who remains responsible ie the state you worked rather than the state you lived.
But that is the basic principle.

Thanks for confirming this rule. My situation is a bit complicated, since I have contributed to the UK and French systems but the last contribution country was Switzerland, although I did not live there at the time but my employer was Swiss. Because I was outside Switzerland, I wasn’t entitled to many benefits, available to locals eg sickness benefits. Health insurance in Switzerland is compulsory but private and only applies to residents to my knowledge. Do you have any idea, what will happen about Health insurance in my case? I am about to send my pension application to Switzerland.

No, sorry Howard, I have no idea what the procedure for healthcare retirement is with Switzerland. They tends to have their own one-off arrangements with EU member states that sometimes mirror EU rules and sometimes don’t. I imagine your caisse in France should be able to tell you what the arrangements with Switzerland are if you ask. But if Switzerland didn’t provide you with health cover while you were working there, it would be rather surprising if it will now that you’re no longer working there. But since you currently (I presume?) live in France, and have cotis’ed to France in the past, I suspect you will be France’s responsibility in retirement.