Moving online business from UK to France, or not?

Hi all,

I would like to get some advice on what would be the best option.

After a long hiatus, I would like to re-start my online shop and sell my home decor and jewellery items from the UK as we will still be here for at least a year.

As it is online and I get paid via Paypal (linked to my UK bank account for now).

When we move to France, can I continue running this existing site or do I have to stop while getting registered in France? How does this pan out for taxes?

If anyone has some useful information in this regard, please let me know.


No problem with hijacking this post for that question Joshua, I am equally interested in your question and will certainly follow the responses you are getting :) Good luck!

Thank you for your advice Catharine, I will probably do that! As I am new on the forum I did not new if I should just continue an old topic (it's hard to catch up the discussion and the status is changing every year I've heard).

Have a good day!

The short answer is yes Joshua. I suggest you start a fresh discussion and I'm sure you will get lots of input from SFN members who are doing something similar.

Good luck!

Thank you Claire , I will take a look on your links! :)

I've already found Start Business in France but their forum is private and can't access it unless you pay.

Do these help at all Joshua?

I'm afraid I am very lost as to what you are trying to explain Norman. Yes I can understand a French Tax return if you mean a declaration des revenus. Which area are we referring to and why? Sorry for not getting it.

Hey , I've seen your post and it is interesting. I've been living in France for over a year now. I came to live with my girlfriend who has found a full-time job here. For now I only had small jobs in coffee shop or restaurant and I've heard of Auto-entrepreneur. Do you think it would work with that status if I open an online shop? I've found loads of informations but I have to admitt I am a bit lost...

When the BIL was over (does venture capital), he said any company they look at with a French division immediately gets 5% taken off the value, just due to all the bureaucracy and the labour laws here.

I was with Lloyds and they wouldn't let me do that John. They kept hassling me so I gave in, which I regret. I should have dug my heels in. Anyway this was over 10 years ago so maybe things have changed.

Hi Chris,

You can still have your bank account in the UK with your address in France, just have your address changed. That's what my wife did with her Barclays bank account (she is English) - John

Claire, I don't know how good your French is, but if you could get a look at a French Tax Return Form I think this area at least is pretty clear. I think you can see one online these days.

Also when you are only 150 days per year in France?

As I wrote, 90% + of work is done everywhere else, from China to US and elsewhere in EC, even CIS. When traveling for over 200 days a year is burden enough. I agree making contribution in the country where the actual work is being performed or/and the activity is registered. And for this in the EC the VATIN is important. The next step then is to make sure your client takes care for Reverse-Charge-Sheme which depends what your buzz is about. France is not even our second home but we pay in France HT, habitation etc... Renting is out of question.

Thank you so much for your uplifting message Wendy :)

We all speak French which should already help in getting around and we hope to give my mum some enjoyable years in a place of which she has found memories with my late dad.

I have not done anything with my jewellery for a long time (I create jewellery, beads and home decor items from polymer clay) as I currently run a community project providing high speed broadband to rural areas where BT or other commercial providers have no interest in offering the service. It all started with me having brain surgery and not being able to work/drive for nearly 2 years turning me from an independent woman into one that required care.

Anyway...I am not one to sit in the corner and sulk, so I looked for a solution which would allow me to teach my craft from home via Skype. Had a bad internet so needed to resolve that first. We are now 2 years further, have 200 customers connected and as many to go and instead of using this high speed connection to teach.. I am now running the project :)

It would be incredible to keep working for it from France (looking into that as well as I only require a computer and a good internet connection to do my job)... or even set something similar up in France.

Do you know by any chance if there are not for profit organisations who get their funding from the government? We are set up as a community interest company and have obtained all of our funding for the initial set up from various companies and organisations. Not sure if a similar thing is available in France.

Again, thank you for your message and wishing you a lovely week.

Thanks Doreen, very useful to know we might be able to keep our bank account from a French address. Will check with the bank.

As for not returning, we are not originally from the UK Doreen, so in a worst case scenario would probably end up in a different country on the mainland instead. We have happily lived in Scotland for the past 15 years but looking towards retiring in the future, we would like to be on the mainland to be closer to our friends and have easier access to the European countries we would like to visit in our older years. Hence the move.

Wishing you and your husband all the best on returning to the UK.

We were in that situation exactly Helen and ended up in court over it.

By the time we got to court we had registered in France as a 2nd house of the Uk business and there was no case to answer we were found technically guilty however. Which is why I know that much.

Hi Chris

There is no reason to change your website when you move to France. I sell jewellery online and my website is still a site that I created before we moved here.

There are logistical hurdles like postage to think about. When we first arrived, my husband was going to continue his online book sales but soon realised it was a no-hoper as the cost of posting books from France to the UK is prohibitive.

If you feel your market will continue to be in the UK (my silver jewellery has little appeal to the French but still sells to a UK audience) then I would recommend keeping your virtual presence there.

Once you live in France, you need to register your activity either as an AutoEntrepreneur or one of the other statutes (and that's a whole other conversation!) so that you are what is known as fiscally resident in France - ie paying your taxe and cotisations here and not in the UK.

With regards to the UK bank account, I too would recommend keeping it. You just need to let them know your change of address. They don't seem to have a problem with existing account holders moving abroad.The difficulty arises when you live abroad and wish to open a new account in the UK. A lot of people have found this to be impossible.

Hope this helps and best of luck! For what its worth, it is well worth making the move to live in France. We love it!

complete rubbish as a sole tradzer if you are physically in France you register in France end of - I don't have the details to hand but there was a case of a UK couple doing exactly as suggested ie running their UK business from a France and they were taking to court.

I have many virtual PA friends here in France, their clients are in the UK, they are paid stirling BUT they are obliged to be registered in France as they are physically doing the work in France

Claire, I never write any invoice in France and have not a single French costumer and one of the reasons is that I would have to pay tax twice. Moreover 90% of the actual work is not even done in France.

Claire I forgot. As with a website where your cients are is unimportant, it is WHERE the revenue from any sales appears that matters. If money appears in your French account (personal or business) it will need to be stated and declared with any proof of tax paid anywhere else. If the latter is not supplied the revenue will be seen as generated and received in France and therefore taxable.