Moving to france & self employed where to work?

Hi I have recently joined this forum so please be gentle with me. I have searched through many forum posts in the last few weeks but none seem to give me the answers to my questions. The time has arrived and myself and partner are in the process of buying a house in the Haut Limousin together. We will move to the house on a full time basis in about 2 years time when we have hopefully nearly completed the renovation etc. Or at least made it livable. My partner will then take early retirement from her nurses post in England. I am self employed in the UK and trade as an antique & bric a brac dealer. I do not have a shop but attend the major antique fairs. My partner will then assist me at the fairs etc. The big question is do I stay self employed in the UK and carry on paying UK tax etc or become self employed in France and enter that system. Presumably I could base my company for tax purposes in either country but we intend to make France our main place of residence, however we may keep our house in England and rent it out so technically that could be a place of residence. I assume from what i have read we will have to pay a higher percentage in tax but if that gives us the benefit of a french pension & health care cover that would I suppose be good? Any help welcome


Hi Brian late reply I realise but had a bad year!

have your friends who are retiring with the Brocante sold all their stock? we are always interested in buying if the price is right.


Tony,are you trying to get some ideas about earning some money after taking two years out, as a matter of interest what are your plans.

thanks for the information Alex

Forgot to add that you would be advised to take out complementary health care, for both you and your spouse,a and you might also want to look at incapacity insurance, as the state system coverage for independents is virtually worthless.

See here for a fairly objective overview of the system, and its various "gotchas".

Also, do not be fooled into thinking that, as an independent, you will have a good pension in France when you retire. This is simply untrue. The state pension for independents paid out via the CIPAV will by and large be insufficient to support you in your old age, despite the relatively consequential amounts that they ask of you. Coupled with that are the numerous administrative errors and demands that they send you erroneously - I've just received a demand for payment of my CIPAV (state pension fund for independent advisors) contribution for 2011, despite having paid it already !

You can buy into a private pension scheme and deduct some of that cost from your annual turnover (this is called a "loi Madelin" investment after the MP that introduced the bill), but you will still pay CSG/RDS on the monetary value of that extra investment, and it is really expensive if you want to buy a reasonable amount of pension points (in other words, as investments go, it is pretty poor value for money). If you want to operate as an AE (autoentrepreneur), I'm not even sure whether you would be able to deduct anything like that.

More details about being an antiques broker in France can be found here

thanks Mandy I will see a tax expert

Hi jane I think your friend is wrong I was over there last week and discovered some tremendous bargains....but if anyone asks I always say it's terribly expensive

unless you only leave France for a week or two every couple of years and run a business here, kids at school etc. no-one's ever going to ask you to prove anything! ;-)

sound advice ;-)

Yes, I watch the pigs by the flock... Let us all wait with crossed fingers and all else that can be crossed to see whether expenses is a rumour or not. Turnover for people like my OH and I who sometime buy expensive plane tickets, which although reimbursed then become part of turnover, are losing money hand over fist. We would rather it was sorted than we having to resort to 'alternative' measures...

I had heard that you could deduct expenses but you would have to pay cotisation foncière des entreprises (CFE). Hopefully it won't be recalculated as we had a bill (in error) for only 150€ (oops, there goes a pig flying by...)

Look out for the new AE regulations as of 2015, I believe some allowance for expenses is being factored in but I am not sure what and how much (%-age?).

No Angela, it is part of the old EEA that in all member states (EU + 3 EFTA + Switzerland) the 183 day rule applies. You cannot live in a place for a half year plus one day and claim another country as your primary residence. That people twiddle with it is another story. Going back and forth, if added up gives more than 182 days in one country is where you live. Even if you buzz around between four countries and spend 91 days in three, you will spend 92 in the other and that is where you reside. That is residence though. If your main source of income is based in another country that is where tax is paid. If you have incomes in more than two then the country you are classified as resident in is where tax should be paid. It is designed to drive the most honest to bending the rules rather than go nuts! The bureaucrat who thought it out had a calculator but not a mind ;-)

Hi Philip

The only way you are going to get the correct information you need about your tax status is to ask a tax expert who can give you advice based on your specific circumstances. Everyone on here, including me, is just speculating without the full facts. The financial penalties for getting it wrong could be enormous & catastrophic so I would suggest that you get yourself some proper advice. I hope it all works out for you.

But would it be as normal under AE where you cannot deduct business expenses like you would for UK Self-Employed.

To go to the next level (régime) means paying thousands in Cotisations even if you don't make a bean.

So as Suzanne says, accountant will be needed.

Absolutely correct, Jane, it's vital that you kept evidence of time spent in the UK/France as it is up to you to prove the time spent in each country. Unless you have this information you won't have a leg to stand on if you are investigated. I attach a link to the new rules that apply from 5 April 2013.

We have been advised to keep all our travel tickets so that we can prove that we do not transgress the time allowances for residence, either in France or UK.

We are retired and run a gite here as our only business interest.

If you intend to be moving between both countries a lot, you will need to prove to the authorities that you are fulfilling the residency requirements.

As Mandy says, residence is. Ot the same as domiciled.

That's effectively what I said just in reverse. To remain UK resident you have to spend at least 183 days in the UK. Also, you won't find the term 'ordinarily UK domiciled' in tax law. Domicile has a very specific meaning for tax purposes and is not the same as residence. Check out the meanings here.

Yes but if you live for more than half the year in France and your centre of activity is here then you're a French resident domiciled here...? see here for more info ;-)