Need a little advice

Hi guys after some advice, I live in France with our young son and already have a Titre De Séjour. We still have a house in the uk and my wife still works in the uk and stays there when working. Aside from being stuck in the UK for a couple of months during the last lockdown, she normally commutes on a Thursday night and returns on Monday morning and spends her annual leave in France. With the way France calculate time in France (any time of the day spent in France is counted as a day) this would normally equate to 6+ months and with her working and having a residence in the UK she would also remain classed as a resident in the UK. She received an S1 at the end of last year but we are still undecided whether she should apply for her Titre De Séjour as she literally sits on the fence when it comes to residency in both countries. If she doesn’t then she will need to make sure she doesn’t do more than 90 days in 180, if she does she would need to register her car her here, even though she’ll be in the UK 4 days a week. Any view on which way we should go?

Bearing in mind that your wife spends more than 6 months in France, I believe that she has two options:
(a) become resident in France, or
(b) apply for a long-term visa.

Bearing in mind that French income tax & associated social charges are higher than the UK AND the issue of any potential capital gains tax on the UK house if you dispose of that in the future, I would be inclined to go for the long-term visa option.

However, as always, best to take professional advice.

For me, the crucial considerations would not be practicalities such as car registration and tax, but where her heart is, and where she ultimately wants to live. Are you, as a family, undertaking the long, probably multi-generational transition from English to French? Are you ‘ex-pats’, or ‘immigrants’?

Your son is likely to be important in the answer to this question. We moved to France with 3 children - inevitably, I guess, they have grown up (the youngest is now 17) more French than English - their friends are here, they will probably live their lives, have children of their own, etc, in France. One (now 20) has already applied for French citizenship.

As Nigel advises, do get advice on the practicalities such as tax - you might find, as we did, that although you pay slightly more in France you will be net better off, because along with higher tax comes much better state support - our family allowance here, for example, was more than 3 times higher than in the UK - but I wouldn’t let such practicalities sway you unduly.

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I’m not understanding the S1? If your wife has the UK as her competent state for healthcare then doesn’t that mean that the UK has accepted that she is a cross-border worker and formally resident in France. Presumably she has her carte vitale and so on? So she is resident here, and should apply for a WARP… and as a French resident should change her car registration and (:scream::scream::scream:) her driving licence.

She pays tax/NI on employment income in UK, and presumably you do a joint tax return here? As I learnt when I stayed in UK after OH moved here it is hard to get French tax authorities to understand this position.

Have you discussed this with HMRC and the local tax office here?


Hi Matthew

i believe that Jane is correct.
Part of the S1 application is to state your working arrangements, and on that basis they issue one to you. so they have presumably deemed your wife as a cross border worker.
we are in a similar position ourselves, without the issue of children as ours are all grown up - apparently :sweat_smile:

for fiscal reasons you would have had to state your country of residence when an application for an S1 started. for us its france, but we work in the uk, pay tax in the uk etc.
i would certainly take some professional advice on your questions, and then maybe that will help you decide both the legalities of either option for you.

please let us know how you get on.
best of luck

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I believe you can be resident in both. There was a recent court case in France where a Belgian couple were found to be resident in France for tax due to property and number of days spent in France so fully taxable in France. No way would Belgium have not kept taxing them as well.

As a rule of thumb it seems 90 days in any tax year (currently IIRC full days but it can change) in UK makes you liable for UK tax on income. But it’s only 30 days if they’re days worked in the UK IIRC I read recently.

It looks like your wife needs to spend more than 90 days in France for even part-days, which count, in each rolling 180. Would she rather do this on far, far more favourable lasting terms of the WA, or on third country much more difficult terms. It sounds like she’s going to be eligible to pay pretty much the same tax to France, in any case.

Stamp duty is currently free up to quite a high amount in the UK on house sales for a limited period that has recently been extended. Take professional advice on any concessions for main residence tax on house sale if your main residence could be deemed to be F not UK. If you sell in UK you can’t still be living in it as main residence but if you wanted to keep your options open then gifting it to a trust or transferring to an owning co. might be something to complete quickly while no stamp duty. Then ideally rent it out but not still live in it yourself (as that tends to still count as beneficial ownership)but take advice.

PS Let us know what you decide! this is a really interesting one.

There is a detailed statutory resident test for the UK which sets out all the (many) factors. And also depends on number of ties you have to the country, previous years tax residency and your citizenship. Not straightforward as UK and France rules on this are not compatible. And you can be dual tax resident, but only one country can be your competent state as regards health/social security.

However, as Robert has said if the Uk has given her an S1 then that seems to assume the decision is made!

Thanks guys, yes looked at the residence test for UK and France and she qualifies for both.
No plans to sell the uk house as this is where she stays during the week and where we stay as a family when we pop to the uk.
She applied for French residency today and we are just filling in the 2020 tax forms , the dual tax treaty means she will still get tax in the uk. Last year we filled out the tax form for me only and stated she was a UK resident at the time. The French tax office told me I was also a UK tax resident but they have recently said they are reviewing this again after we questioned their inaccurate reasons


Good decision as she is safe guarding all the citizens rights under the WA, more a future issue with pensions and S1 (retired) but well worth having.

In our experience the French approach is built around communal marriage and a single foyer fiscale. Not UK marriage which has marriage without automatic communal property and individual tax returns.

So when we lived in different countries the French tax people kept wanting us to be in one place…

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I’m new here so uncertain of how this works.
I’m in need if help please.
Retired in 2009, had a place in France for 20 years, living between France and Uk since retirement. Applying for residency so asked for S1. I was asked questions I did not know how to answer. Can anyone help me please?
Question: When did you move to France exact date ??
". Did you receive your pension before or after moving??
Well I haven’t moved exactly as that’s what I’m trying to do.
What difference does it make if I received my Pensions before or after moving ??
I’m running out if time and don’t know what to do. The person at DWP was downright rude to me so scared me stiff!
Thanks if you can help ( new person).

Oh dear…you are in a grey area here.

Have you actually been a permanent resident for a while (ie doing tax returns here, told HMRC you are no longer in UK, house registered as primary residence, car re-registered etc etc)? If not, when did you start taking the steps to become a permanent resident? As that should be the date you give to the DWP and anyone else.

And then if you got your pension before that date you say so. I imagine they just want to know in order to considered whether your S1 needs to be backdated (if this is even possible, not sure).

And are you actually physically here now? And were here before 31/12/2020?

In theory you should have had your health-cover sorted before then, but many préfectures are being quite relaxed about it as long as you have it at the time of your application for a resident’s card. If they are not and you don’t have private health insurance either you could be in difficulty.

Your best chance is also to make sure everything else is water-tight in order to be able to prove you were living here (not just visiting) before Christmas.

The bad news Jean, as far as I can see is that you need a lot of good advice, the good news is you can find it here :slightly_smiling_face:

Problem is Jean that you need to be ‘resident’ in one or the other for fiscal reasons.You can’t be half resident in both. Are you permanently in the UK with France as a holiday home or vice versa ?

I agree with Peter - if you have applied for residency the authorities here will assume you have moved here, so the questions about the date you moved are straightforward from their point of view.

I wonder if the DWP person that was rude was maybe a bit frustrated because you were asking them about residency in France - which they probably know little about?

If you don’t have the necessary proof of residence in France in 2020 (utility bill, tax notice, etc sent to your address in France, proof of financial resources and health insurance) I assume you will have to apply through the different post-brexit procedure - ie. be treated as any immigrant to France would be (not sure what this procedure is, but I guess it will be more difficult than the special online procedure for Brits settled here before the end of 2020).

The alternative that Geoff mentions is to get a long stay visa, which you have to apply for in the UK. And then take out proper health insurance when you visit.

So it is a more expensive option, but equally it doesn’t’ require you to alter your life. No changing your tax regime, getting into french health system, changing driving licence (:joy::face_with_hand_over_mouth:), car registration, declaring things like ISAs here, being subject to French inheritance rules and inheritance tax etc etc.

You can get a long term visa, it’s €99 and it’s lasts a year. You can renew it every year at a Prefectue( not sure if this is the correct spelling)
It’s what we are thinking of doing as we are having our U.K. house renovated and are going to move into our French house see for about 8 months. I contacted the French Embassy and they advised me of this. Although they did say that if you renew your visa year after year, it could mean that they take it that you live in France.

I hope this helps?

There are different types of visas. One is for long stay visitors and one has the option then to seek to become a full French resident and change the visa for a proper carte de résident.

Once you have been here for over 183 days in a year you (according to French tax laws) are resident so are obliged to do a tax return.

If you have been holiday homing here and have made the decision that you want to be resident and you have not been ‘legally’ resident up to now then the best thing is to put the date you arrived in 2020. This way you are not claiming to have lived here for many years when you have not really which would be making a false claim. So for example if you arrived here in June of 2020 then you can use that as your date of arrival as a resident. This way you have a date to give for the S1, a date to give to start doing a tax return here etc. many long term 1/2, 1/2 people are going this route. This won’t work if you weren’t here in 2020 with the intention of becoming resident as that is the big MUST and non-negotiable.