'How are you surviving today?' Your phrase that comes up on
opening is brilliant. We often read the
comments even if we don't contribute. We
thought we were coping well even with the authorities and red tape. But maybe
not after today and wander if any of your readers can help?

We need someone who is conversant with - very conversant
with the RSI. Our accountant gave up
over a minimal sum earlier this year saying they are a law unto
themselves. Today however we received a
bill for over £6000 based back since 2008 when we opened. And I know what you are all thinking we
should have paid - we have been.

The Story: We opened
our BnB in summer of 2008 half way through the season and being in an out of
the way place didn't make an awful lot, we are talking 100's not 1000's. The RSI wanted 1,500 for the 2008 more than
we had made and so Of course in January 2009 when autoentrepreneur came out we
opted for that and have paid accordingly ever since. Although they have kept chasing for more for 2008!!!
That was were the accountant gave in.

Now when we / I registered I had assumed that the BnB
belonged to both of us since the house belongs to both of us. I have always had a carte vitale as I had
worked previously in France but hubby had not and of course we wanted to make
sure we were above board with everything.
It seems that the BnB did not belong to my husband. At one stage the
bank manager said he must be registered in order to receive his carte vitale -
which he still hasn't by the way - whilst others previously had told us that he
could bat off my carte vitale. So we
registered him with chambre of commerce - they said he was a conjoint
collaborateur!!! The accountant
explained that he would have to pay a nominal amount - percentage of what I had paid.

So now with a bill of £6000 over our heads for a small, very
small BnB of two rooms we are faced with closure unless they back down.

As I say, is anyone conversant with the RSI and situations
like this - we would appreciate your help.

Hi Tracy thanks for your reply. The BnB was registered in my name only initially - although we assumed as in the uk that since the house is owned by both of us, therefore the BnB belonged to hubby too. I registered in July 2008 before the AE option was available and I believe that would have been the micro bic for small business. When the AE option became available in January 2009 I applied straight away. So in essence it would appear hubby was not listed at all and only became registered this year because, as I said, the bank manager insisted we were wrong - we believed since she was french, bi-lingual and in the finance field she would know the ins and outs.

The accountant does not cost us a lot - I generally do all the accounts and we just use him for filling in the french legal jargon - my french is conversation but not fluent and therefore most definitely not technical. I think the first year the accountant cost us around 25€ and this year around 75€ but also takes other small income into account (I do a little writing freelance) on the format. He is usually very helpful and bilingual and used by many of the English Expats here.

Will get the files out and take a look but still think their 1/3 estiamte is way above what I have paid in the 2/3 span. Presumably it should be just that 1/3 of what I pay?

I will take a look at the website you suggest - but I really thought I had taken EVERYTHING in capitals on board - we are the sort that stayed within the law because we know we would be the ones to be caught out. I had been studying all of the rules regulations, peoples complaints and problems etc before we came over permanently - we have had a house in France since 1992 and never had any problems. We had planned everything to the letter unfortunately goal posts have moved - small bnbs like ours would have been pocket money to the farmers wife and not registered - many still aren't - sods law the year we opened they changed the rules.

Many thanks for your input.

No, the one third is over and above what you pay. It seems like your accountant is not really au fait with the AE system at all. Have you had a look at I think Valerie may well be your best contact to get you out of this mess.

I think the problem lies with what you registered as initially? What was it? To be honest, if your business is so small why do you need an accountant, s/he must be costing you a fortune and french accountants do not do the same job as UK accountants.

Contact me directly if you want and I'll see if I can set you off in the right direction, although to be honest my main experience is that I have had lots of contact with the RSI for various reasons and I hate people to have to go through all the stress we have had.

Hi Tracy many thanks for your reply. Yes we had gone along fine from 2008 to early this year thinking my husband would be fine on my card as other people had said - the bank manageress really insisted that my card did not take care of my husband and so we looked into changing and getting him listed and a card - a thing which has not materialised, he still does not have a card!

I remember when we saw the accountant he went through that legal jargon of 1/3 etc and told us which was the better for us to go with and explained that it meant that whilst I paid 2/3 my husband would pay 1/3. However the amount the RSI have suggested - because we are a small concern not in a tourist area and don't take an awful lot - is far above what I have paid originally. And that being the case that I should only have paid 2/3, surely they are obliged to give 1/3 back to me.

Will approach accountant pronto. Many thanks

This seems to be one of the errors - do not listen to the bank manager just because she is bilingual. You would be amazed how little French nationals know about their own system, my colleague at work regularly asks me for info about the CAF, RSI etc. As it is the only system they have ever known they have no idea how it works - it just does as far as they are concerned.

Just a thought, is your husband still registered as CC because even under the AE system this generates enormous charges.

  • J'ai un conjoint. S'il participe à l'activité de l'entreprise, doit-il cotiser ?
    Oui. Ses cotisations dépendront du régime qu'il choisira (salarié ou conjoint collaborateur).
    Le conjoint collaborateur a le choix entre trois bases de calcul pour le paiement de ses cotisations sociales :
    - 1/3 du plafond de la Sécurité sociale
    - 1/3 des revenus du chef d'entreprise sans partage
    - 1/2 des revenus du chef d'entreprise sans partage.

    Quelle que soit l'option retenue par le conjoint collaborateur, le chef d'entreprise doit cotiser sur l'intégralité de son chiffre d'affaires ou de ses recettes.

This was taken from the offical Autoentrepreneurs site.

Many people have had difficulties with the RSI, from not totally understanding the system and relying on heresay. Take it up with your accountant, find out exactly what these charges to relate to and then maybe someone who has been in the exact same situation, may be able to advise which direction to take.

The most important is to ask for a finance plan, show willing and then it can start to be sorted out. The RSI will not help you if you simply refuse to pay. Ask for the payment plan and the details at the same time, then we can try and help some more.

I'm sorry to hear you have other difficulties, hope they can be resolved - it so always happens like this. It never rains but it pours - all the best, there's many us us know how you feel.

Just thinking maybe we were Bicrobic not microentreprise.

thanks Christine for your comments. We were micorentriprise in 2008 because that is what existed - Jan 2009 the AE started and we were allowed to transfer. We registered in July 2008 - so may be that was the differnece.

WE have been misinformed from some - some suggested that my husband could bat off my carte vitale and that was what we were doing. I had had mine from workingin France a few years ago and transferred it down here. But our Bank manageress who is bilingual said we could not both use the same carte vitale - we needed our own - and hence we registered my husband as whatever the chambre de commerce thouoght fit.

To be quite honest I am totally annoyed because we have worked within the regulations at all times as far as we were made aware. And I have done consideerable research. It seems to me that they change the system to suit themsleves.

I take it you were not a microenterprise when you started in 2008 as they will not let you go from a ME to an AE in the same business without a 12 month gap between. Which system were you on until 2009? Either way, I think you may be stuck with the 2008 fee but you should be able to ask to pay it in increments. As for the other problem, it is so difficult to get good, accurate advice on running a business as an AE, especially from the URSSAF! It sounds like you were misinformed, and maybe, if too much time hasn't passed, you can try to undo the registration of your husband as cojoint collaborateur, then make him your dependant instead. Good luck, I really hope everything works out.

I'm an AE too and the RSI started demanding all sorts of payments from me - simply phoned them and went through the situation with them and they, after some time and a lot of explaining about the AE system which had just come in and which they didn't really understand, agreed and I didn't have to pay. the same thing happened the second year and I went through the same phone calls and once again they agreed and I didn't pay. Find out exactly where you stand and then be very pushy and sure of your self (obviously helps speaking fluent French).

As for the standard system - yes it costs a fortune even if you don't have any turnover. I thought about going self employed several times but each time I did the figures it put me off until the AE scheme came along. Did you cancel/close the existing microentreprise/entreprise, i.e. your B+B before going AE? If you didn't/haven't you may end up being asked for contributions as an AE and for the existing B+B business. I haven't got an accountant as I do it all myself but you have so he should be able to clarify the situation AND resolve it for you - that's what you pay them for isn't it?

It seems that the advice you've had hasn't been thorough enough from the start, I really do feel for you both and hope you can sort things out and stay!

Bonne chance

Thanks for your reply John.. yes I think it will be accountant, RSI and chambre de commerce meetings for the next couple of weeks. Sods law I have problems back in UK too and have to be back there 1st week November. Well c'est la vie as they say.... will let everyone know what happens...

I got a significantly large bill (thousands) the other day and 2 weeks to pay it in, from the RSI and was going to post the results, this has reminded me.

It was for underpayment of 2010 cotisations, all paid every 3 months as normal. Emailed copies of the letters to the accountant and she has responded thus, --You do not owe the RSI anything and are still in credit, investigations show that you have 3 registrations one for an auto-entrepreneur and two as a micro enterprise so yes you have paid and they have credited the money to an enterprise that doesn't exist. I hasten to add that I registered as an auto-entreperner and nothing else. Its the RSI knickers in a twist so the accountant says.

Hopefully yours is something similar ask the accountant to dig a little deeper. I think with out the accountant I would have cursed and paid

Hi thanks for your prompt reply. I have been paying as AE since Jan 2009 when it started so paying a percentage on our turnover which is small. We opened in July 2008 so half way through the season and our turnover was less than 1000 - but the RSI still charged me 1500 for 2008 which I paid. We were originally told my husband could bat off my card and were happy with that until the bilingual bank manager insisted we were wrong. Our accountant looked mortified when we told him just this year Jan 2011 that we registered my husband as CC - but did his best to sort things and explained that whilst I would pay 2/3 of cotisations on turnover hubby would paid 1/3 on turnover. Therefore one would assume they owe me some from the past since I paid the full amount - but however what they are charging is way over our turnover as we are only a small 2 beds BnB - what would have been pocket money to a farmer in the past.

If they insist that we pay we will have to close down straightaway and return to UK or anywhere that I can find work, as what they are demanding is the remainder of our savings which would just have kept us going throught this winter until the new season. Being into our fourth summer our business is only just taking off. I was already looking for work over the quiet season because the income from the BnB is not substantial. Not sure where we go from here - 1000 euros for foncieres, nearly 8000 for RSI when I take my share into account as well. I know people say you should plan for the future RSI / tax scenario but we thought we had it all covered especially with AE where you pay on what you earn - this obviously is not the case.

Very complicated especially with out knowing all the details.

I'm not conversant with B & B statutes but from the basics you have given, it would seem that you have to pay the bill from 2008. Much depends on what you registered as but generally in your first year of business you will always have social charges to pay of around 3000€, regardless of how much money you make. Having a conjoint collaborateur will increase these charges. Hubby only has to be cc if he is involved in the business, if he has no activity whatsoever, he can use your CV as a 'ayant droit'. Word of warning - it is very hard to convince the authorities that your husband is dependant on you.

You need to visit the RSI with a fluent french speaker to make any progress at all. It is practically impossible to get the amount written of. You will need to make arrangements to pay in installments then start working on why they should reimburse you.

It is irrelevant that you have been paying as AE since then, they will insist on having the payment due from 2008. It seems that you were not fully informed when you first set up but you need the specialist info from other people who have b&bs. Try the 'Lay My Hat forum' they seem very helpful and they have a section devoted to France.

Good luck. I have dealt with the RSI quite extensively and it is not easy, especially as a foreigner.