Sole trader in France

My AE status was taken away when I exceeded the turnover limit in my first year (I didn't realise it was calculated pro-rata). I am now micro-entreprise but it has the same limit (32900 euros) so I am now turning away business until the end of this year so as not to exceed it again which is very frustrating.

I already spend a lot of time in the UK, and my main client is a UK company, so if I were to increase my stay to over 91 days a year is there anything to stop me registering as a sole trader in the UK instead where the limit before having to charge VAT to clients is much higher? I realise that if I were to pay my social charges and tax in the UK I would lose my RSI cover here, but given that I would be spending so much time over there anyway I think I'd prefer to be back in the UK system.

I am paid by the hour and since there are limited hours in the week I will never 'expand' much beyond the threshold anyway. I spoke to 2 different accountants here and they've advised that while I still have to be a micro for the work done in France, I can pay my tax and social contributions for the work done in the UK as a sole trader in the UK instead which gets round my problem. So I am now self-employed and contributing in both countries :)

When in France and all that. No point in being an AE or Micro, far better to be fully registered for TVA and so on and expand and trade just as you would in the UK. We no longer live in France but we had two businesses there for 12 yrs, My husband bred horses on our stud farm so came under the wonderful MSA and I was an immobilier so we both had to be TVA compliant. We found it not a problem and in fact quite advantageous. Hubby dealt with many different countries in and outside the EU block so not entirely in France. I would not even think of trying to work in the two countries and pay my dues in the UK, the French admin will soon cop on and the penalties are quite severe.

Hi Jemima, well done on doing so well, I too have changed up from AE due to exceeding the limits. I knew this was going to happen so made lots of enquiries including visiting the man in charge of the Service des Impots des Societies who was exceedingly helpful. You do not have to charge TVA the year you go over the threshold, you also do not have to register the following year either. He explained that many companies do well one year then drop a little the next so you are only obliged to register when you exceed the limit two consecutive years.

I went ahead with my enquiries and everyone kept telling me that I would have to register, so went back to Mr Helpful and asked him to clarify as everyone else kept telling me I had misunderstood. No, he said, it's very simple, you may choose to register at any time but only obliged to when you exceed the limit two years.

I'm explaining all that because if you live in France and your work is carried out in France, France is considered your main home regardless of how many days you spend here. I believe you also have children registered in school here so therefore you are definitely considered to have your main residence here and as a sole trader must register your company here.

What Claire explains is still correct and it is not pleasant to be hauled through the judicial system by the fiscal authorities. I know someone it happened to recently even though the person spent a great deal of time in the UK where they had a limited company with international clients (no French at all) the fact was the court decided they lived here and must register and pay here.

I advise you check very carefully both sides of the channel. We began our business in the Uk and still have a Uk business which covers our Uk clients but were obliged to start a second house of the same business here as Micro in 1998 as the authorities would not accept us trading here ie working , selling etc here on a Uk business . We are artisans and sell here and Uk both to the trade and on markets. I was told by the gendarmes when they stopped me on a market with Uk papers that while Europe may be all one, not in the Gers Madame. We were taken to a tribunal for trading without papers but by the time we got to the tribunal we had done our homework and inscribed as a second house so could produce the inscription. Found technically guilty but no consequences as we had already corrected "OUR" oversight!!! Check carefully with your chambre des metiers or commerce and with the Uk . It might be better now and my info could be sadly out of date but I only know what I know.