Tax Advice

Hi Everyone,

So, we’re ready to take the plunge and move lock, stock and barrel to France. But, I’ll still be earning my income from the UK (I co-own a small limited company) so really need to understand what the implications of that are for tax etc.

How do I go about finding a really good tax adviser. I’ve no desire to not do things properly - I want to find someone who’ll be able to explain exactly how the tax will work, what extra I’ll pay in France and just give me some general advice on a number of scenarios.

Thanks everyone.

To be honest I would recommend you speak to a couple of the big players, you’ll find them if you google. Blevin Franks springs to mind. Any good international tax advisor will be pricey since it’s such specialised work, but getting bad advice is a lot worse than money down the drain. Most French tax advisors only understand how it works this side of the Channel and vice versa. The important thing is to ensure that you’re meeting your obligations both sides, and from what you read, a lot of people get themselves into a mess because the advice they’ve been given was based on one set of tax laws (usually the UK because Brits tend to trust UK advisors) but ignored the other set, then a few years down the line they discover they’ve been failing to meet their obligations to France.

Alternatively, the DIY approach is to take a deep breath, talk to the French tax office which is easy, talk to HMRC which is not easy, and slowly try to put the jigsaw together for yourself.

I once spoke to a reputable firm of tax consultants, I won’t say which one, and the fee they quoted was just over half my annual income at the time. Then I spoke to a small outfit in the north of France, thinking they might be more affordable, and in the first email they sent me they mentioned a “route” that directly contradicted my own experience (specifically they said that my specific activity was difficult becaue it wouldn’t be accepted for an auto entrepreneur registration, however they could guide me round the problem - but in fact my activity had been accepted and I was already registered). In the end I decided it was easier just to shift my entire business to France to keep things simple and have done with it.

Anna, that’s so spooky. I’ve just sent Blevin Franks an email after finding them on Google! It’s a minefield. :slight_smile:

1 Like

We must be psychically linked :fearful:

Must be. :star_struck:

Hi - I work for a UK social media company get my salary paid into my UK bank but pay my tax in France. I just got all the forms from my local tax office. I declare my tax once a year and pay the required amount in 3 payments - I think its Sept/Feb and May. Tax office was helpful and have never had an accountant or a problem.
If your income is going to be huge then you may need an accountant but they are expensive and not always that good. My daughter and son-in-law run a business here and have had 3 different local firms and are forever chasing them for information and accounts.
If you can do it yourself it will be so much better.
The English free papers here will have ads for French English speaking accountants who will know both systems.

Could I ask how your healthcare coverage works in those circumstances, Margaret?

I just pay the normal assurance we have AXA for everything and they have been great. I am past retirement age so dont pay anything to my company - they pay but I dont. I would still get health care in the UK if I went back or was taken ill on a visit.
I have been here 15 years now - paid paye in UK when I first came then realised French tax was more beneficial to me so changed about 13 years ago

You make it sound as though you had the choice of where you paid your tax.

No comment :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I did have a choice - why wouldn`t I?

Well, I suppose because most people do what the UK-France tax treaty says they have to do.
Then again, most people also follow URSSAF’s rules when it says that all employees who live and work in France must be registered and paying social security contributions, regardless of where the employer is based. (Should add: except in specific circumstances when they hold an A1 portable health document issued by another EU state.)

But hey, if you can make up your own rules to suit yourself and get away with it, then why not!


I did not make up my own rules. You don`t know me, my background the advice I took - nothing.
You experience is different - do you work for a UK company and live here? Are you over retirement age and still working?
The OP asked for any tax advice and I gave him mine - nothing to do wiwth health etc.

so I know you never used an accountant. It’s true I don’t know the extent to which you discussed the situation with the French tax office but I do know they are generally helpful in that if anyone asks for a French tax form, they’ll ask if you live permanently in France and if you say you do, they’ll give you the forms. It’s not their job to quizz everyone on their affairs, they usually answer the questions they’re asked and nothing more, and the people at the counter generally aren’t trained in international tax.

When I first moved here I did work for a UK company (my own, but the rules are essentially the same), and I applied for and was issued with a portable health document because I was told that was the correct thing to do.

That’s true and I accept there there are exceptional circumstances that I don’t know, which obviously you don’t have to disclose on a public forum. But if that’s the case I certainly think you should have added a caveat to flag up that your situation is unusual and the route you followed would not be acceptable in normal cases. I’m afraid I have a bit of a thing about misleading advice on forums, it’s dangerous because people are liable to believe what they read on these forums, especially if it’s what they want to hear. If you re-read your post you’ll probably see how it can give the impression that there are no rules as such, everyone can pick and choose where they pay their taxes and which social security system, if any, they contribute to, and international tax is as easy as falling off a log with no pitfalls for the unwary. That’s not the case, there are rules for each set of circumstances and basically everybody has to find out exactly which rules apply to them. Failing to comply with national tax laws, international tax treaties, EU social security conventions and national social security legislation, can have very serious consequences. Having found out the rules, some people will be very careful to keep them and some people will decide to break them and take their chances, that’s their choice, but the important thing is that they know the rules in the first place and take calculated risks rather than go breaking all the rules out of blissful ignorance, like lambs to the slaughter because the taxman won’t see ignorance as an excuse.
So I apologise if I offended, and apologies for ranting on, but I hope you can see the problem.


It’s not a rant, Anna, the position needs to be clarified for others seeking advice in the future.


Hi Rod
When I first moved to France just over 15 years ago I found Valerie Aston’s blog really helpful Although it’s called Start a business in France it covers so much more and she’s happy to answer individual queries. The service was free back then, as she too was just starting out and now I think it’s a membership fee to join but his lady really knows her stuff and may be able to give you some help and point you in the right direction.
I work for an English company in full time employment but I am a French resident and therefore pay my taxes and cotisation charges in France (bums on seats) and I am for all purposes self employed here as my UK company doesn’t have a French office whilst retaining my employment “status”. I’ve been down the road of expensive accountants and found my local tax office to be much more helpful.
I hope this helps you and gives you a good place to start without initially paying out for expensive advice.

Just to add for the forum moderators - I’ve been a member of this forum for a number of years and very rarely post for this reason

When someone else like Maggie offers their view or opinion it’s as valid as anyone else - there are other much nicer ways to reply if you don’t agree!

1 Like

All opinions are valid.
Facts on the other hand are usually right or wrong, and advice that goes against the facts and suggests you can chop and change tax regimes even though your circumstances haven’t changed at all but simply according to which is most beneficial to you, is misleading, would you not agree? I already apologised to Maggie for being sharp, and explained why I have a bit of a “thing” about misinformation on forums…

I think it’s time for me to butt out for a while. Arrivederci all.

Valid? Is giving dangerous false information ever valid? Posters must be allowed to post their beliefs and understanding of the system but when that advice could lead to heavy fines and worse. They have to be told so others seeking help are not tempted by options like being able to choose which country you will pay your taxes to or ways that you can drive UK registered vehicles quite legally in a France. These myths need to be removed from th3 system.

Who has done this @aquitaine ?

It’s a general comment about posters who give incorrect information about tax returns and registering vehicles. If someone moves to France and decides to play the system and not complete a French tax return or to drive around in their U.K. reg car for years that’s fine, they’re adults but they have to face the consequences of that decision. Telling others that it’s legal to follow their example is something else.

1 Like