US Self-Employment Tax and Social Security in France

Hello everyone,

I hope someone can assist me with something.

We have self-employment income here in France and are currently looking into filing our US tax return. As the US and France have an agreement to avoid double taxation (Totalization Agreement) we do not have to pay Social Security and Medicare in the US, however - and it's a big however - we need to provide a 'Certificate of Coverage' from our French Social Security caisse (URSAAF, RSI, RAM) with our tax return. We pay Cotisations regularly and always file French taxes.

We've been told by IRS to ask for form SE 404, the Dual Language Totalization Certificate of Coverage, but our local URSAAF does not seem to be 100% familiar with it. They have heard of it but don't thoroughly understand, yet - we're working on it - that we are expatriated and do not have a domicile in the US.

Has anyone here had to request a form SE-404, and if so, can you tell me what it is like? Is it a formatted form to fill in? Or do you just request an attestation from your French caisse that you are paying in and have it translated?

Any information would be very welcome!!

Thanks in advance, Robin

Robin see this from US Social Security site.


Certificates For Self-Employed People

If you are self-employed and would normally have to pay social security taxes to both the U.S. and French systems, you can establish your exemption from one of the taxes by writing to:

  • If you will be covered by the United States (see table above), the U.S. Social Security Administration at the address in "Certificates For Employees" section; or
  • If France will cover your work (see table above), the local French agency that collects your French Social Security taxes.

Be sure to provide the following information in your letter:

  • Full name (including maiden name);
  • Date and place of birth;
  • Citizenship;
  • Country of permanent residence;
  • U.S. and/or French social security number;
  • Nature of self-employment activity;
  • Nates the activity was or will be performed;
  • Name and address of your trade or business in both countries; and
  • If you are requesting a certificate from the United States, a statement certifying that you, and any family members who live with you in France, are covered by a private health insurance plan while in France (see NOTE above).

Yes, I've had a look at their website...just hope that my local caisse can wade through all the stuff on there to get to the needed form. Tried sending an email to IRS Paris asking for any specifics I might be able to give my local URSAAF office to expedite the process and received a typically sarcastic, US government office, bureaucratic response. Extremely helpful.

I've just responded to the original URSAAF email which made it seem that they did not understand that we were expats (they requested our address in the US). I have sent them loads of detail and mentioned the Totalization Agreement and Attestation d'Affiliation. Hopefully all the detail provided will help.

I was just hoping someone on the forum would have one that they had obtained for their tax returns and would be able to give me the specific name of the form, or scan the top of the form for me, so that I would be able to take it in to URSAAF... Wishful thinking, I guess, but worth a try!

Robin, please Google The CLEISS and you will have the English info on what the CLEISS does and the fact that they will translate if needed.



Thanks, Marie. Unfortunately, the very nice lady at URSAAF who helped us found the SE 404-2, which appeared to be relating to self-employed folks like my husband from what we could all see on the website...but her colleague who knew a bit more about the form and was going to send it to us emailed afterwards asking for our address in the US. They also said that the form related to someone in the US and that hubby was registered in France as Travailleur Indépendante. I guess maybe the forms we saw were for a French person going to the US? I don't know, but need to get it sorted, and I know how particular the US government can be...

Robin, here is what I found it is part of the CLEISS Perhaps if you mention that to the URSAAF they may be able to come up with it

SE 404-01
Attestation d’assujettissement à la législation française

SE 404-02
Attestation concernant la législation applicable (maintien d’affiliation)
SE 404-03
Formulaire de liaison

SE 404-03a
Annexe au formulaire SE 404-3 relative à la demande de pension d’invalidité
SE 404-04
Rapport médical