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doodab
28th April 2012, 07:59
Just saw this article on the front page.

It seems the social security section applies only to employees. This is exactly the sort of area where contractors and consultants need some actual specialist guidance. I mean, if I turn up for 2 weeks in Marseilles what do I need to do? Get an E101 for my UK ltd? How long does that apply for? What about tax efficiency? What if I don't have a UK ltd? Do I need to start a French company or is there something like a sole trader / freiberufler construct I should use?

Ignis Fatuus
28th April 2012, 11:59
Just saw this article on the front page.

It seems the social security section applies only to employees. This is exactly the sort of area where contractors and consultants need some actual specialist guidance. I mean, if I turn up for 2 weeks in Marseilles what do I need to do? Get an E101 for my UK ltd? How long does that apply for? What about tax efficiency? What if I don't have a UK ltd? Do I need to start a French company or is there something like a sole trader / freiberufler construct I should use?If you are working for a UK company (e.g. your own Ltd Co) then you should apply to HMRC for a certificate to the effect that you are continuing to pay UK NICs. This is usually referred to as "getting an E101" but the actual certificate depends on your circumstances. See the HMRC web site for details.

BTW you should also have an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) in order to get medical treatment abroad. This is what an E101 was originally for; it was a different form for the different purpose of proving that you were paying UK social contributions and were therefore not liable to pay them in the other country.

You can work as an independent in France, the status is called "Profession Libérale". This is a self-employed knowledge worker selling his or her knowledge rather than physical objects. It is simple to register if you live in France, visit your local Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (look under URSSAF which is the contribution-collecting agency) and fill in one form, and they tell everybody else who needs to know.

OTOH I wouldn't like to try it without having all the documents to prove residence in France - after all, you will be paying the "Professional Tax" to your local authority, among other things. And it will take you years to get out of the French tax net.

If your immediate client won't accept UK Sole Trader status and if you are not intending to live in France long-term, I'd go for UK Ltd Co + E101 from HMRC. Note that you have to give HMRC the name of your French client and the address in France where the work is to be performed, and the end date of the work (which can not be > 1 year in the future). The E101 is then valid only within those parameters.

Old Hack
3rd May 2012, 08:31
Just reading through this. I have a friend who works out of Pau, but through her English company who have 'seconded' her through the english company. Effectively, this allows her to pay UK NIC's, but French taxes, which is possibly the best combination. I believe shes allowed to do this for up to 5 years.

Please don't flame me, but thats my understanding of her situation from talking to her.

I looked at starting a business in france similar to ltd status and its a nightmare. Most businesses in france dont last longer than 3 years as it becomes too expensive to run the business in the 3rd year.