Warning please.

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Warning please.

by martinearnaud » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:00 pm

I am a little uncertain where to put this post. And I apologise if it is in the wrong place.

My English is not very good, but I try to make it clear.
We have become quite worried about how things are going lately.
We have noted in the last 6 months specially that there is a focus on ex-pats living in the South of France.
Several of our friends here in the Ariege have been put under a check by the tax. And have been in so much trouble and they are checking everything from siret, insurances and licenses. And they look back for years of arrival.
Two of our good friends from Great Britain have been checked and given fines for not having the correct siret and insurances. They lost a lot because of it. And one family has to leave France now. Many other people seem to be checked now.

Please make sure you have the right siret and all your paperwork is correct. I can not stress enough that in France there is much bureaucracy, and if it is not right, they will fine you badly.

I do not want to worry you, but there is a lot more and more talk that they are looking into ex pats from Great Britain specially, and there is an treaty agreement between the two governments in connection with tax matters.

Please be careful with yourselfs.
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Re: Warning please.

by Cathy » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:57 pm

thank you for your post and its important advice. and please don't apologise for your (very good) English, I'm sure there are quite a few Brits around here who would be quite pleased to write French as well as that!

I am sure we have all met people who are working/ running a business "informally" and it does seem to make sense to a lot of people when the alternative seems so difficult and bureaucratic, made 10 times harder by the language barrier. and the niggling feeling that some bureaucrats resent your presence here and do their best to make things even harder!

but I agree it is so much better to do things right from the start, however hard it might seem. and the plus side is that although you will be paying tax and grappling with all the paperwork that entails, you will get any benefits that the French social/tax system may bring (tax credits, child benefit, access to health system, unemployment benefit etc).

all help and advice on the subject that people can share on this forum will no doubt be appreciated by many!
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Re: Warning please.

by Margaret » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:25 pm

Yes, thanks for that. We don't have business here, so our needs are different from those of people who do, or who are employed here. However, provided you take your paperwork with you, and any relevant info., we have never found the tax officials in both Foix and Pamiers to be anything other than wonderfully helpful.

They tell us that rules are changing (I quote) 'almost daily', and they therefore struggle to keep up themselves. We have been given contradictory information in the past, but once the problem is pointed out, officials seeem to make sure that someone takes responsibility for sorting it out. The last person we saw over dual taxation in France/England told us she was keen to solve our question, as she knew that we wouldn't be the only ones with similar circumstances. So.... if in doubt.... ask.
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Re: Warning please.

by arthur45 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:01 pm

I do indeed second the advice that it is better to do everything "by the book" and therefore be confident that you have nothing to fear from any inspection.

I would also say that if you do follow this route, Margaret is right that the vast majority of officials at all levels genuinely try to be helpful. In 20 years in France I can only think of one or two isolated cases when someone was being obstructive or perverse (sometimes sloooow in processing paperwork, perhaps, but that is in their culture.)

In addition, at the small-scale end there are ways to conform completely to the legislation without too much expense or complexity. In the main part of my working life I set up three different companies - although small family businesses in terms of turnover they were proper grown-up SARLs, and yes this is pretty complex in terms of the time spent on conforming, the cost of legal and accounting help etc. However, do bear in mind that a lot of the really severe expenditure only kicks in once you have employees - a lone operator or a couple would have a somewhat easier time. Also business, accounting and payroll software has improved beyond all recognition in the last 30 years, and makes it possible to save a lot of professional fees by doing the maximum yourself. Remember that in most small businesses, especially if they are in any sense seasonal, time (to do accounts etc) is not your problem.

For those to whom it applies, in terms of activity and turnover, I would thoroughly recommend the Auto-Entreprise system. Very very simple to set up, little paperwork afterwards. It is the route I have used for post-retirement activity, and it is particularly adapted to a number of very small activities, for which it would be really silly to set up different structures. I set up and got the Siret etc for one principal activity then declare anything else as a subsidiary activity (as long as it is the same type of activity, e.g. selling, or personal services).

So yes I have to hand over 18.3% of anything I receive in social security contributions, but I sleep the sleep of the just. And if it's a bad period, and this is important, I pay 18.3% of zero …. this is a big difference from the grown-up formulae. These are just the cotisations - whether there would be a subsequent tax liability depends on total earnings.

One important point if you want to learn more about the auto-entreprise system, be sure to go to the official site http://www.lautoentrepreneur.fr - there are many others purporting to help you, but they are not official.

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Re: Warning please.

by kalba » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:50 pm

I echo all that. St Girons tax office, ours, might not be the sharpest pencil in the box but hey! they communicate, and they do what they need to do to find out the answer! They even (are you sitting down?) respond to emails.

I got flack for being a 'by-the-book' business owner in the UK, and I've had it here too. Tant pis. Like Arthur, I prefer to sleep the sleep of the just.

BTW, hello Arthur ... long time no hear from you! Glad to see you back :)
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Re: Warning please.

by carlaboy » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:56 pm

So you've read the posts so far. All by established residents, with a wealth of knowledge and very solid.

If, you are not supporting your life here by some combination of other financial means and you have to work somehow between Monday and Friday to find your way, then you have my support.
There have been many offers of advice and posts within this network on how to do so, by many people; check it out it's invaluable.
If you are a bit lost then please ask as its clear between all here, there is an answer, though everything depends on your personal situation and which direction you are looking to go.


Ps. Nice to hear Arthur again, I heard you didn't usually leave your Carribean winter retreat in the Cayman Islands until April. Welcome back. ;)
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Re: Warning please.

by trice001 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:54 pm

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