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part time business


Lizs
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We are semi retired and would like to set up a part time business - offering various services to the holiday market. I have read lots on micro enterprise but what happens if we only wish to work part time and our earnings amount to say 10 000,00 euros per year. The cotisations and tax would almost wipe that out, any suggestions

Thanks

Liz
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I find it very interesting that no-one has been able to answer your query.  I am in a similar position but there appears to be no recognition of a part-time enterprise in France.  Surely there must be a LF member out there who does know something about this.  I can't find anything that covers this sort of situation on French websites.
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[quote]The best solution may well be the "portage". It's a simple concept : You don't create a business structure You sign up with an "entreprise de portage" When you come to bill a customer, you make the b...[/quote]

Do you have to register with any organisme such as ASSEDIC????

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http://www.anpe.fr/actualites/affiche/aout_2004/portage_salarial_2655.html

So in essence you get the Portage Company to bill your customer and then receive about 50% of the invoiced bill once the charges and fee has been paid.

On the website the emphasis seems to be on the "office" type of work consultancy etc, that would normally be regulated by the Chamber of Commerce. I'm not clear as to whether it is applicable to the craft trades that fall into the orbit of the Chambre de Metiers.

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  • 2 weeks later...

[quote]http://www.anpe.fr/actualites/affiche/aout_2004/portage_salarial_2655.html So in essence you get the Portage Company to bill your customer and then receive about 50% of the invoiced bill once the ch...[/quote]

I was very interested to read about the portage company idea, and I think that many recently retired people would like to know about this.  It is a shame it is buried so deeply in the forum.

I am recently resident in France and I am a retired marine consultant, but some of my old friends and clients in UK still want me to do some work on a part time basis.  I do not want to set up a French company, with all the paper work involved, as the work will be patchy, and will probably die a natural death the longer I am away from the UK.  I have tried the web site address but my French is not good enough to understand all the content.

Please can you tell us more about this seemingly excellent idea.

Can you write reports on your own letter head, can you invoice in English (under the portage company's letterhead, or care of the portage company; euros or sterling do not matter), does the portage company deduct commission and tax from fees only, or on both disbursements and fees (I may have to travel with consequent large disbursements), as all tax is paid by the portage company do you have to declare these earnings to the local French tax office, how do you contact the portage company, does the portage company have an english speaking section, can all written work under the portage company system be in English.

Would be very grateful for these answers as I have been worrrying how to help my old clients and friends in London without setting up a French company.  I did not want to work "on the black", charge them in sterling, and then pay the cheque into an off shore account as I am too old to flirt with what might be seen to be a possibly illegal tax dodge.  So far I have had to refuse work, so I am happy to pay the portage company 50% of fees, and stay legal.  I would prefer not to pay a commission on disbursements.

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The 'portage' type companies seem to be exactly the same as 'umbrella' companies in the UK that usaually operate with freelance professionals from consultancies, IT, engineering etc. If you want a rough idea of how this works and you are struggling with your French, have a look at some of the sites using Google.

I work with a few freelance people like myself who use this system and it seems ideal if you don't want to be involved in running a company.

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I found there was an online calculator where you can put in your gross income, your expenses and then calculate your net when you are on Portage!

http://www.experiance.com/calcul.htm

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I may be misunderstanding the portage concept, but it seems that it may be of limited use, and of no use to me as a consultant.

As far as I can find out at, the end of the day when the work is complete, you send your time sheets and expense sheets to the portage company who then invoice your client, and reimburse you by means of a weekly or monthly salary once they have received the funds.

This is useless to me, as I would only be doing occasional documentary work for my old friends in the UK as I can no longer do the practical work.  This would amount to no more than a hobby, but would help my old friends as they would send me the complicated documents that they do not have time to work on.

Individual jobs may amount to only one a year, or there could be several in a short period of time.  Each job would be independent of all others, and would be invoiced separately.  The fees earned may be tiny, or for a large problem going to court they could be considerable.  At times disbursements for research could also be considerable, and sometimes without receipts.  It would not be possible to forecast fees, and nor would the fees be regular.

As a consultant, I would not keep time sheets, or keep expense sheets.  I would agree the fees and expenses with my clients, and then invoice them for total fees and total disbursements "as agreed".

It seems simple to me, do the work, all for clients outside France, invoice the clients, and then declare the fees to the French authorities as income - all legal and above board.  However, this seems to be impossible in France.

No wonder the black market exists.

I have now told my friends that due to French difficulties, I cannot accept any consultancy work.

What a shame.  My friends would benefit, I would benefit, and the French tax man would benefit.  Now because of impenetrable paper work, no one benefits.

Any ideas or thoughts anyone?

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Many thanks for your kind and helpful reply.  Yes I would enjoy the work to keep my brain active.

Unfortunately even after much searching I am not able to find an English speaking French accountant in my area which is the northern Deux Sevres - Dept 79. I would dearly like to find such a person, not only to help with this problem, but also to help with transferring all other matters from UK to France such as peps, etc, and claiming tax allowances etc.

The only ones I can find are those advertising in the English language newspapers and magazines, and they charge a fortune.

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hi see you are in Deux Sevres - Dept 79 we have just bought/in the process of buying in 79 near chiche. we are on very good terms with our estate agent (bound to be he is making enough out of us ) no but he`s ok will e-mail him if you want and ask the question........if you want......
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From what I have read on Portage it should work for most one man operations. You send your client an invoice for the total amount that you wish to bill them when your payment terms say you should. This could be an hourly rate or a fixed price or a milestone payment. The payee for the payment though is not you! The payee is the Portage company. Once the funds are cleared at the Portage they will then pay you the agreed percentage (typically 50%). The net amount that you receive includes their commission and all your taxes already deducted. Also if you have any legitimate expenses (travel and materials) then you supply these to the Portage as well. Some Portage companies seem to pay you what is owing on a monthly basis and some pay you when the cleared funds arrive. If you go to the website mentioned earlier in the forum at the anpe and in the top right hand corner there are 2 links to the federations that the Portages are associated with. They have lists and addresses of their members. Find your nearest ones and call them until you find someone that speaks english (or write to them).

I would still find an accountant to ask his advice. Beware the unscrupulous accountant though who may not recommend Portage as it is less work for them!!!! When we moved over here we used PKF in Guersney as they were all dual language and understood both tax systems. I communicated with them by email, phone and fax and never needed to actually met them. I used them heavily the first year and then in subsequent years they have been available on an ad-hoc basis at an hourly rate (usually by sending them an email with the question). One of the directors Charles Parkinson has also written an excellent book Taxation in France a Foreign Perspective which is available from them. I have no relationship with this company except as a satisfied customer.

It would be interesting to know how you get on.

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It may sound a silly question but perhaps you could use a limited company in the UK (you will after all merely be "working from home") in the way that consultants always do there?  The costs are not high for setting up, and here are no audit fees for small companies, so the annual accountants costs would not be high.  There must surely be a section on the "foreign income" bit of the French tax return for a salary or indeed dividends from a UK company. (We will read the form to see if we can work out which box)  We do know that it is not possible to pay all profits from a UK co. as divvies which is what happened in the old days.....

I would certainly seek advice from a firm like the one mentioned in Guernsey - a one off fee cannot be that high.

We are still doing a couple of very simple tax returns (UK though we live in France) for old ladies who we were unable to offload onto the chap who bought our accountancy practice. We have decided that life is too short so just do them free and informally but that is not an answer for you. We did not deal with overseas tax in our practice so cannot give specific advice.

H.

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  • 1 month later...
I looked into it, and will probably do so again when we get over to france.

There are local companies all over France, and they do vary a bit. The one I spoke to couldn't help me though as their insurance didn't cover my client being in Canada.

Their rules stipulate that you must set up the contract at least 48 hours before you start work, they need your social security number and the client's SIRET numbers, and run a credit check on the client before taking on the contract.

If anyone is interested they can contact me and I will send them all the papers that the portage company sent me, which said far more than any of the websites I looked at about the whys and wherefores.
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It may sound a silly question but perhaps you could use a limited company in the UK (you will after all merely be "working from home") in the way that consultants always do there?  The costs are not high for setting up, and here are no audit fees for small companies, so the annual accountants costs would not be high.  There must surely be a section on the "foreign income" bit of the French tax return for a salary or indeed dividends from a UK company. (We will read the form to see if we can work out which box)  We do know that it is not possible to pay all profits from a UK co. as divvies which is what happened in the old days.....

This has been done to death on this forum, it is not possible to work for very long under a UK Ltd Co if you live in France - if you could, I still would.

You pay your taxes in the country you do the work, not to do this, according to the IR and Newcastle in the UK is incorrect, you would have to pay French tax and cottisations as by declaring the income on the French tax return they would want the difference. They might even fine you if they thought that you were working in an incorrect way. John was an accountant and we have looked into the way we have to work in great detail.

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Linacre and others

There was a post by Will the Conq. about working on a part time basis and not having to be registered if the amount was below a certain yearly total - just declared on a tax return. I cannot find the post due to the search system not working very well. Will, if you are there and still have the info, can you post it please - pretty please . You could always try a PM to Will who is a font of knowlege on working in France.

The amount (if I remember correctly) was quite a bit below €10,000.

Hope this helps. I have my Siret and an accountant - still in our first year but the company was an existing one I ran in the UK.

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Di - I've searched too and can't find it. I know it's in there somewhere. I'm in England now and my paperwork is in France, but I'll have a look when I get back.

I wouldn't claim to be an expert in working in France, but having, like Di, registered a business and helped others looking to do the same, we do manage to build up quite a bit of experience. From that experience, if you are already salaried or self emplyed and thus contributing to the system you should be able to escape paying a lot of the charges twice, though you'll still need to pay taxes and a basic social contribution on any part time business.

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The information I have, in a letter dated 19 April 2004, is:

"Si, toutefois, vous pouviez justifier que les revenues réels nets retenuus par l'administration fiscale sont inférieurs à 15% de 29712€, il ne sera pas donné suite aux opérations d'immatriculation." (bold text is URSSAF's).

The 29712€ figure is reviewed annually, effective 1 July, so it will probably have increased slightly now. Also, it may be different for different businesses - e.g. anything agricultural is often subject to different considerations.

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It's all very well doing consultancy work where in reality the work is for UK based people and indeed arrangements can be made regarding payments. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is the right way!!

If you do work of any kind, for any length of time for cash reimbursment then you have to register yourself. It can be as simple or as complicated as you make it. I'm semi-retired and came over here with no intentions of setting up a business, however my hobby of gardening evolved into 'work' and so I had to register. My intentions are to work no more than 20hrs a week and yes there is money to pay but it's not all doom and gloom at the moment as some of the payments will only be due once my income has been declared which is at the end of 2005.

Here are some tips that I picked up that may help.

1. Make sure that you or your partner speak French, don't forget the people you are dealing with are not there just to help the English.

2. Know exactly what you are going to do. This may sound daft but you need to know to ensure that you talk to the right people... the people who look after gardeners do not look after car salesmen.

3. Research on the web. By doing this you can do all your homework in a stress free environment and indeed down load some of the forms and have questions ready.

4. Be prepared for at least several visits. Unless your really lucky, or just foolhardy, the first visit will just be to get answers and you should go home and make up your mind, there are no obligations util you sign the paperwork and hand over the small registration fee.

5. Ask for any exemptions, reduced payments,etc,etc. They will exist but like any government dept whether in Franch or the UK, they won't tell you unless you ask.

6. Check the opening hours as some depts are open right through lunch time, strange but true, and these can be the quietest times to visit without appointments.

Don't forget you won't be able to advertise unless your registered and so, even a part time job will not succeed. Oh! one other thing don't forget,you can stop at any time but ensure you inform the dept your with and in that way costs will be kept to a minimum. It's no good going on paying out money if your not making it..too much stress.

Regards

Bono
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[quote]"I may be misunderstanding the portage concept, but it seems that it may be of limited use, and of no use to me as a consultant."[/quote]

I don't fully understand the workings of the portage concept yet but my impression is that it is suited for the consultancy style services that Linacre provides.

As I understand it -

You tell the portage company who to invoice and the amount. (you don't need to submit time sheets or evidence of disbursements to the portage company)

They invoice the client and take care of credit control.

When funds are received by the portage company they pay you the funds less the state deductions and their handling fees (circa 10%).

They distinguish between "fees" and disbursements - the latter only incurring a handling fee. i.e deductions on "fees" are around 50% in total - on disbursements only 10%.

The portage company do NOT pay your tax liability in France, but take care of all the other "cotistations".

Would really like to hear from somebody who is actually working through a portage company.

Hagar

 

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