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A year in France


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In order to ease the shock of not having to go to work any more we were thinking that for a year post retirement we would live in our French house and let out our English home.  We could finally immerse ourselves into the area and hopefully get the language skills beyond the "getting by" stage.

I currently have no desire to retire to France full time, I will earn no money in France and am happy(?) paying all my tax in the UK within a reigime I at least understand. 

One thing I probably cannot get out of is buying a couple of French cars but other than that what else do I need to look out for to stop me coming under scruitiny from the French tax authorities?

I am guessing but is it all down to how often and for how long I return to UK during the 12 months? (no problems with this).

Thanks for your thoughts.

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I aim to continue to be a UK resident.  I can get a 365 day travel cover for about £1,000 the pair of us even at our age.  If its something middling (ie between a typical GP trip (which I havent had for over 20 years but Murphys law dictates) and a full blown medical emergency) I am still only a 10 hour drive from "home".  If I had a long term medical condition - I would go home.
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As a UK resident and are over 65 you are only allowed 6 months out of the country without losing your right to NHS cover.

 

None of us can decide where we are resident. And you certainly will not be a UK resident if you are out of the country for a year.

 

Your problem could come if you are in the UK for a 'holiday' say after nine months of living abroad, and fall ill, then you may have to pay for NHS treatment.

 

Look on the NHS web site etc. It's all there.

 

Coops has wondered if this has ever been 'tested', but if it is and someone loses, then they could be in for very hefty bills, health care is not cheap no matter where it is given.

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I can only second Idun's post.  You cannot legally do what you propose although you might well get away with it.  I do know that a huge document has been circulated to all NHS facilities to try to prevent people from using the service when they are not UK residents.  I'd like to bet that if you are white and speak with a British accent you'd get under the radar but then it's not my own health I'd be gambling with. 

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Going to your French house to live for a while then get an EHIC.

In the UK when you fall ill, then use your EHIC if challenged. (This will blow their minds [6]).

I have no idea of the legallity of doing this but it seems to get around the problem.

We were not challenged when we returned to live in the UK last year.

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Benjamin, you should not have been challenged either. The rules say, that as a resident, even for a day, you are entitled to NHS care, I have a letter from the NHS stating this.

What they failed to mention was that 'we' have to pay one way or another, but our case is unusual. Newcastle put me 'right' about our case.

 

The thing that the NHS doesn't want is health tourists and that seems reasonable to me.

 

For Stan Streason, if you are under 65 then after three months per year out of the UK, then your residency for health care can be called into question. From the NHS website

Entitlement to Free NHS Hospital Treatment by Non-Resident

UK Citizens

This leaflet has been compiled to explain the entitlement requirements for free NHS hospital treatment

in the UK for Non-Resident UK Citizens.

The NHS does not normally provide free hospital treatment for

people who do not reside in the UK even if they are UK nationals

If you have lived outside the UK for more than 3 months

(6 months for some pensioners) in the last year you can be charged

 

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Hi Stan,

We have been resident in France for over 9 years. The last time we were in the UK on holiday I had occasion to visit the doctor. We had a good chat and he asked me how we were enjoying France etc. He then treated me on the NHS with no mention of payment. We are still registered at the practice with a friends address after all these years. You have a UK address, how are they going to know you are not resident unless you tell them? The worry would be if you fell ill in France. If I were you I would take a chance with an EHIC card from the UK to use in France.

As Coops says it's your health and ultimately your decision.

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[quote user="Jay"]Hi Stan,

We have been resident in France for over 9 years........ You have a UK address, how are they going to know you are not resident unless you tell them?

[/quote]

I must admit I did a double take when I read the comments (edited) above. I'll tell you why the NHS / HMRC in the UK SHOULD know you are not resident in the UK - and that is simply because when you left the UK to become a French resident 9 years ago you should have completed (amongst other things) the essential form/s 'P85 - Leaving the UK'. This form regularises your UK tax position and is linked to your National Insurance number - from which of course your entitlement to NHS care is determined.

In any case, if you've been French resident for 9 years, you're well over (!) the time limit for joining and contributing to (in one of the numerous ways) the French health system - unless of course you fall into one of the 'not entitled' categories and have taken out and declared private medical insurance.

It's pretty difficult to be, and to prove, dual / multiple residency within the EEA - hence all the bilateral healthcare arrangements.

Surely you're not 'playing' both systems to suit yourself? Now that would be really silly.........

Chiefluvvie

 

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[quote user="Chiefluvvie"]

[quote user="Jay"]Hi Stan,

We have been resident in France for over 9 years........ You have a UK address, how are they going to know you are not resident unless you tell them?

[/quote]

So what was the point in editing my post? You have changed the context to suit what your own purpose!

I must admit I did a double take when I read the comments (edited) above. I'll tell you why the NHS / HMRC in the UK SHOULD know you are not resident in the UK - and that is simply because when you left the UK to become a French resident 9 years ago you should have completed (amongst other things) the essential form/s 'P85 - Leaving the UK'. This form regularises your UK tax position and is linked to your National Insurance number - from which of course your entitlement to NHS care is determined.

We are not discussing my situation, which has nothing to do with you whatsoever. The OP question was for a short term stay of 1 year and his tax is paid in the UK

In any case, if you've been French resident for 9 years, you're well over (!) the time limit for joining and contributing to (in one of the numerous ways) the French health system - unless of course you fall into one of the 'not entitled' categories and have taken out and declared private medical insurance.

Again, nothing to do with this thread

It's pretty difficult to be, and to prove, dual / multiple residency within the EEA - hence all the bilateral healthcare arrangements.

Surely you're not 'playing' both systems to suit yourself? Now that would be really silly........

Why should you care? and once again this is not my thread and my situation has nothing to do with you or the original question!

Chiefluvvie

[/quote]

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Tax-wise, Stan, I don't think you can get away with more than half the year in France.  For obvious reasons, agreements between EU nations mean you pay tax (as far as possible and with the exception of those on public service pensions) where you use the infrastructure.  Filling in a tax form really isn't very onerous and you might even gain financially.  The new regs brought in this year will make it even harder for non French citizens to slip under the radar as now everybody pays here then  gets what is in effect a rebate if they have a public sector pension

As tough as all this is, I reckon a year is over-stepping it in these terms.  I'd be inclined to aim at less than six months and then most of these problems would be moot.

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You can do it the right way, by the letter, in which case all the comments about health and tax are absolutely correct, or you can take a risk and use a UK EHIC and keep your head down for tax.

This is your decision, and you have to take it.

I went the legal way, but I knew I intended to stay.

I have since met numerous Brits who don't give a monkeys.

Some do OK, some come a cropper.

Be sure of what you risk, and don't blame anybody else if it goes wrong.

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[quote user="Jay"][quote user="Chiefluvvie"]

[quote user="Jay"]Hi Stan,

We have been resident in France for over 9 years........ You have a UK address, how are they going to know you are not resident unless you tell them?

[/quote]

So what was the point in editing my post? You have changed the context to suit what your own purpose!

I must admit I did a double take when I read the comments (edited) above. I'll tell you why the NHS / HMRC in the UK SHOULD know you are not resident in the UK - and that is simply because when you left the UK to become a French resident 9 years ago you should have completed (amongst other things) the essential form/s 'P85 - Leaving the UK'. This form regularises your UK tax position and is linked to your National Insurance number - from which of course your entitlement to NHS care is determined.

We are not discussing my situation, which has nothing to do with you whatsoever. The OP question was for a short term stay of 1 year and his tax is paid in the UK

In any case, if you've been French resident for 9 years, you're well over (!) the time limit for joining and contributing to (in one of the numerous ways) the French health system - unless of course you fall into one of the 'not entitled' categories and have taken out and declared private medical insurance.

Again, nothing to do with this thread

It's pretty difficult to be, and to prove, dual / multiple residency within the EEA - hence all the bilateral healthcare arrangements.

Surely you're not 'playing' both systems to suit yourself? Now that would be really silly........

Why should you care? and once again this is not my thread and my situation has nothing to do with you or the original question!

Chiefluvvie

[/quote]



[/quote]

But it has got something to do with me. As a UK resident taxpayer you are taking something to which you are not entitled and for which I am contributing. The NHS is under severe financial pressure and you could well be depriving a genuine UK resident of healthcare whilst you sponge off of the likes of me.

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[quote user="idun"]

None of us can decide where we are resident. And you certainly will not be a UK resident if you are out of the country for a year.

[/quote]

Well I do!! Or at least have done and will continue to do so according to the circumstances.

A few experiences:

In December 2004 I returned to the UK after travelling to recover from Falciparum Malaria, it had been my intention to go directly to France after my round the world trip but under the circumstances the UK seemed a better option, I had effectively already left the UK but had not actually been resident anywhere for a year. I was initially treated at a hospital in Cairns Australia, I was in a very bad way and was in for a few weeks, at the end i prepared myself to pay what I thought was a hefty bill and to hopefully claim some back from my travel insurance, they told me there was nothing to pay as I was a British subject yet they had not even seen my passport, as Cooperlola said had I been a different colour or speaking with a foreign accent perhaps it would have been different.

Getting the continued NHS back in the UK treatment was not a problem at all (back then) and my Doctor signed me off work that I didnt have! I claimed incapacity benefit during this time for no better reason than to give me some NIC credits. All was going fine at the social security office untill I mentioned that I had been travelling, - had I been out of the country for more than 3 months? - Yes I replied, "oh dear" they said "you will have to do a right to reside test and a habitual residency test".

These were clearly not intended for a UK citizen returning from a slightly longer than usual holiday and included questions like "where did you come here from and and why?", "did you bring any posessions with you? If not why not?" etc. I answered them correctly but flippantly, I came here from my mothers womb, why well I think my father may actually have been responsible, I had no choice in the matter, I arrived here with no possessions as the midwife had taken my umbilical cord withot my permission etc etc. They saw the funny side and filled the form out for me and just asked me to sign it.

In 2007 I had a series of eye operations here in France for a detached retina and several post operative recidives, later that year I suffered yet another one in the UK and was admitted to hospital, when I told them that the previous ones had been carried out in France (I gave them my case notes) it did invoke some sort of "potential health tourist procedure" mainly involving lots of questions, I reckon to try and catch me out as pretty much every one who dealt with me, doctors, nurses administrators etc all  were asking the same questions dressed up as curiosity, I just stuxk to my guns, I live in the UK and you have my address, the word residency was never actually used, I was never asked to prove it (indeed how could one?) the operation went ahead and I had 2 further operations back in France to correct their work.

My opinion is that you will have no problems here in France getting treatment done on you EHIC and in the unlikely event of you having to return to the UK other than answering a few questions you wont be denied or charged for treatment, I say that on the basis that you would only return for something serious and not for say cosmetic surgery! 

Also in the first year one often returns to the UK for things and in all likelyhood you wont have been out of the country for more than 6 months.

I hope you enjoy your trial period.

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Well PaulT and Chiefluvvie I find you both truly amazing. I visit a

doctor in the UK and get a bit of advice and you can tell from the few

words I wrote that I work the system both in the UK and here in France!

Obviously you are both not only above reproach but psychic as well. 

 

Just

to clarify the situation. I am French resident and have been for almost

9 years. I pay tax in France and the UK as well as cotisations and top

up insurance.  

 

If you feel you need any further information to justify your ramblings just let me know.

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Chancer, they really are tightening up. Until now they haven't bothered, but they if they haven't already they will. The cutbacks are hitting lots of services hard. So they should keep on top of this.

I do believe though that a real emergency will always be treat under the NHS. I don't think that it will ever be like the US when they chuck people out of hospitals because they cannot pay when they are seriously ill. And a detached retina would be a real emergency.

Health care costs a lot. I don't think that any of us should abuse the system in any country.

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[quote user="Jay"]Well PaulT and Chiefluvvie I find you both truly amazing. I visit a doctor in the UK and get a bit of advice and you can tell from the few words I wrote that I work the system both in the UK and here in France! Obviously you are both not only above reproach but psychic as well. 
 
Just to clarify the situation. I am French resident and have been for almost 9 years. I pay tax in France and the UK as well as cotisations and top up insurance.  
 
If you feel you need any further information to justify your ramblings just let me know.
[/quote]

Jolly good Jay - amazing back pedaling! No more info required thanks - I've seen more than enough.

Sleep tight.....

Chiefluvvie

 

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[quote user="Chiefluvvie"]

Jolly good Jay - amazing back pedaling! No more info required thanks - I've seen more than enough.

[/quote]

Maybe backpedaling (all one word by the way) but it certainly shows how ill-informed your post was!

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[quote user="Jay"].....(edited...again!!!) Obviously you are both not only above reproach but psychic as well. 
 
[/quote]

Thank so much for the English lesson Jay - I do so struggle sometimes!

Oh ...and I think the more commonly used phrase is 'beyond reproach', not 'above reproach'......something to think about for next time maybe?

Have a lovely day - hope they don't catch you ....

Chiefluvvie

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Exactly !

I just don't understand why anyone resident in France would still be registered with a UK GP. It's just wrong on so many levels.

What's wrong with French Doctors ? The World Health Organisation seems to think they're a pretty good bet! France in pole position and the UK ranking 18th!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WHO's_ranking_of_healthcare_systems

Chiefluvvie
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Jay wrote the following post at 31/10/2011 17:05:

" Hi Stan,

We have been resident in France for over 9 years. The

last time we were in the UK on holiday I had occasion to visit the

doctor. We had a good chat and he asked me how we were enjoying France

etc. He then treated me on the NHS with no mention of payment. We are

still registered at the practice with a friends address after all these

years. "

Surely this has to be illegal.[blink]

If you are visiting U.K. and need to see a doctor then by all means use the EHIC card, that is what it is for.

Recently I have attended a few  U.K. hospital appointments. The appointment letters now ask people to bring  proof of residency with them, a telephone bill or similar.

BTW I am U.K. based

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Well you woke a few up there Stan, as you say if you constantly pop back and forth and have no intention of ever being a French resident, just carry your European health card and carry on, we do this and have done so for several years. We may overstay occasionally by a couple of days , but hey! who's counting?  what they going to do; deport us? And before anybody jumps on that, I pay UK tax and paid UK social security for 50 years. I also pay all the taxes that I am liable for in France. So if you don't have a problem with a right hand drive car in France, why buy an overpriced French car that you can't drive in the UK should you wish. It's amazing what a response  this question always evokes, nearly as good as the "I'm more integrated than you scenario" Funny that the most emotional replies seem to be from "French residents" bit like the ex-pats who have returned to the UK and now want to stop other ex-pats getting pension increases. I was under the impression that we are all European residents and are entitled to the same level of care as a resident of which ever country you are in? 

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