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RSI & URSSAF Cositations 2008 - confusion reigns!


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Long story, I'll try and simplify as much as possible!

I started a Micro Enterprise (BIC) as a Travailleur Indépendent, selling goods, in March 2007.

I received the Appel de Cotisation from URSSAF and RSI, all well and good, I pay them no problem for 2007 until...

...December.  At which point I received 2 demands from RSI.  Both exactly the same letter, but with different amounts.  On further investigation, I notice that the No. Sécurité Sociale is different on each letter.  My French is ok, but I ask a friend who speaks fluent French to phone them and ask what is going on to be sure to understand the situation.  They tell her that the old SS No I had was a temporary one because it has '999' in the number near the end (although a lady told me today that is because I am an étranger)   RSI said that the new SS No. (with 000 rather than 999) was the correct Appel.  Anyway, at their request we write to them and I get two letters back, one with the old SS no stating that I own nothing on that account, and the new SS No with a corrected amount (another story) - which I've been paying from Jan by Prevelement.  That's been fine and I've been happily paying that by prevelement until just last week when...

...I receive a letter from URSSAF demending an overdue payment for Alloc Famil, CSG/CRDS from February (on the old SS No.) - which according to the letter from RSI, I'm paying to them rather than URSSAF.  Coincidentally or not, on the same day, RSI also sent me a new Appel de Cotisation 2008 for my old SS No requesting 180 euros quarterly (1st payment due in Feb 2008 - letter dated 12 Avril!)

Both the Appel de Cotisations 2008 from RSI state that they are for "maladie-maternité, indemnités, retrait, invalidité-déces, allocations familiales, CSG/CRDS" and the URSSAF Appel states that is it for "d'Allocations Familiales, de CSG et de CRDS"

Today I went to the URSSAF offices in Poitiers (who also seemed to deal with my RSI enquiry!) and told me that I had to pay all 3 cotisations, and it is normal to have (at least) 2 different social security numbers - in fact, she told me I had 3 against my name!!   And she stated that URSSAF was for CSG/CRDS (despite the letter from RSI stating I'm paying them for this) and that the two Appel's from RSI are for different things - one is for "retraite" only (if I recall correctly) and the other is for "maladie etc. etc." but not CSG/CRDS, even though it says so in the Appel!  When I pointed out that both Appel's stated they were for the same things (as quoted above), she told me it was a computer problem with the letter and it should not say that - this just sounds plain wrong to me, and sounds like an excuse not to look into it further.

What I simply don't understand is why after speaking to RSI in January, they sent me an Appel stating that I owed nothing on the old SS No. for the year 2008 (it states quarterly payment, but the amount of 0 for each one), but now 4 months later they are asking me for back-dated payment for this SS No.!

This all seems very odd to me!  I know it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the French system is this bizzare, but perhaps someone else in a similar position can tell me if they are paying 3 different sets of cotisations - 2 to RSI and 1 to URSSAF.  One RSI payment is monthly, one is quarterly and the URSSAF one is quarterly too.  Further, does anyone else have 2 (or more!) different social security numbers?! 

I'm trying to convince myself that I don't have to pay anything on the 'old' SS No. (reasons for not least of which because it nearly doubles my tax bill!!)

Apologies for the length of this - I tried to keep it as brief as possible to get all the facts in!

Any help / hints much appreciated.


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Unfortunately this sort of thing is all too common, particularly when other organisations and departments get involved in something that was working OK before. And I don't mean just in France, it's common to bureaucrats and large organisations everywhere, though I have to admit that it seems particularly prevalent in France.

Unfortunately it needs a big investment in time and phone calls to the various bodies involved - or, better still, visits to their offices if that's possible. And don't necessarily believe what people tell you, all too often they seem to make up an answer to cover their lack of knowledge or to save the effort of looking it up. On the other hand, I have spent whole mornings poring over reference books with tax officials to find just what pigeon hole I should inhabit in their system - some officials can be almost too helpful. The lady who said your 999 social security number was for foreigners was half right. Two digits of French social security numbers indicate the département of your birth - if born overseas the département code is 99 (not 999, which, I believe, does indicate a temporary number).

I know I am always banging on about the wisdom of having a tame accountant; a good one will not only potentially save you money, even taking his fees into account, but will take problems like this in his stride and get it sorted for you.

When I was self-employed in France I paid three lots of cotisations; health, old age, each to the relevant caisse for my profession, and URSSAF for the rest. The idea is now that RSI takes over collecting all three, and this seems to have happened for most artisans and commercants, but I know it has not yet been achieved for many professions liberales. It sounds as if your various caisses and RSI/URSSAF have not yet got it together.

My experience is that once you go down the prélèvement route, then you begin, at some stage, paying something on account for the next year as well as what you owe currently - rather like self-employed tax and NI in Britain. Maybe this is kicking in for you (though as you have only been working for a year it seems a trifle soon).

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