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Online work while in France


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We are moving to France this summer, hopefully that offer for our house that's coming today is acceptable.  I have been doing a lot of IT consulting (for lack of a better description) from home online.  I have lots of work and would love to continue this while in France.  How is the best way to go about it?  I basically work on contracts, not by the hour.

I want (if you can say that) to pay my taxes and contribute to the French system.  I will be going on a student VISA so I'll be able to work 19 hours per week.  What are my options?

I was thinking maybe I could just continue to work like normal but pay my taxes in France.  I'm not sure how this would work.  Can you pay quarterly like in the US.  I get paid as an independent contractor so I pay quarterly here.  How would this square with my 19 hour max requirement?

I could set up a company in France for IT consulting if that would make it easier and pay my share that way.  Then it could pay me a salary based on 19 hours per week.  Since I work by the contract it would be impossible to know if I worked more than 19 hours per week.  If I paid myself a salary I wouldn't necessarily document all of the hours I spent working.

I am an American and my partner is French so I don't want to jeopardize our ability to stay in France but I seek the best solution that lets me go legally, work legally, contribute to and use the national health care system, and pay my taxes.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I don't understand the visa requirement thing at all!

Having said that, if your partner is French and you really want to stay here then why not just set up the business? Why can't you stay in France if you have your own home and a business? Like I say, I don't get the visa situation. Somebody will know though, they'll probably be jolted into action after reading my clueless reply. [:P]

You'd pay your taxes (much higher) in France if you work in France, whether you're paid in dollars/contacted by Americans or whoever, I know that much.

I think the best thing would be to get down to the see the relevant people whilst in France and see what they've got to say.

As for only declaring 19 hours a week - don't worry, nobody declares all their hours over here anyhow!

Good luck.

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Perhaps use a portage company. They act as an umbrella company and you work for them, but you still do your own thing. They bill your clients and then pay your social security etc (not your tax though) and then give you a salary. Works out to being about 50% of what you make I think after they take their cut. The advantage is that you only pay social as you earn, you don't have any of the paperwork rubbish to worry about so you can concentrate on what your job is, you can do as many hours as you like, you would be entitled to the dole should you need it if work runs out and although you have to pay them 10% of what you make, if you had your own business, an accountant would probably cos a similar amount anyway.

Just an idea, you could at least start with one, and then as you're up and running and more confident with the French system, later on set up your business properly. Portage allows you to set up instantly and carry on as usual.

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I know I've already replied to this same question on another site, but they are actually quite strict when it comes to student visas and the number of hours worked.   I'm not even sure it's 19 hours anymore - I thought it had been dropped down to 17 when the workweek dropped to 35h/week.

As I said before, I don't know if it will be possible for you to work for yourself as a student, because you will need to get a work permit and the company you work for must be registered in France and must comply with all of the French labor laws (paid time off, accrued vacation time, etc).   You may want to call your local direction départementale du travail de l'emploi and explain your situation to them, and ask them what your options are, since they will be the ones approving/issuing your work permit.

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