Working for UK employer and living in France

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Working for UK employer and living in France


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Old 10th July 2020, 04:34 PM
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Question Working for UK employer and living in France

Hello everyone,

We are planning to move to France in a couple of months and I am trying to figure out what that implies.
My employer is based in the UK (and other countries, including Luxemburg and Switzerland if relevant) and agreed to let me work remotely.

How does it work for the tax?
From the scant info I could find sound like it's not that straight forward?
Somebody was suggesting my employer would have to set up a pay roll in France.
HMRC website states I have to pay taxes in the UK.

I would like to hear from someone in a similar situation.

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Old 10th July 2020, 04:43 PM
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I worked for a UK company last year (and would still be this year if it wasn't for Covid!). I was the 3rd employee to be taken on and they have a offspring company set up here to make sure it is all kosher and above board. I have no idea what that involves for them though.

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Old 10th July 2020, 08:35 PM
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Oh yes, working remotely for a company in the UK can open up a right can of worms. The big danger is that HMRC has its own opinions, but the French rules seem to say just the opposite. Best to get that sort of thing nailed down before you take any big decisions. And Brexit may or may not be a consideration, since some of the rules I've seen cited before seem to involve EU "freedom of movement" principles which may not apply after 31 December.

The normal situation for international work and taxes is that you are considered to be working in the country in which you are located while doing the work. So, working remotely while in France means that you are doing the work in France and thus are subject to French labor and tax laws. The cases I'm aware of where someone pays UK taxes and social insurances are those where the family moves to France and the breadwinner/employee commutes back to the UK during the week to work. But that may become kind of dodgy come 31 December.

Your UK employer can either pay you through their French branch or office (if they have one), or there is a way for them to sign up with URSSAF as a foreign employer without a physical presence in France - but either way they pay the employer portion of the French cotisations (social insurances). Most foreign employers aren't keen on this approach because the employer contributions are higher than what they pay in the UK (or US).

The other option is that you work as a contractor, which means that you set up a business entity in France and then you are responsible for paying your own taxes and cotisations (as well as billing your "employer"/customer).

Tread carefully - and make sure you consult with the tax people on both sides of the Channel before you take a decision. French tax law has only 3 criteria for considering you "tax resident" in France - meet any one of the 3 and you're a French taxpayer. (And the first of those criteria is that you live in France, i.e. have your regular place of residence in France.)
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Old 10th July 2020, 09:06 PM
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Thank you. Very useful.

As I mentioned we have an office in Zurich and I will probably be "transferred" there.
Would it make things easier?
I suppose with all the frontaliers there is a better agreement between France and Switzerland...

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Old 11th July 2020, 05:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by algiogia View Post
Thank you. Very useful.

As I mentioned we have an office in Zurich and I will probably be "transferred" there.
Would it make things easier?
I suppose with all the frontaliers there is a better agreement between France and Switzerland...
Check carefully around this too. I believe, although I may be wrong, that you have to live within a certain distance of the border to be classed as a frontalier. I also think you would need a Swiss permit it if you transferred to the Swiss office and therefore be liable for Swiss health insurance etc. If you look on the “Swiss info” site you will get some answers.

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Old 11th July 2020, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Yours truly confused View Post
Check carefully around this too. I believe, although I may be wrong, that you have to live within a certain distance of the border to be classed as a frontalier. I also think you would need a Swiss permit it if you transferred to the Swiss office and therefore be liable for Swiss health insurance etc. If you look on the “Swiss info” site you will get some answers.
The OP will be workiing remotely so will not be a frontalier in any case. A frontalier is a person who commutes on (usually) a daily or weekly basis, and carries out the majority of their work in a country different to the one they live in. If they are working from their home in France, as said they will be subject to French social security and French labour law. If they're transferred to the Swiss office, that office would be a "foreign employer" - as indeed would be the UK office if they remain attached to that. Again as said, URSSAF has a special system for "foreign employers with no place of business in France" - I don't think it makes any difference to URSSAF what country the foreign employer is based in, the system is the same https://www.urssaf.fr/portail/files/...FE-UK-2017.pdf


Last edited by EuroTrash; 11th July 2020 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 11th July 2020, 06:53 AM
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The OP will be workiing remotely so will not be a frontalier in any case. A frontalier is a person who commutes on (usually) a daily or weekly basis, and carries out the majority of their work in a country different to the one they live in. If they are working from their home in France, as said they will be subject to French social security and French labour law. If they're transferred to the Swiss office, that office would be a "foreign employer". Again as said, URSSAF has a special system for "foreign employers with no place of business in France".
In some ways, it might actually be easier for the employer if the Swiss Office were to register with URSSAF as the "foreign employer." The OP would be paid through the Swiss office while the Swiss office would pay the various taxes and cotisations and bill back everything to the UK headquarters.

You may want to show your employer this: https://www.cnfe-urssaf.eu/index.php/en/

And click on the link on the right side of the page marked Guide to Registration for a pdf document that explains the system (in English!)

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Old 11th July 2020, 07:02 AM
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There would be no need to bill the UK office, I will be employed by Swiss office.

What if the remote working is partial? I.e. working some days from home and some from the office?

I want to make it as easy as possible for them, lest they change their mind 😅

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Old 11th July 2020, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Bevdeforges View Post
In some ways, it might actually be easier for the employer if the Swiss Office were to register with URSSAF as the "foreign employer." The OP would be paid through the Swiss office while the Swiss office would pay the various taxes and cotisations and bill back everything to the UK headquarters.
From URSSAF's point of view I don't see it would make a scrap of difference whether it's the Swiss office or the UK office that fills in the forms. I guess it's a case of whatever suits the company best.

I know (UK) companies that do this. From what I've gathered once the scheme is set up it all runs smoothly. There is also other admin involved in employing French residents such as arranging a medical exam and setting up a mutuel but I guess the URSSAF platform covers that, and in any case if it's an international company they're probably already aware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by algiogia View Post
HMRC website states I have to pay taxes in the UK.
I'm confused by this bit though. If you live and work in France you won't pay taxes in the UK, even if your employer is based in the UK (although you might end up classed as dual tax resident for the first year depending on when you move). Were you looking at the section of the website about working abroad permanently?

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Old 11th July 2020, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by algiogia View Post
What if the remote working is partial? I.e. working some days from home and some from the office?
In that case, the Swiss office would be your best option because the frontalier scheme is basically an EU arrangement in which Switzerland participates. Whether or not the UK will still participate after the end of this year is uncertain, but by default they won't and I suspect that nothing will be agreed to change this.

The rule for CH/FR frontaliers is basically that if more than 25% of your working time is in your country of residence, that's where you pay your tax and your social security contributions - ie you are not a frontalier, you're an employee based in your home country who happens to also spend time at head office. However, there is talk of this being relaxed post-Covid. But, I'm sure the Swiss office will be well up to speed with all of this.

As a frontalier you would of course normally pay tax in the country where you work.


Last edited by EuroTrash; 11th July 2020 at 07:21 AM.
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