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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are currently in limbo waiting for our Australia Permanent Residency, however, we may end up in a situation where we won't get the visa until 2012, if at all. We have decided to look at backup plans, or at least a plan for something to do for the next 2 years while we wait. We came up with 2 ideas:

  • move to South of France
  • Move to Spain

I would like to know how difficult that would be. I was born in UK and hold UK and USA passport. Have been a US citizen for 3 years now. My wife was born in Hong Kong, but is currently a US citizen. She used to have a BNO passport, but this expired.

As far as I understand, Citizens of European union members are free to move around Europe, is that correct? If we do make the move, then I will continue to work for my US based company, but remotely. (I am a computer programmer) Neither my wife or I will be seeking employment.

I just wanted to know where we stand with regards to this? Is it a viable option, and where do I start?

Thanks

Mat
 

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OK, as a UK national you have the right to live and work in France (or any other EU country). Your spouse can get a carte de séjour more or less upon request after entering France on the standard "tourist" visa waiver (it's called a Schengen visa, but as a US citizen, she doesn't have to apply for it ahead of time - it works more or less like the US VWP).

To get the carte de séjour as the spouse of an EU national, she has to report to the local mairie with all her usual i.d. documents, plus documents to prove your marriage, your EU nationality and your ability to support her.

Now, the fact of your working remotely for your US employer complicates matters just a bit. If you are "resident" in France, then you are subject to French income taxes and to payment of French cotisations (i.e. social insurances - health care, retirement and a few other odds and ends). If your US employer has a French office, it would be much easier all around for them to pay you from their French payroll. But this is also quite a bit more expensive for the employer, and therefore it's highly likely they won't want to do this.

The other option is for you to become a contractor, which will require you to invoice your "employer" for your services and to set up some form of French business entity to account for your cotisations and other business dealings.

It's a viable option, but you need to work out the tax and cotisation side of your work arrangement.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Bev!!!!

OK, as a UK national you have the right to live and work in France (or any other EU country). Your spouse can get a carte de séjour more or less upon request after entering France on the standard "tourist" visa waiver (it's called a Schengen visa, but as a US citizen, she doesn't have to apply for it ahead of time - it works more or less like the US VWP).

To get the carte de séjour as the spouse of an EU national, she has to report to the local mairie with all her usual i.d. documents, plus documents to prove your marriage, your EU nationality and your ability to support her.
That sounds easy then :D Would I have to register myself there as a 'resident' though?


Now, the fact of your working remotely for your US employer complicates matters just a bit. If you are "resident" in France, then you are subject to French income taxes and to payment of French cotisations (i.e. social insurances - health care, retirement and a few other odds and ends). If your US employer has a French office, it would be much easier all around for them to pay you from their French payroll. But this is also quite a bit more expensive for the employer, and therefore it's highly likely they won't want to do this.

The other option is for you to become a contractor, which will require you to invoice your "employer" for your services and to set up some form of French business entity to account for your cotisations and other business dealings.

It's a viable option, but you need to work out the tax and cotisation side of your work arrangement.
Well to complicate things more, I am actually a partner in the business, and not an employee. My income is technically investment income. I earn no fixed 'salary'. (i file a schedule k-1 in US) even though I do work full time.
Does this make a difference? Would France just not count this as foreign income? My 2 partners and the company will remain a US entity. Does france not have a tax treaty with the US?
 

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That sounds easy then :D Would I have to register myself there as a 'resident' though?
There's no "registration" of your residence in France. But, to get your wife her carte de séjour, you'll need to prove your residence with a utility bill of some sort in your name.




Well to complicate things more, I am actually a partner in the business, and not an employee. My income is technically investment income. I earn no fixed 'salary'. (i file a schedule k-1 in US) even though I do work full time.
Does this make a difference? Would France just not count this as foreign income? My 2 partners and the company will remain a US entity. Does france not have a tax treaty with the US?
There is a tax treaty between France and the US - but both countries require you to file taxes based on your worldwide income. I'm not entirely certain how France treats US partnership income in this case, but if you're going to be doing work for it in France, you'll need to set yourself up somehow with some sort of business entity (like a consultant or contractor). OTOH, given that you're doing the work while resident overseas, you may be able to take the overseas earned income exclusion on your US taxes.

You might want to get in touch with AARO, an association of US expats that deals with legal expat stuff like this. AARO - Association of Americans Resident Overseas They run a tax seminar each year (about now - February/March timeframe) that deals with both French and US taxes, and there are a number of tax attorneys in the association who are very familiar with these kinds of issues.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
There's no "registration" of your residence in France. But, to get your wife her carte de séjour, you'll need to prove your residence with a utility bill of some sort in your name.






There is a tax treaty between France and the US - but both countries require you to file taxes based on your worldwide income. I'm not entirely certain how France treats US partnership income in this case, but if you're going to be doing work for it in France, you'll need to set yourself up somehow with some sort of business entity (like a consultant or contractor). OTOH, given that you're doing the work while resident overseas, you may be able to take the overseas earned income exclusion on your US taxes.

You might want to get in touch with AARO, an association of US expats that deals with legal expat stuff like this. AARO - Association of Americans Resident Overseas They run a tax seminar each year (about now - February/March timeframe) that deals with both French and US taxes, and there are a number of tax attorneys in the association who are very familiar with these kinds of issues.
Cheers,
Bev
Thanks Bev. I did run across the AARO yesterday and will try and get more info from them.

Thanks,

Mat
 
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