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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have a dual citizenship (US / French). I'm looking to move to France for a year (possibly longer). I have the possibility to telecommute, and my company does not actually have offices in France. I would still be paid in the US. I have read some of the threads on the expatForum to try to find information on what my status would be, while in France. The French embassy in the US could not give me any information. I would love to hear from someone that is in the same situation.
Many Thanks.
 

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Technically, if you are physically present and residing in France while doing the work, you are considered to be "working in France." Given that your employer doesn't have offices in France to pay you on a regular French payroll, you would have to set up some sort of "contractor" arrangement whereby you bill your employer for your work and then pay your French cotisations (and eventually income taxes) to the French government.

For US tax purposes, you should be able to claim the overseas earned income exclusion - though you still have to file in the US (and there are some "tricks" to filing your return for the year you first qualify for the exclusion, especially if you move to France mid-year).

That's how it's "supposed" to work. However, if you are looking to continue making your US contributions to social security and any other benefit plans your employer may have going, it is possible under the US-French social security treaty to put off enrolling in the French social security system for a couple of years. You will, however, still have to pay French income taxes.

Your best option may well depend on what your real reason is for moving to France. If you are likely to stick around for the long term, you probably want to get into the French social security system right away. If you're on a temporary transfer (say, with a spouse) and planning on returning to the US in a couple of years, you'll do better to maintain your US social security and benefit plans.

And another thing to consider should you go the contractor route (i.e. your US employer pays you but without deducting any social security and taxes), is to make sure that what you are paid covers your telecommuting expenses (stationery supplies, Internet connection, equipment you need, etc.) as well as the added cost of paying your own cotisations as a business or self-employed person.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bevdeforges,
Thanks you for your insight. For the short term, I will be keeping my residency in Texas, and receiving my paycheck is the US, and keeping all my benefits. Reason being that if the kids have hard time adjusting, I will be returning to US.
 

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Bevdeforges,
Thanks you for your insight. For the short term, I will be keeping my residency in Texas, and receiving my paycheck is the US, and keeping all my benefits. Reason being that if the kids have hard time adjusting, I will be returning to US.
All I will say is "be careful." Make sure you know what your health care coverage will do for you while in France. If you have to take private insurance it can be expensive, especially with kids - though flying back to the US for doctor appointments isn't cheap either. I would also check to see if your employer needs to file something or at least confirm that you are retaining your US benefits under the social security treaty.

Be careful about the tax situation. France will decide quite independently of what you may want to do about retaining your residence in the US. If you are present 183 days of a calendar year in France, it's "presumed" you are tax resident. And if you wind up paying French taxes, you want to be sure that you qualify for the overseas earned income exclusion so you don't wind up paying twice.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I'm not so sure Bev's answer is correct. I live in France and work for American companies on a freelance contract, and I do other regular freelance work. At no point in the visa process did anyone care what exactly the nature of my job was with the US companies. They care only how much I make. The important part, as far as I know, to the French government, is that you're living in France, therefore liable to take advantage of social services that you're not paying for. I think Bev is steering you in the wrong direction.





Bevdeforges,
Thanks you for your insight. For the short term, I will be keeping my residency in Texas, and receiving my paycheck is the US, and keeping all my benefits. Reason being that if the kids have hard time adjusting, I will be returning to US.
 

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I'm not so sure Bev's answer is correct. I live in France and work for American companies on a freelance contract, and I do other regular freelance work. At no point in the visa process did anyone care what exactly the nature of my job was with the US companies. They care only how much I make. The important part, as far as I know, to the French government, is that you're living in France, therefore liable to take advantage of social services that you're not paying for. I think Bev is steering you in the wrong direction.
Just a question - what sort of visa did you get when you first came to France? Admittedly, the categories have changed a bit recently, but does your carte de séjour give you working privileges?

Technically, if you are freelancing, you are working in France and should have some form of business entity set up to handle your cotisations. Are you paying French taxes?

To be honest, it's not that difficult to live "under the radar" in France (I did so while I was technically illegal). It's only when an emergency comes up that you can run into real trouble.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks to your dual nationality, you are a French citizen and you need no visa to enter France. Moreover you will not be required to have a work in France to have the right to live there; France never refuses entry of its citizens.
The relevant question is the visa status of your spouse and kids. As you are French your kids maybe also have the French nationality, otherwise they can obtain it.
In your particular case, your job could be described differently depending on how one decides to look at it….
One way could be to consider that you are working for a US company which pays you in bucks in the US for a work done somewhere else irrelevant as you finally hand up said work to your boss in the US. In a certain way, the job of an international reporter looks likewise and such a reporter will certainly be deemed as working in his/her boss’s country.
If you choose to consider yourself in a similar situation you could “just forget”, at least for a time, to think about the job question and “just” live in France from your foreign capital. Yet, I am afraid that if you keep living in France for too long on your foreign money there will be a point where, as a good French citizen, you will have to start informing the “fisc” of your revenues.
It could only work for a limited number of years but this should enable you to keep your benefits and coverage running on in the US (albeit blocked there). On the opposite, for coverage in France you will probably have to opt for the same social security as a French “rentier” (a rich non worker). Anyway, this scenario would allow an easy return “home” if need be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We all have dual citizenship. For the first year, I plan to make sure that I stay in France less than the 183 days. Then, we will assess depending on how the kids do. That will also give me time, if needed, to find a job in France.
 

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One way could be to consider that you are working for a US company which pays you in bucks in the US for a work done somewhere else irrelevant as you finally hand up said work to your boss in the US. In a certain way, the job of an international reporter looks likewise and such a reporter will certainly be deemed as working in his/her boss’s country.
Be very careful - an international reporter living and doing their job in France is considered resident in France and pays taxes and social insurances there, no matter where their boss is located.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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We all have dual citizenship. For the first year, I plan to make sure that I stay in France less than the 183 days. Then, we will assess depending on how the kids do. That will also give me time, if needed, to find a job in France.
There is more to the determination of tax residence than merely the 183 days of physical presence. What they actually are trying to determine is your "center of interest" - where you actually are living. This includes where you family is located, where your kids go to school and where you take your doctors appointments, etc.

There is also the issue of what it takes to qualify for the US overseas earned income exclusion, as you will always have to file US taxes, regardless of where in the world you are living.

You may want to consult with a tax attorney here in France (one qualified to practice in both the US and France). They can probably give you a much better view of your options.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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