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Hello!
I'm a US citizen married to a UK citizen, and our plan is to settle in France using his free movement rights. My job is US-based and totally remote, and I'm not sure how the taxes etc. will work. I figured I could take the foreign earned income tax exemption and then pay French income taxes? Has anyone done this? What is the easiest way to set it up in terms of taxes/legality? My employer would let me be a contract employee but I'd rather not.

We're not sure how long we'll be there (at least a few months anyway), likely more than a year. Also (obviously) taking any and all recommendations for french tax pros or primers on this subject.

Thanks!
 

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Just because your job is remote doesn't mean you can easily "do it from anywhere." Officially speaking, you are considered to be working in whatever country you are physically located in while doing the work. So this is the reason your employer wants to put you on contract while you're away. If not, they actually should be putting you on their French payroll (if they have one) and at a minimum paying the (very substantial) employer social costs while you are working in France.

Practically speaking, you could probably get away with it for a while. But you'd be on the US payroll, paying US taxes and withholdings - then have to claim back the taxes when you filed your US return at the end of the year. Some states are fussier than others, so I can't advise on whether or not you'd get your state taxes back.

Depending on your salary, the "easiest" (from my point of view at least) would be to take your employer's offer to go contract, set yourself up as an "independent" - the exact form of business entity depends on your salary level, among other factors - and pay into the French cotisation system as you go. (Figure about 25% of what you are paid going for cotisations off the top.)

The system for registering your "business" can get a bit hairy - but if you have a reasonable level of French you'll get through it.

The other factor to consider is that working remotely from home can be pretty isolating, especially when you're living someplace "exotic" like France. You may want to cut back to part-time or somehow limit your hours so that you can enjoy your stay here in France and soak up a bit of the culture.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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