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France/international organizations: taxes etc
Thread poster: rebekka
rebekka
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:36
Russian to English
+ ...
Feb 21, 2004

I am a UK national, living in France, but working almost exclusively for the international organizations based in Switzerland.. when I am working in-house and am paid by the day/month my salary is tax free (or more precisely the tax has already been deducted) but I think that when I work from home for the same organizations I am liable to pay tax... Do I register as self-employed in France? Would I then have to charge VAT? What about income tax on the proportion of my income earned working at home? Can anyone shed any light on any of it?

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xxxsarahl
Local time: 04:36
English to French
+ ...
A couple pointers Feb 22, 2004

Hi!
First of all, if your clients are not in France, you cannot charge VAT.
Second, if your clients are not in France, they are not going to tell the French fisc about the money they paid you. Why would you want to do it?
Third, URSSAF is VERY expensive, probably not worth it if you have very few French-based clients.
You may want to discuss your options with an accountant or an AGA. You may be able to file your (small) translation income as droits d'auteur.
Good luck!
Sarah


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:36
Flemish to English
+ ...
No VAT Feb 22, 2004

No VAT for two reasons :
You export a service to a country which is not a EU-Member State. Switzerland does not have VAT.
Services rendered to international organisations are free of VAT (there should be a paragraph about that in the contract between you and the organisation).

[Edited at 2004-02-22 08:35]


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Olivier Vasseur  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:36
Member (2004)
English to French
+ ...
cheating!!!???? Feb 22, 2004

Williamson has answered your question fully, but I'd like to comment on Sarahl's suggestions. First, 'droits d'auteur' are not an option : they only apply to some translations (books) when they are your main source of income. Second, VAT DOES apply for clients outside France when they are in the European Union (not in this case, since Switzerland is not in the EU). Third, I'd like to make a general point on cheating the URSSAF and the tax services. Cheating the URSSAF is not a good idea. URSSAF payments finance social security (health insurance, retirement). Few translators work mostly for interrnational organizations like Rebekka does. Actually most professional, full time translators need the URSAFF. Those who don't pay the URSSAF can charge less and are unfair competition. Furthermore, they are often non professional translators, who can afford not to pay the URSAFF because they have another job (or are retirees, or bored housewives), and thus are already paying social security contributions. Many are poor translators, for two reasons: they lack practice since they are not full time translators, and they do not NEED their work to be accepted, since they do not need other jobs for the client. These cheap translations give a bad name to the profession.
As to taxes, they pay for public services. I a word, people living in France and benefiting from the health system and public services should accept to pay for it or leave. But I would not trust a translation into French to someone who lives outside a French speaking country.
I hope I'm not being too moralising.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:36
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
the issue is a complex one Feb 22, 2004

Hi,

there are different points to consider.
- no VAT anyway because Switzerland is not a member of the EU
- if you live and earn money in France, you have to pay income tax in France - even if you don't get a salary. There are different situations : independant or employed or writer or artist ...and the tax rates and system are different.
The site www.service-public.fr (French administration ) explores all these situations but it might be difficult to understand - even for native people !
- there is the so-called "residence fiscal" or "domiciliation fiscale" in France, which means that if you you live more than half the year in France (186 days) you have to pay your tax in France. This is a European regulation working more or less between European countries. The thing is, if you also have a place to live in UK it might be difficult to prove where is your main residence, since there is no more visa between the 2 countries. Some French people even try to incorporate as a Ltd company in UK to pay less tax. Quite easy if you are a freelance translator or writer. I would say it's the best to do (but it is only my own point of view)

You can try and get advice from a sollicitor in France but they are very very expensive as they usually deal with big companies. Better contact a professionnal association.

Good luck !


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Florence B  Identity Verified
France
Member (2002)
English to French
+ ...
URSSAF registration is compulsory Feb 22, 2004

if your clients are not in France, you cannot charge VAT.


VAT is applicable for clients in all EU countries (thus Switzerland is excluded).
However, the best thing to do here is to ask a "micro-entreprise" status - which is much simpler and VAT is not applicable (even for clients in France or EU) as long as your income is under a certain figure per year (something like Euro 25,000 I think)

Second, if your clients are not in France, they are not going to tell the French fisc about the money they paid you. Why would you want to do it?


Well, really, I wouldn't advise cheating the fisc...they are in touch with the banks, you could maybe escape for a few years but the day they find you ...you're in for big problems.

Third, URSSAF is VERY expensive, probably not worth it if you have very few French-based clients.


URSSAF is not expensive - if you only get a small amout of money as an independant worker (under E4172) you don't have to pay at all. Over that figure, that's a percentage.
see http://www.creastart.com/doc_commerce_artisans/commerce_urssaf_calcul.html

The more expensive things for small incomes are the compulsory social security and retirement plan. However if you have another status at the same time (employee) this can be reduced. The best thing to do is to discuss it with your local URSSAF (they are in charge of registration).

You may be able to file your (small) translation income as droits d'auteur.


You can do that only if you can prove that the translation is published IFAIK. See
http://www.atlf.org/

Florence


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:36
German to English
+ ...
Thank you Olivier. Feb 22, 2004

Olivier Vasseur wrote:
... But I would not trust a translation into French to someone who lives outside a French speaking country.
I hope I'm not being too moralising.


No, you're not moralising too much; I'm relieved someone brought it up!

I initially refrained from answering/commenting because I really know very little about the situation in France, but sarahl's suggestion certainly bothers me. I can only assume that in France, like in Germany and the US, one owes various taxes on income from self-employment.

Bureaucracy can be a pain, but tax evasion is unethical and just not worth the sleepless nights. I would definitely get in touch with a tax professional (or an association, as others have suggested).


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 04:36
English to French
+ ...
I am not suggesting cheating. Feb 22, 2004

1. VAT
I was self-employed myself in France some 5 years and I worked for a number of EU-based, non-French companies. I went to my VAT services to ask about VAT. Their answer was, and I quote, "la TVA intercommunautaire est égale à 0". That told me, no VAT if your client is outside of France.
2. You may want to speak with URSSAF before you sign up with them. I know for a fact that they discourage people from signing up if their income is small.
Which is why I recommended you speak with an accountant or an AGA, they will be able to recommend the best legal structure for your activity.
In short, I don't think you should cheat. I just recommend that you explore all your options before you sign up with URSSAF because your situation is unusual.
Just for the record, I never cheated URSSAF or fisc myself.
Sarah


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 13:36
French to English
Be careful about not reporting taxable income Feb 22, 2004

sarahl wrote:
Second, if your clients are not in France, they are not going to tell the French fisc about the money they paid you. Why would you want to do it?
Sarah


I would be very careful about using the "don't ask/don't tell" policy with the fisc. You must act in good faith and have proof of that good faith to protect yourself in the event of a future audit.

As far as I know, if you are a legal resident of France, you are required to report any income earned outside of France. You get a tax credit for any income tax paid in the souce country, but this income IS considered taxable income in France, so I would be very cautious about hiding it...They will find you sooner or later.

An accountant is well worth the expense. An initial consultation usually costs nothing and can be the source of some valuable advice.

Good luck!


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 04:36
English to French
+ ...
Professional advice Feb 22, 2004

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:




An accountant is well worth the expense. An initial consultation usually costs nothing and can be the source of some valuable advice.

This is probably the best advice so far. I know a number of translators who are not with URSSAF, they do business as an SARL, société en nom propre, whatever. An accountant is probably a good investment, s/he will be able to tell you which would work best for you. URSSAF is not the only way.
Good luck!


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:36
Flemish to English
+ ...
EU: no uniform tax-laws. Feb 23, 2004

If you have a EU-nationality, you are entitled to live anywhere in the E.U.
Europe may become unified, but social and fiscal matters remain a national issue.
It might be a good idea to compare,live and work where the fiscal pressure is lowest.
I wonder how high/low the fiscal pressure in the new Member-States will be.
A computer can be contected to the internet anywhere.







[Edited at 2004-02-23 09:23]


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