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Never Say These 12 Things to a French Person

Never Say These 12 Things to a French Person

Rosie (from Not Even French) and I have both put our “pieds” in our mouths at a few dinner parties, so take it from us and avoid these topics when speaking with French people!

My Favorite Paris Café Terraces for Wine au Soleil

My Favorite Paris Café Terraces for Wine au Soleil

Wine and long conversation en terrasse is a time-honored pastime in France, but is especially cherished when the grey winter gives way to sunshine. Here are my top picks in Paris!

Freelance in France: Set Up Your Auto-Entrepreneur Status

Freelance in France: Set Up Your Auto-Entrepreneur Status

Here in France, setting up a business usually involves a ridiculous amount of paperwork and bureaucracy. One of the few exceptions is the micro-entrepreneur status, which used to be called auto-entrepreneur.

Becoming a micro-entrepreneur is a great option whether you want to be self-employed, freelance or offer a service as a side gig. Unlike in the U.S., you must set up this status BEFORE you start to work, because you need to provide a SIRET business identification number to the companies or clients you work for.

The goal of the application process is to get this SIRET number. We will also go over how to invoice correctly and pay your taxes. But first, there are some limitations on who and which professions can use the micro-entrepreneur status, so let’s determine if it’s right for you.

WHO CAN BE A MICRO-ENTREPRENEUR?

Common usages by expats include freelance translation services, language tutors, English teachers, artists, yoga instructors, tour guides, web design, photography, stylists and marketing professionals. I use mine for freelance media consulting work. Here is a full list of qualifying métiers.

There are some important limitations including:

  • You cannot employ anyone (though you are able to work with your spouse).
  • You can’t make more than 70,000 euros per year (President Macron upped the max) or else you have to use a different type of services structure.
  • This is not a work permit. You must already have permission to work in France before applying.
  • If you want to open a boutique or sell items, micro-entrepreneur status may not work for you. Also, some employment activity is forbidden under this status such as construction and other services where you need special permits. This website can help you determine if your activity qualifies.

HOW TO APPLY

The website to apply is www.autoentrepreneur.urssaf.fr (only available in French).

Click Créer mon auto-entreprise.

Click the button that says: Déclarer mon auto-entreprise. This takes you to the start of your application.

On this page you have to choose your work activité. Be careful with this choice because it is a pain to change it after you submit.

SPOILER: This page is annoying. If you want to browse the categories, you have to go through each domaine d’activité, and then check the box on the right that says “Afficher toutes les activités du domaine,” and see if your activity is in the choisissez votre activité list. Or you can press your luck with the autocomplete field.

As soon as you select an activity, you will be taken to the main application form.

This asks for pretty straightforward information, but very much depends on your occupation, preferences and tax/fiscal situation, so I can’t give you advice on which options to fill out. There is no default, one-size-fits-all choice.

I do suggest you complete the form in order because it is also super finicky, and requires you to fill out certain fields before others.

At the end, if you aren’t finished, you can save what you have by clicking enregistrement provisoire. When you are ready, hit VALIDATION to send your application!

After you validate you will be given an application number (numéro de dossier) and a password. SAVE THIS. You should also receive an email confirmation, but you never know.

NOTE: This online application is equivalent to the form: Déclaration de début d’activité – Personne physique (P0 PL) — if you want to do this the old-fashioned paper way.

RECEIVING YOUR SIRET NUMBER

If everything you submitted is fine, you should get your SIRET number (your company ID number) via mail in about a week. Super fast for France, right?

You will actually receive two numbers: a SIREN (a personal ID number that follows you for life) and SIRET (specific to the activity you chose). You only get one SIREN, but can have multiple SIRETs if you have different business activities. You may notice your SIRET number is your SIREN number plus five unique numbers at the end. The SIRET number is what companies will need.

Félicitations, you can now legally freelance in France!

HOW TO INVOICE

Companies or clients who hire you will need some specific info in order to pay you. Here is a sample invoice:



A few details to take note of:

  • When listing the fee for your service, you need to indicate that it is Prix HT (prix hors taxes). This is because when you work under a micro-entrepreneur status, YOU are responsible for the taxes, not the company and that needs to be indicated on the invoice.
  • For the same reason, you need to put “TVA non applicable, art. 293B du CGI” underneath the total amount billing.
  • If you want to be paid by direct deposit, be sure to include your banking info including the IBAN, SWIFT/BIC and RIB. Note: you technically need a dedicated bank account for this work activity.

DECLARING & PAYING TAXES

impots.gouv.fr

When you work under a micro-entrepreneur status, you are responsible for declaring and paying all the taxes on what you make, instead of the client who hired you. Companies obviously love this and France’s intention in creating this status was to better accommodate the “gig economy.”

  • Declaring your revenues

You have two options for declaring: You will get a tax form in the mail, or you can set up an account on www.impots.gouv.fr. This is the same website you may already use to pay your personal taxes, but you have to set up a different account for your business activity.

Depending on which you chose on your application, you need to declare your revenue either monthly or quarterly. The first time you declare will be after your first FULL quarter (or month), and in that declaration you will include the partial quarter/month during which you created the account. The charts below indicate when you need to make your first declaration.

Don’t forget to also include your micro-entrepreneur revenue on your personal tax declarations as well.

  • Tax Rate — Taux de Cotisations

Good news for les micro-entrepreneurs — beginning January 1st, 2019 everyone starting a company benefits from L’Accre, which is a gradual tax for your first three years of working under this status (see chart below). After that, the tax is 22%.

Still have questions about the process? Check out this FAQs page which has a ton of details on it. Good luck!


If this how-to guide helped you, please consider buying me a coffee to say “merci” and help keep this blog going!


Expat Spouse Integration: Successfully adjust abroad with your partner

Expat Spouse Integration: Successfully adjust abroad with your partner

Moving to another country for love is romantic, adventurous and very, very hard. As the spouse of a local, you do have a leg up in many ways. But you still have to adjust to a foreign land, create a new life and integrate into a different society.

I Still Speak English at Home with My French Husband. Here’s Why.

I Still Speak English at Home with My French Husband. Here’s Why.

I confess that my French is not as far along as I would like. But when people here in Paris find out I am married to a Frenchman, many are quick to scold me for not speaking French at home with my husband.

My Favorite French Advent Calendars of 2018

My Favorite French Advent Calendars of 2018

Each year, French chocolatiers and confiseurs create even more high-end, creative and beautiful calendrier de l’Avent, elevating them to a must-have for cozy holiday decor. And now the offerings have extended beyond chocolate to include tea, beauty and high-end treats.

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15 Perfectly French (and Authentic) Christmas Gifts

15 Perfectly French (and Authentic) Christmas Gifts

If you’re in Paris before the holidays, skip the souvenir shops and buy your loved ones a special, quintessentially French present. Or you can always use the internet to deliver a little France to you. These are my favorite French gift ideas this year.

Biking in Provence for Dummies

Biking in Provence for Dummies

I’m no Tour de France rider. I’m not even a bike-with-gears kind of rider. So when my sister (also an amateur) suggested we do a three-day, self-guided cycling trip through Provence, I balked.

French Favorites: Diptyque Carrousel

French Favorites: Diptyque Carrousel

Starting in 2016, the chic Parisian candle and fragrance brand Diptyque has released a unique holiday candle carrousel each year — and I am lucky to have all three. Rarely has a decorative item made me so happy.

I don’t normally write about products or shopping, but I had to share this because it is one my favorite French items. The gold carousels fit atop the small (and in 2018 also the medium-sized) Diptyque candles and when the candle is lit, the carousel rotates and reflects light (video here).

The first year Diptyque produced this candle carousel, it was a whimsical duck theme. I saw it in a magazine and fell in love, but sadly after calling multiple New York locations I was told it sold out worldwide within days of being released. Still my husband knew it was my dream Christmas gift.

In a holiday miracle, my husband went to the Nolita store in NYC and was able to procure the floor model carousel from a dream-fulfilling employee, who gave it to my husband for free (they aren’t allowed to sell floor models). My husband has a French charm that translates well in English apparently. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the duck carrousel was under the Christmas tree for me, and have been obsessed with it since.

In the years since, I have planned ahead. Now that we live in Paris, each October I’ve gone to speak to employees at the flagship shop to get the release date information. And in 2017 and 2018 I was the very first person to purchase the carrousel at the Marais Diptyque store. (FYI: The 2017 release date was November 2nd; in 2018 it was October 31st.)

The price is for the medium was 50€ last year, and for the small you had to buy a set with two candles totaling around 110€. I bought the medium to have something new.

Astrology-themed, the 2017 carrousel was a collaboration with artist Philippe Baudelocque and feels more Christmasy to me than the premier edition. I will always have a soft spot for my original duck carrousel, but I use this one more for the holidays. The 2018 design was “Légende du Nord” and the work of illustrator Pierre Marie. The carrousel features three spirit characters that have been invented by Diptyque, as well as two compass medallions.

The Diptyque carrousel is a limited edition item and always sells out quickly. There are usually a few available on ebay, but expect a hefty markup.

I plan on making this a new Christmas tradition and can’t wait until my apartment has a carousel for every room. Hopefully my husband isn’t already regretting that he started this addiction!

9 Tips for Finding Work in English While Living in France

9 Tips for Finding Work in English While Living in France

With the world increasingly globalized, more companies in France are opening up to people without excellent French language skills. Some multi-national companies work primarily in English in order to compete, while certain industries cater specifically to Anglophones.