Riviera Reporter
Riviera Reporter

Finance, Tax and Business

Banking, tax and money matters. Tips and advice about setting up business in France and keeping it going.

Hands typing on laptop

A step-by-step guide to becoming a freelancer

Barth Hulley | Oct 24, 2016
Despite the French government embracing digital technology to reduce the form-filling burden, paperwork is a way of life for those of us residing in this country. Any brush with officialdom still seems to require no end of justificatives,…
Savings piggy bank

Tax on savings and investments in France

Rob Kay | Aug 18, 2016
Are you protecting your savings and investments from unnecessary taxation in France? You will have worked to build up your savings; your aim now is to protect them and the income they provide. To maximise your returns, you need to understand the…
Rob Kay

Wealth management spotlight: Rob Kay

Riviera Reporter | Jul 28, 2016
Blevins Franks are the leading international tax and wealth management advisers to British nationals living in Europe. Rob Kay joined the firm in 1998 and established the first permanent office on the French Riviera. Originally from Manchester, Rob…
Remittance cheque

A lesson about how to write the number “one” on cheques

Barth Hulley | Jul 19, 2016
Bookkeeping, accounting and generally knowing your numbers are a fairly important part of working for yourself, be it in France or elsewhere. However, when you move to foreign climbs you have to grant the experts around you a certain degree of…
Tax key on keyboard

Your tax filing days are numbered

Peter Johnson | Jun 12, 2016
Elections are coming up. You can tell as the government takes some of the sting out of income tax rates. In 2015, 3 million households were totally exempt from tax; a further 8 million will get substantial reductions this year (2016). This concerns…
Woman shocked about tax

How paying your income tax in France is going to change

The Local | May 15, 2016
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin signalled in March 2016 that a long talked about reform will definitely go ahead and it affects most of us. Sapin confirmed the change to the way income tax is paid and promised that the process would be “as…
Man with headache

Dealing with paperwork as a freelancer

Barth Hulley | May 11, 2016
Guess that’s why they call it the (Gauloises) Bleues. It was perhaps an oversight on my part to expect my wife, who spoke almost no French, to take care of all things “family” after our move to the Republic. However, it seemed fair at the time,…
Benoit Buridant

Benoit Buridant: Q&A with CEO & Co-Founder of FrenchFounders

Riviera Reporter | Apr 25, 2016
RR: You were born in Brest in 1985 and grew up in Toulon. Can you tell us a how you ended up in the US? BB: I always wanted to start my own business and thought the US would be a great place to do so, especially because I was looking for a greater…
Girl holding sign "Youth unemployment"

Youth is wasted on the unemployed: Opportunity for reform?

Peter Johnson | Mar 21, 2016
As 2015 ended with more alarming terrorist attacks and waves of immigrants clamouring at Europe’s gates, one thing that noticeably did not change in France was the rate of unemployment. Few can be surprised that there are hot-beds of potential…
Tax scrabble

French residence and taxes

Rob Kay | Mar 11, 2016
If you own, or are buying, a property in France and spend time here each year, you need to understand the rules about residency in France and the UK, so that you comply fully with the correct tax regime. Getting it wrong could cause problems with…
Barth's family in a car

Does a simple, home-working freelancer really need a tax lawyer?

Barth Hulley | Jan 29, 2016
So there I was, January 2006, sitting in a state-of-the-art conference room at Deloitte’s plush new home in the Euro-district of Strasbourg, an area that can only be reached by a lengthy drive from the city centre. Judging by the swanky-looking…
House of euros in hands

Resolution of French social charges: No gain, no pain for ex-pats

Peter Johnson | Jan 19, 2016
Finally, on October 20th, 2015, a resolution on the long-running saga of social charges (prélèvements sociaux), which will come as a great relief to many expatriates living in France and many who had sold French property recently and been unfairly…
Will and Trust

Inheritance: How the new EU Succession Law affects UK nationals in France

Rob Kay | Dec 20, 2015
If you are a UK national living here in France or you own property here, succession (inheritance) law can be complicated. You may have assets in more than one country, which can trigger the application of multiple inheritance laws and create…
Kiss my tax

Top 5 tax breaks to help reduce your French tax bill

Peter Johnson | Nov 06, 2015
Tax bills came early in 2015; Bercy must need the money. In previous years, French tax statements had started arriving in September and a second batch might have come out in October, while for some non-residents it would be early in the New Year. Having…
Taxes key on keyboard

Exemption from French social charges with S1 form, a taxing system

Peter Johnson | Sep 14, 2015
Previously, we’ve seen how UK second homeowners have won the battle against having to pay social taxes (prélèvements sociaux) on their rental income in France, based on the grounds that they are no burden to the French health-care system. Local tax…
US Passport

A matter of FATCA: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act agreement with France

George Donnelly | Jul 22, 2015
A record 1,335 Americans renounced their passports in the first three months of 2015. According to official US data, this staggering figure is close to 40% of the 3,415 Americans who gave up citizenship last year. A defiant act that, for many, stems…

Victory for second-home owners in France, social charges deemed illegal

Riviera Reporter | Mar 20, 2015
France has finally lost its war against British second-home owners, after the European Court ruled it “illegal” to charge social charges on gains from renting or selling (the infamous 15.5% of prélèvements sociaux). France will have to reimburse…
Shocked man with papers

Social contributions on properties: A break for EU non-residents in France?

Peter Johnson | Mar 16, 2015
Towards the end of 2014 there was massive debate about the legality of the French tax office charging “social contributions” paid by European non-residents on French rental income and capital gain on properties in France. In early 2015, I’ve seen an…
Tax on Homes

Taxe d’habitation: Riviera mayors refuse 20% increase on second homes

Riviera Reporter | Jan 04, 2015
Nothing is certain but Hollande and taxes. First it was the preposterous 75% tax on incomes over €1 million that, as Peter Johnson notes in Finance Budget 2015, various tax changes that will affect all of us, “will be quietly allowed to die” this…
Emmanuel Macron

Finance Budget 2015, various tax changes that will affect all of us

Peter Johnson | Dec 05, 2014
We’re fast approaching the end of 2014, which brings with it the usual festive noises of a religious tone, but I shall also be celebrating the countdown to the end of the calamitous reign of President Hollande in a little over 2 years. On Hollande’s…
Little Guy

Auto-Entreprises: New changes going after small businesses

Peter Johnson | Nov 07, 2014
In 2013 there was massive debate in France on the future of the Auto-Entrepreneur regime, various lobby groups putting on the pressure, citing unfair competition, especially in the building trade. A commission looked into the charges brought against…

SARL versus SAS, shall I twist or turn?

Peter Johnson | Jul 05, 2014
For as long as I’ve known, it was common wisdom that one of the few ways of actually working hard and making some money was to run your French business via a SARL (Société à Responsibilité Limitée, or Limited Company in British parlance) and take…
Best of Both Worlds

Taxes in UK or France, is life really greener on the other side?

Riviera Reporter | Jun 21, 2014
Tax is a complex subject, especially for British expats trying to decide whether it’s better to be tax resident in France or in the UK. The opinion is that France is invariably a high-tax country while Britain is not, but is this really the case?…

French business taxes - down but not out

Peter Johnson | May 27, 2014
If you’re in business in France, last year was pretty bleak and the forecast for 2014 looked no better, if anything worse. When paying 45% National Insurance/social security contributions, Corporation Tax at 33%, higher VAT rates … it’s hard to just…
US Tax Minimum Thresholds 2014

US Tax Update 2014

George Donnelly | Mar 22, 2014
Now is the time for all Americans to perform their annual civic duty and file their tax returns. The United States, unfortunately, remains the sole Western nation to impose its taxes on worldwide income, regardless of where you live. Thanks to the…

When the going gets tough, France keeps going

Peter Johnson | Feb 17, 2014
Hardly has the Christmas turkey been digested than we’re straight back into what will surely be the most miserable year yet in France, with unemployment still rising, the economy going nowhere, competitivity a joke, and a bunch of idiots in charge…
Tax on Property

New UK Capital Gains tax to hit UK property owners in France

Rob Kay | Feb 11, 2014
Many British expatriates living on the French Riviera retain UK property for one reason or another. You may be waiting for property prices to improve before selling, or want to be sure that life in France suits you first. But is this the most tax…
Reforme des Auto-Entrepreneurs

Slow death of the Auto-Entrepreneur

Peter Johnson | Sep 20, 2013
A recent poll showed that 30% of young people in the UK see themselves as becoming self-employed and running their own business. This is an encouraging statistic in these troubled economic times, demonstrating a Thatcherite sense of…
Tax Cheats

Lying all the way to the bank

Peter Johnson | Jul 05, 2013
Tax time again and this year’s declarations will be for many between gritted teeth following the high profile “confession” of Jérome Cahuzac, the recently deposed Budget Minister who was also in charge of a crackdown on tax evasion. Well, guess…
Tax: Dictionary definition

Wake up. It’s tax time ... again!

Peter Johnson | Apr 02, 2013
With the first wafts of warm spring weather, ease out the deck chair, open a cold beer, watch the breeze idly flicking through the budding daffodils at your feet ... and WAKE UP. It’s tax time ... again! Forms will hit the doormats in late April…

US Tax Revisions 2013 for Americans living and working on the Cote d'Azur

George Donnelly | Mar 11, 2013
The start of the New Year also means changes in the tax code, as the government loves to fiddle with our money. Most changes aren’t too bad, as many tax breaks have been extended. Additionally, many items and tax benefits see an increase due to…
Bernard Arnault

So what is new in 2013?

Peter Johnson | Mar 03, 2013
A flurry of cold, depressing bad news, like the weather. Almost comical stories of the wealthy leaving France to avoid the 75% tax on high incomes (over €1M), before the Constitutional Court overturned the measure early in the New Year. Will Gérard…

UK Pensions: from Taux Effectif to Credit d’Impot

Peter Johnson | Dec 29, 2012
The latest Franco-British double taxation convention came into effect on January 1st 2010 and one of its more obscure aspects has only filtered through and had an impact on British expatriates this year, based on declared income from 2011. Let me…
Business Taxes

Hollande’s new measures that particularly hit expatriates

Peter Johnson | Sep 11, 2012
Well, the dust is slowly settling on the first few months of Mr Hollande’s Presidency and, no surprises, there have been several unpopular tax changes to try and make inroads into the economic crisis and France’s crippling National Debt. TAX ON…

How will Sauce Hollandaise will affect property taxes for foreigners?

Stuart Baldock | Jul 07, 2012
There is a French expression “à quelle sauce serons nous mangés”. Literally, what sauce will be served when we are eaten up by the taxman. President François Hollande’s Socialist Party now has a comfortable majority in the French parliament and will…


Peter Johnson | May 18, 2012
As a self-employed business in France you could technically be sued for a mistake in your business and lose your house. Unlike a limited company, such as a SARL, where liability is exactly what it says it is, namely limited, with a sole trader…
Karen Armstrong

Setting up Auto Entrepreneur status

Karen Armstrong | May 12, 2012
Is it really so easy? “It’s so easy, and you can do it online in ten minutes,” she said. I was dubious; after all, this woman was a prospective employer with a desire to avoid paying my social charges. Would this status benefit me? After all I am…
Taxing time for US expats

Taxing Times for US expats

PJ Heslin | Feb 09, 2012
6.3 million Americans live abroad, the highest number on record, as confirmed by the State Department. And, unlike some nationalities expat Americans should file for tax. It’s the time of year that most of us have already let our New Year’s…

Beware the (other) RSI

Peter Johnson | Feb 05, 2012
Auto Entreprises (AE) were exempt from the contributions towards professional training, but this has been changed as of January 1st 2011 and in April the “invoice” for this appeared on the quarterly Déclaration Trimestrielle des Revenus for the…

Euro cheque on foreign bank? Don't bother!

Philip Suter | Jan 07, 2012
Sending a cheque from one Euro zone country to another is frustrating and very expensive…don’t bother. The Euro has been in existence for over ten years now in many member countries and if you try and send a cheque drawn on a bank from member…
Angry man

Stability of French banks

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
Understandably the doom-laden news from the world’s financial centres has made for considerable disquiet among average guys on salaries and pensions. It was just the other day that we had news pictures of panic-stricken depositors lining up to take…

Monaco might lose its status of personal income tax haven

Laura Ciocan | Jan 07, 2012
Laura Ciocan offers a new take on an old privilege That Monaco is crowded with celebrities is no piece of news. Since 1869, when the personal income tax policy became favorable, Monaco attracted very many individuals with high net income, such as…

Interdiction bancaire – or being banned by the bank

Phil Heinlein | Jan 07, 2012
Last year some 1.8 million people were on the Bank of France’s blacklist, subject to what’s officially called interdiction bancaire. What does this mean exactly? Well, imagine you’ve been to Galeries Lafayette, say, or Darty or Auchan and you’ve…

Is State Pension a Hassle?

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
When you're sixty-four or before Barry in Antibes has worked here for 18 years and at the end of this year will be claiming his state pension. He's heard this could involve "a lot of hassle". Could I explain? Well, not really - because it's not…

A euro note is a euro note. Or is it?

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
Do you ever look at the numbers on the euro notes you handle? The significant thing is not the number itself but the letter which precedes it. This indicates the country which issued the note. So Y, M and T indicate Greece, Portugal and Ireland,…

Small business: lexicon of who does what

Peter Johnson | Jan 07, 2012
Minding Your Own Business Small business: lexicon of who does what, when, why, and where it all breaks down The baffling world of French acronyms in the small business world needs some explaining. It's simpler than it was, but woe betide anyone who…
Elderly couple

Pension? What Pension?

Riviera Reporter | Jan 07, 2012
One of the advantages of officially working in France is that you qualify for a state pension. A French public pension can’t be hijacked by a Maxwell clone in need of ready cash to renovate his yacht, but as world demographics lean towards an older…

The price to pay for working “on the black”

Peter Johnson | Oct 23, 2011
Bob the builder, Bill and Ben the gardeners, Daisy the maid, Miss Mop the cleaner: met ’em all. No problem, cash is fine, cheaper for all of us, no tax, no social charges; easy come, very much easy go. But what are the consequences of being caught…
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