Contracting in France

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You might also find our other country guides to working abroad as a contractor useful too:

If you would like to discuss contracting, working abroad or have questions about tax please contact our international contracting partner Generate directly on 0203 488 3061 and reference SJDGEN or email

Registration of EU citizens working in France

The following rules affecting the registration (enregistrement des citoyens européens) of newly arrived EU citizens in France is being introduced; it is already in effect in some departments. You are urged to consult the Town Hall or Mairie in your place of residence to find out if this is required.

If registration is required:

  • Report to the Mairie of the commune of residence (take proof of ID and address) within three months of arrival in France.
  • The visit is recorded and a “receipt” (attestation d’enregistrement) is issued immediately

The receipt issued by the Mairie serves as a record of residence. A failure to register means they will be deemed to have resided in France for less than three months. Registration is to become obligatory and when it does, foreigners not registering with their Town Hall (Mairie) may be fined.

You are not otherwise likely to require a work or residency permit in France if you are a citizen or a full member of one of the EU, EFTA, EEA countries or if you come from Lichtenstein or Norway.

France is a signatory of The Schengen Treaty. The 15 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. As a citizen of an EU, EFTA, EEA country you will effectively have a Schengen visa and may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone.

Those from ‘new’ EU countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) remain restricted and should seek further advice as it is likely that a work permit WILL be required in certain cases.

Those citizens of non-EU EEA countries will need both a work and residency permit.

Those from Switzerland (nationals) must also apply for a quick work permit under special procedures.  Swiss citizens need to apply using the regular visa application process.


Income Tax rates for 2011 are:

Euros earned Personal Tax Payable
5,964 – 11,896 5.50%
11,897 – 26,420 14.00%
26,421 – 70,830 30.00%
Over 70,830 40.00%

Your marital status and number of children may change this in your own case.

In addition to income tax, homeowners or residents may also be subject to dwelling or property tax and wealth tax.

There are certain deductions which are permissible.

Individuals will be regarded as a tax resident if they have their own home which is their principal abode in France, also if they are working as an employed person or independently in France. They will also be regarded as a tax a resident if their centre of economic interest is in France.

Health Considerations in France

European Council Regulation 1408/71 underpins the right of EU Nationals to work in another EU State in keeping with the principles of the free movement of labour enshrined in The Treaty of Rome and subsequent treaties.

The free movement of labour can only be realistic if social benefits can also be transferred, including health insurance coverage.

Forms have used that act as a certificate of entitlement to health care in another EEA country.

As of May 2010, the ‘E’ Forms have been replaced by ‘A’ and ‘S’ Forms with the number of forms is being reduced. The forms mean that you will not need to pay French health insurance service E106/S1 contributions for the duration covered on the form.

E101/A1 can be obtained and renewed once issued. They are for those people whose work is regarded as temporary. If you and your family are moving to France and one of you temporarily commutes back across the French border to the UK to work, then an E106/A1 is normally available for health cover in France for one year and then is renewable.

These can be obtained for those who live in one country and wish to work in another to obtain health cover where their family lives (France). It is important for contractors to remember that only approximately 70% of costs are covered in this way.

Other useful Information about France

  • Current population as of 2011 is 60.5 million.
  • International dialling code: 33
  • Only 2% of French workers work in Agriculture with the vast majority (74%) working in services.
  • The industries only employ less than a quarter of the working population.
  • The Employment Law or Code du Travail is the primary basis for labour laws. Associated collective and works agreements or reglement interieur dictate worker’s rights. Most employment contracts are an open term (contrats a duree indeterminee) and a major legal distinction exists between ‘cadres’ (top managers) and ‘employes’ (lower grade staff).
  • The standard working week is 35 hours in all types of companies.
  • Interestingly all bank holidays in France are only paid days if they fall on a working weekday. The exception is May Day.

About International Contracting

SJD has partnered with Generate, an international contractor payroll solutions company who have the skills and experience to support contractors working abroad ensuring they operate in a compliant and tax efficient way.

Contracting abroad can bring many rewards but it also carries extra responsibilities and challenges with regards to tax and in-country compliance. Few companies offer support to British and non-British contractors working overseas. However, International Umbrella has the skills and experience to support contractors working abroad ensuring they operate in a compliant and tax efficient way.

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