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Old Sep 20th 2017, 1:16 pm   #1
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Default Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

Hi All,

New to the forum!

Myself and my Wife are considering a temporary move to either Bordeaux or maybe Arcachon in May 2018 for 3-4 months - this is essentially a 'try out' to see if we have what it takes to live abroad permanently either in France or elsewhere. We rent in the UK so the idea is that we will do the same in France....

So a few initial questions which I'd be grateful for any comments on, this really is early days so apologies in advance if any comments seem a bit naive - that's why I'm here!

1. My Wife has her own small company with UK employees so would intend to work mainly from France with infrequent visits to the UK as and when required. I am a Senior IT Manager for a Telco' and have two options:
a) Work from France and commute to the UK weekly for 2/3 nights - does anyone have experience or suggestions for the commute. I already commute 3hrs per day so translating this into 2 x longer commutes isn't a massive problem as I'd rent a flat much nearer my office. Bordeaux airport seems to have plenty of flight options to London and at a reasonable cost if booked in advance, there is also the option of the train on the odd occasion.
b) Take a sabbatical and find employment in France - the initial 'issue' is that my French skills currently don't stretch beyond ordering a few large beers, obviously something I aim to change but initially nothing beyond conversational and certainly not working level. Are there any/many English speaking roles ion the area - I would be happy to treat it as a work break and do anything from building labourer right up to something similar to my current position.

Positive comments appreciated, there are lot's more queries but the above are a few of the more fundamental issues!

Thanks
N
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 2:35 pm   #2
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodles1976 View Post
Hi All,

New to the forum!

Myself and my Wife are considering a temporary move to either Bordeaux or maybe Arcachon in May 2018 for 3-4 months - this is essentially a 'try out' to see if we have what it takes to live abroad permanently either in France or elsewhere. We rent in the UK so the idea is that we will do the same in France....

So a few initial questions which I'd be grateful for any comments on, this really is early days so apologies in advance if any comments seem a bit naive - that's why I'm here!

1. My Wife has her own small company with UK employees so would intend to work mainly from France with infrequent visits to the UK as and when required. I am a Senior IT Manager for a Telco' and have two options:
a) Work from France and commute to the UK weekly for 2/3 nights - does anyone have experience or suggestions for the commute. I already commute 3hrs per day so translating this into 2 x longer commutes isn't a massive problem as I'd rent a flat much nearer my office. Bordeaux airport seems to have plenty of flight options to London and at a reasonable cost if booked in advance, there is also the option of the train on the odd occasion.
b) Take a sabbatical and find employment in France - the initial 'issue' is that my French skills currently don't stretch beyond ordering a few large beers, obviously something I aim to change but initially nothing beyond conversational and certainly not working level. Are there any/many English speaking roles ion the area - I would be happy to treat it as a work break and do anything from building labourer right up to something similar to my current position.

Positive comments appreciated, there are lot's more queries but the above are a few of the more fundamental issues!

Thanks
N
Hi Welcome to the forum.
Really sorry but my initial comments are not positive.
France isn't a great choice for what you are suggesting because of the anti-business laws regarding working.
If you are living in France then you would be considered to be tax-resident from day 1 and if you work - even on the internet or telephone then you would have to set up some form of business structure.
However, it is not all bad news.
If you rent your accommodation say for 3 months and just go for extended weekends or even the odd week or even a month at a time then you may achieve what you suggest.
If you upset the neighbours and they know that you are working then they may denounce you to the Fisc (french HMRC). It happens.
You need to discuss your options with an accountant who knows both the UK and French systems.
I am not sure but I think that if you intend to operate a business in rented accommodation then you need to notify the landlord. Someone may confirm or otherwise.
I would suggest Bordeaux would be better.
1. Better communications - road; rail and air.
2. Better internet connections. Rural France is not great for broadband.
3. Better opportunities for work.
You can achieve what you are planning but need professional advice.
This forum is a good source of info but in your case you need to ask a professional.

Good luck
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 3:11 pm   #3
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

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Originally Posted by cyrian View Post
Hi Welcome to the forum.
Really sorry but my initial comments are not positive.
France isn't a great choice for what you are suggesting because of the anti-business laws regarding working.
If you are living in France then you would be considered to be tax-resident from day 1 and if you work - even on the internet or telephone then you would have to set up some form of business structure.
However, it is not all bad news.
If you rent your accommodation say for 3 months and just go for extended weekends or even the odd week or even a month at a time then you may achieve what you suggest.
If you upset the neighbours and they know that you are working then they may denounce you to the Fisc (french HMRC). It happens.
You need to discuss your options with an accountant who knows both the UK and French systems.
I am not sure but I think that if you intend to operate a business in rented accommodation then you need to notify the landlord. Someone may confirm or otherwise.
I would suggest Bordeaux would be better.
1. Better communications - road; rail and air.
2. Better internet connections. Rural France is not great for broadband.
3. Better opportunities for work.
You can achieve what you are planning but need professional advice.
This forum is a good source of info but in your case you need to ask a professional.

Good luck
+1 You need professional advice.
I can confirm that you need the landlord's written permission to use a residential rental for professional purposes.
Even a house-owner can't escape the Bureaucracy. The Fisc regularly sent me stacks of forms to fill in when my home was also my company's address...
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 4:08 pm   #4
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

Hi Both - thanks for the responses. I assume from what you've said this still applies if we're working for UK registered companies - effectively working from home....in France....?

Does anyone have any references for a professional who might be able to provide such advice for us?

Thanks again, this is exactly why I'm looking to the forum for help

N
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 4:12 pm   #5
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

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Originally Posted by Noodles1976 View Post
Hi Both - thanks for the responses. I assume from what you've said this still applies if we're working for UK registered companies - effectively working from home....in France....? ....
You are taxed where you are located while doing the work, not based on where your employer is located.
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 4:28 pm   #6
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

But am I deemed a resident in France if we are only there for 3-4 months. I thought 183 days was a criteria or substantially resident in France for the most part of a given year?
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 4:44 pm   #7
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodles1976 View Post
Hi Both - thanks for the responses. I assume from what you've said this still applies if we're working for UK registered companies - effectively working from home....in France....?

Does anyone have any references for a professional who might be able to provide such advice for us?

Thanks again, this is exactly why I'm looking to the forum for help

N
If you physically work in France, you must set up a French business structure in order to be legal.
Some one more in the know will come along to explain the possibility for a UK company to send an employee to another country, but I believe it's complicated (and expensive) for the employer.
Can't help on the professional front, but Les Pages Jaunes will give you a list if you enter "Expert-Comptable" and the town you choose to live in. These professionals advise on all legal/fiscal/administrative issues for the various business structures, and will do (or audit) your accounts.
It may in fact be a good idea to take an extended holiday in France, to give you an idea of life here (provided you don't "work" for the company during that time (apparently even by telephone!))
Good luck with your decision!
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Old Sep 20th 2017, 9:32 pm   #8
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

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Originally Posted by Noodles1976 View Post
But am I deemed a resident in France if we are only there for 3-4 months. I thought 183 days was a criteria or substantially resident in France for the most part of a given year?
The 183 days is only one test for residency.
You could be considered resident by one of the other tests even if you are in France only at weekends.
You are doing the right thing to address these questions well in advance.
Some prospective residents try to apply UK rules or make up their own rules.
This is France and France makes the rules.
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Old Sep 22nd 2017, 10:38 pm   #9
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

I tried to get Loic CFA to start contributing on the forum but I think he gave up since he fell foul of the rules. Shame, he would have been just the person to advise the OP here.

Your wife is a company director of a UK company, I take it? She should be taking professional advice on all this. I know someone in Toulouse who could advise her. Please pm me if you want this contact.

Tax and residency rules...
"Hence, the second myth of the perceived ‘183 day rule’ is also dispelled.

When anyone has interests in various countries, it is often found that they satisfy the internal criteria for residence of more than one country. Understandably, this can be confusing. In France, you only have to satisfy one of the following four conditions and you will be resident in France:

(1) France is your ‘home’: If you have property in France and another country, but the latter is not available for your personal use (for example, because it is rented to tenants), then France is your home.

(2) France is your ‘centre of economic interest’: Generally, this means where your income is paid from. In addition to pension, salaries, etc., this can include bank interest and other investment income.

(3) France is your place of ‘habitual abode’: Notably, no reference is made in the law to the number of days that you actually spend in France and this is where many people are caught out, believing that if they do not spend at least 183 days in France, then they can decide that they are not resident. This is not the case and your place of ‘habitual abode’ is, quite simply, where you spend most time.

(4) Nationality: If your residency has not been established by any of the above points, then it will be your nationality that determines your residence, however, this is very rare."

this was taken from French Residency - Dispelling the Myths | The Spectrum IFA Group Daphne was someone I knew when I lived in Toulouse. She knows her stuff but you need an expert comptable with international experience.

And honestly, you really must have good french if you hope to find a job in France. Even in tech.
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Old Sep 23rd 2017, 11:55 am   #10
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

Or you could just take the pragmatic option of calling it an extended holiday, and we all know that professionals do get called to sort things out at work during their holidays If it is just for a few months then you will be back home before any of the administrative effort is put in place, such is the slow pace things like that operates at here. Then if you want to do it more long term it gives you a taste of what options are open to you.

The issue will be finding somewhere to live, and you could look at an extended holiday let. I had a colleague from the UK spend a few months last summer working out of our French office, and he basically booked into holiday lets with his family a week or two at a time - this gave him a chance to move around and see the region while staying close enough to the office for the commute. It was quite expensive compared with normal monthly rental but he was happy with it. It would be cheaper in the winter months, we have site based teams who do this all the time if they are in a new region for a few months, but probably less interesting for you I guess.

There are plenty of people who commute to the UK weekly for work - I see the same faces on many of the flights I take, often single English speaking men who are clearly not coming/going on holiday on Monday morning or Friday evening. I'm sure they are all formally resident in France, but it would be rude to ask too much about their private affairs..
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Old Sep 23rd 2017, 12:00 pm   #11
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

Forgot to mention healthcare (surprised no one else has yet). If you are generally healthy and don't need regular prescriptions then I would think a EHIC would cover you for emergencies while on an extended holiday anywhere in Europe. A trip to the doctor is only 25€ anyway if you really need to go in a hurry.
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Old Sep 23rd 2017, 12:53 pm   #12
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

so there you have it OP.
The legal way and the not legal way to do things.

Hands up anyone who knows that french neighbours will denounce you to the fisc if they suspect illegal work activity? They have to pay all their taxes after all.
Hands up anyone who knows of someone who got fined heavily by the secu for illegal working?
Hands up anyone who knows of someone who had a very nasty hospital because they didn't think they needed proper health insurance?

Hands up anyone who knows people that have done cross border working legally for years and years quite happily and figuring it all out wasn't that difficult?
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Old Sep 23rd 2017, 3:45 pm   #13
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

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Or you could just take the pragmatic option of calling it an extended holiday, and we all know that professionals do get called to sort things out at work during their holidays If it is just for a few months then you will be back home before any of the administrative effort is put in place, such is the slow pace things like that operates at here. Then if you want to do it more long term it gives you a taste of what options are open to you.

The issue will be finding somewhere to live, and you could look at an extended holiday let. I had a colleague from the UK spend a few months last summer working out of our French office, and he basically booked into holiday lets with his family a week or two at a time - this gave him a chance to move around and see the region while staying close enough to the office for the commute. It was quite expensive compared with normal monthly rental but he was happy with it. It would be cheaper in the winter months, we have site based teams who do this all the time if they are in a new region for a few months, but probably less interesting for you I guess.

There are plenty of people who commute to the UK weekly for work - I see the same faces on many of the flights I take, often single English speaking men who are clearly not coming/going on holiday on Monday morning or Friday evening. I'm sure they are all formally resident in France, but it would be rude to ask too much about their private affairs..
Which is what I suggested in post #2
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Old Sep 23rd 2017, 4:02 pm   #14
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Default Re: Potential Bordeaux move in 2018

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Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
so there you have it OP.
The legal way and the not legal way to do things.

Hands up anyone who knows that french neighbours will denounce you to the fisc if they suspect illegal work activity? They have to pay all their taxes after all.
Hands up anyone who knows of someone who got fined heavily by the secu for illegal working?
Hands up anyone who knows of someone who had a very nasty hospital because they didn't think they needed proper health insurance?

Hands up anyone who knows people that have done cross border working legally for years and years quite happily and figuring it all out wasn't that difficult?
I think you're taking a binary view here pf. I've spent my summers in France for 40 odd years while being employed in either the US, Canada or Germany. Almost without exception I've either taken work with me e.g. writing a paper for publication in a scientific journal, or more recently used the internet to interact with my research team or to review papers and research proposals etc.

No-one, unsurprisingly, has ever interpreted that as an illegal activity.
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Old Sep 23rd 2017, 4:19 pm   #15
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I think you're taking a binary view here pf. I've spent my summers in France for 40 odd years while being employed in either the US, Canada or Germany. Almost without exception I've either taken work with me e.g. writing a paper for publication in a scientific journal, or more recently used the internet to interact with my research team or to review papers and research proposals etc.

No-one, unsurprisingly, has ever interpreted that as an illegal activity.
Agreed, there is a very wide grey area, but maybe a fairly narrow dividing line between a "long holiday" and a "exploratory visit pending permanent relocation", so discussion and presentation of your intentions can be critical to avoid issues if you are "denounced". In other words, don't tell people you meet, whether locals or expats, that you are looking to stay, just "enjoying a longer break from the UK".

In short, think things through and get your ducks in a row.
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