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Steve Ellis

When I first moved to France I must admit to have been totally put off by the mountains of paperwork and beurocracy that surrounded registering even a small, home business (I offer freelance web design, consultation and development services). Luckily we had come over with a substantial amount of savings that kept us going while we decided what the heck to do ie stay or go back to the UK (something we were less than keen to do, more-so now - what is going on there?)

After talking with several "experts" both English and French I was getting nowhere, fast. Going round in circles whilst systematically running out of money was not doing our 'new life' dreams a lot of good.

I registered under the Auto Entrepreneur system last year (actually it might have been 2009... where does the time go?) and have found it to be not only simple to get the ball rolling but quite effective with all the follow up bits and bobs.

The initial (online) application went smoothly, a series of forms arrived over the following few days and finally my SIRET etc details arrived.

I get a form every three months to fill in declaring my income for the previous quarter and just send it off with a cheque... Job Done! There is a new online option available now but I'm hanging fire for now (these things tend to start off a little 'buggy') and they iron out the dead links and get rid of flash elements that don't load properly.

After my first payment went through my carte vitale along with a separate one for my wife turned up.

I have not had to spend countless hours visiting various offices and being passed around from pillar to post.

At 23% the cotisations and no option to claim expenses (low in my case anyway) might not be a solution for everyone but it suits me fine.

PS Read ALL the small print when applying - I might have been lucky or my French may be better than I give myself credit for but I ended up with no tax to pay for the first three years :O) others haven't had that luxury... read it all, carefully.

Sue Davage

Steve Ellis said that as an auto-entrepreneur, he hasn't had to pay tax for the first three years. How come when the regime has only been in existence for less than 3 years and you have to pay tax and cotisations on all turnover, not profit? Am I missing something?

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