Challenge & Co provide a service for English speaking contractors and freelancers resident in France. Very similar to the service provided by ‘Umbrella Companies’ in the UK, but fully compliant with French law and based in France. In France, an Umbrella Company is referred to as a Portage Salarial.
The service we provide involves employing workers directly for the duration of their assignments – allowing contractors and freelancers to work legally and compliantly in France with ‘employee status’ rather than having to register as a business themselves. In our role as employer, we take on the burden of legal and administrative tasks such as employment declaration, insurance, invoicing of clients, deduction of expenses, calculation and payment of monthly social charges and payment of your wage after deductions,.leaving you free to concentrate on your assignments!
English speaking contractors all over France are currently working on their contracts under our umbrella. Request a brochure HERE to find out how our services can work for you..
English speaking contractors and Freelancers all over France are already working under our umbrella. Find out if you could benefit from our services by reading through our FAQ’s.
Once you have been offered a suitable assignment by a client or agency you can register to work through Challenge & Co provided:
- your activity is suitable (we cover most types of intellectual services such as IT and Engineering)
- you have an address in France
- you have EU citizenship or a visa entitling you to work in France.
We cover most types of intellectual services. Typical assignments include IT and Engineering, however we provide services for a wide range of professionals from journalists to designers.
The minimum invoice level we can accept is 2500 Euros per month. If your invoice level is below this amount then you can investigate registering as an Auto-Entrepreneur. The shortest assignment we can accept is 1 month for your first assignment.
We appreciate that contract work can be sporadic in nature and once you register with us, it is not necessary to work every month – you can simply stop and start our services by sending us an email if you are offered a new supply of work and it is not necessary to go through the entire registration process for each new contract.
Once you have an offer of an assignment from your client or recruitment agency we send you a simple enrollment form to complete. The enrollment form can be returned to us together with a copy of your passport or work visa and proof of offer of assignment. Proof of offer of assignment can be a purchase order from your client or a simple service agreement (we can supply this) within which your client can confirm the nature of the work, the agreed rate and the expected duration of the project.
Once we have everything we need we can generally declare your employment with us within 3 working days and at this point you gain employee status and are able to work legally on your project!
Once employment declaration has been made you will be given an ID and password and can login to our site to let us know when to invoice your client, clients details, the amount you’d like us to invoice and in which currency etc. You can also login to track payments and wages. Once your invoice is approved we then create this and forward it to you client for payment.
Once your client has settled the invoice we then deduct social charges and pay these to the appropriate French authorities, our management fee is deducted and we make any adjustments for allowable your expenses before paying the remainder to you as your monthly wage directly into your bank account. We forward you your pay slip by post or email.
Yes. You can claim allowable expenses associated with your work. Allowable expenses might include travel for business trips, a percentage of your internet subscription, or home office.
Claiming expenses means that social charges are not payable on a percentage of your invoice equal to those expenses, so it’s important to claim them and to keep receipts! In order to claim expenses simply complete the expense sheet we provide you with and return it to us by email each month.
Once we declare your employment your legal status would be employee.
You should have an offer of work prior to our declaring your employment and this needs to be confirmed by either a purchase order or a service agreement signed by your client to indicate the rate and duration of the project – this is because we have a legal responsibility to ensure that contracts of employment are issued only to those people who are engaged in an assignment.
However, if your client wishes to check that you will be working through a legal structure in France prior to offering the role we are happy to explain our service to them. We also have information on this website for agencies and clients.
Unfortunately we cannot assist with visa applications or give advice on these.
Working through Challege & Co means you have employee status. As with any role of employment in France this means that as your employer we deduct your monthly social charges and pay these to the appropriate agencies before calculating your net monthly wage, paying it into your bank account and issuing you with your payslip.
It is important to remember that there is no exact equivalent of PAYE in France at present and although employers are responsible for paying both employers and employees monthly social charges these do not include tax – every employee in France is responsible for declaring their own income tax ( impôt sur le revenu) each year for the previous years earnings. However tax declarations for employed persons are much more simple than those for self-employed workers.
For your first year in France you may need to insert your earnings from employment in the correct box on your tax form – we will supply this information to you or it is available from your December payslip. After your first annual tax declaration your earnings from employment should appear pre-printed in your tax form as as your employer we forward this information directly to the French tax office.
Clients and agencies usually prefer to work with freelancers and contractors channeling their assignments through a portage because they can be assured that workers are operating through a legal structure, have the appropriate insurance, paying the correct social charges etc.
If a client or agency engages a worker that is not fully registered in France and paying the correct social charges then this can result in charges and fines not only for the worker but also the agency or client who may be ordered to pay backdated employers social charges as if they had employed the worker directly.
Aside from requiring a purchase order or signed service agreement from your client at the start of your project, they have no other administrative tasks apart from invoice payment and employer liability rests with us. Invoices can be sent by post or email to the billing contact you indicate when you request that we issue an invoice.
Payment is usually made by direct bank transfer, however we can also accept cheques.
The minimum monthly invoice amount we accept is 2500 Euros and the social charges paid in accordance with this invoice / wage level entitle you to health cover through CPAM who will issue you with a carte vitale (health card).
In order to apply for a carte vitale you will need to contact your local CPAM office to complete a form which advises them of your employment with us. We provide a template of the form which you can complete on-screen and print off and instructions explaining how to do so.
The form can be posted to your local CPAM office – you will also need to enclose a copy of your employment contract with us and your first payslip.
Signing up is simple. Firstly ensure that you meet the conditions for employment as detailed in the FAQ’s. You’ll need an address in France, an EU passport (or visa showing that you are entitled to work in France) and offer of an assignment from your recruitment agency or client and a bank account in France in order that we can pay you your wage.
Once these conditions have been met simply contact us for an enrollment form
If you are French resident but not directly employed by a company in France, any activity conducted for profit (even if clients are based overseas) will require a legal structure in France. Options are: registering as a French company / corporation or as an Individual Operator. Registering with a Portage avoids the need to set up any legal structure at all as it provides Employee status.
Setting up a company or corporation can involve a good deal of bureaucracy and as such many people wish to avoid taking this route. However if your turnover is less than 32,900 Euros (for providing services) setting up as an Auto-Entrepreneur or Individual Operator is less complex than forming a company and can be seen as an alternative to using a portage if you have low expenses and turnover below said level.
If your expenses are minimal, it may be worthwhile to consider the Auto-Entrepreneur route as you may benefit from slightly lower social charges, however, as mentioned, it is generally not possible to conduct work for only one client, so it may not be suitable option for those people working in contracting type roles or those who wish expenses to be taken into account (such workers may wish to opt for a portage or forming a company – both regimes allow expenses to be deducted before social charges are calculated).
To register as an auto-entrepreneur you can either: do so in person, at the relevant Centre de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE) or by completing the form Micro entrepreneur Déclaration de Début d ‘Activité and sending it to CFE or alternatively you can register online via http://www.lautoentrepreneur.fr/adherez.htm
Benefits of working through a Portage over Auto-Entrepreneur are: simplicity – a portage will take on all administrative tasks associated with your employment declaration, calculation of your expenses and payment of your monthly social charges as well as having employer insurance, etc., already in France and the assurance that you are compliant with French law. The employee status provided through a portage also has benefits such as retirement and unemployment benefit, etc. However, if your turnover is less than 32,900 Euros then Auto-Entrepreneur is well worth investigating.
Signing up is simple. Firstly, ensure that you meet the conditions for employment as detailed in the FAQ’s. You’ll need an address in France, an EU passport (or visa showing that you are entitled to work in France) and offer of an assignment from your recruitment agency or client and a bank account in France in order that we can pay you your wage. Once these conditions have been met, simply request a registration form HERE.
Please take a look through our FAQ’s to check whether you might be able to benefit from our portage services. If you have an offer of an assignment and would like to find out more, please give contact us.
Challenge & Co provide the ideal vehicle for allowing one to work in France without tangling with France’s bureaucracy. They are flexible in their approach, slick in operation, AND they’re nice people. R. J Akins (consultant)
I have found Challenge & Co to provide a service above and beyond the call of duty. Incredibly quick to respond the questions and I look forward to continuing to work with them. Kate Baker
When I moved my software development business to France Challenge & Co offered the quickest and simplest solution to getting back up and running with the minimal disruption to my existing clients. They keep my paperwork overheads to a bare minimum and allow me to concentrate on my business. I would recommend Challenge & Co to any freelancer looking for a trouble free approach to self-employment in France. R
I can’t recommend Challenge & Co highly enough. Not only did they provide the perfect solution for me, they also provided the perfect solution for my agency who were concerned about offering me contracts once I’d moved to France. That I had employee status with Challenge & Co reassured my agency completely and was a factor in my being offered the role. James
When I moved to France I was quite worried about inadvertently making mistakes with declaring my work and paying my social charges. The bureaucracy involved in forming a company (or shutting one down) seemed horrendous and although I had offers of freelance work I considered declining them to avoid the stress of self-employment, I am convinced that had I not found Challenge & Co I would have done so. I’m very grateful for the excellent service they’ve provided me with. Louise