Written by Aurélie Hermon. Translated from French.
Becoming a freelancer means being able to work in pijamas or in a café, not having to bear the absurd orders of a boss and not having to get up at 7am on Monday. But before enjoying your new life as a freelancer, you will have to register to invoice legally. And, no, it's not that complicated. We explain the steps to register under the French law for a number of different statues, including the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. Just follow these steps and you'll be running in no time!
1. The simplest options to become a freelancer in France: the status of "autoentrepreneur" (self-employment or micro-enterprise scheme) and individual company (EI)
Autoentrepreneur, micro-enterprise, individual company... With all these similar names, it's easy to get yourself in a tizzy.
Here, we will talk about the two simplest statuses to create and manage in order to work as a freelancer in France: the self-enterprise (or micro-enterprise) and the individual company.
Micro-Entrepreneur: the simplest option to start freelancing
First, here is a good time to explain the difference between autoentrepreneur and micro-entrepreneur: there is none. Indeed, in 2015, the social status of autoentrepreneur changes its name and became micro-entrepreneur. But the name of autoentrepreneur is still used frequently, so you can hear both.
In fact, a micro-entrepreneur (= self-entrepreneur) is someone who has created an individual company (EI) and has opted for the micro-enterprise tax system.
How to create a self-employed company (how to become a micro-entrepreneur) to be a freelancer?
It's very simple: just declare your activity on the official portal of the micro-entrepreneur, or the business counter, or if you prefer the offline option, by going directly to a Centre de Formalité des Entreprises (CFE) ("Business Formality Center").
The form will ask you in particular:
- The type of activity (artisanal, commercial, service)
- If you wish to opt for the payment of the tax in full discharge. This is an option that allows you to benefit from a reduced and simplified tax rate: you pay all your taxes and contributions once a month or once a quarter, and these are calculated according to your turnover. It is therefore an advantageous option in most cases because it allows you to pay nothing if you have not earnt anything. There is more information on the payment in full discharge on the website of the Union des autoentrepreneurs.
- If you want to apply for the ACCRE: it is an assistance offered to all people under 27 years (also accessible to unemployed and people in recovery), which allows you to pay lower expenses during the first three years of your activity. Do not forget to check the box and fill out the corresponding form (you can download it by completing the statement or ask the CFE).
All you need to do is attach a few supporting documents (scanned ID or photo taken with your smartphone, ACCRE form) to your file, send it and wait for to be awarded your SIRET number by mail: and here you are, you are a freelancer!
Good to know: you can start billing as soon as you submit the form! Then just mention "SIRET being awarded" on your invoices and quotes. Even if you have not yet received the letter, your SIRET may already be assigned: to find out, visit the Infogreffe website and type your name in the search bar.
Advantages and disadvantages of micro-entrepreneurship
The main advantage is simplicity: easy to create, but also easy to manage. Indeed, you will not have VAT to pay, very few charges, and there is not much to do at the accounting level:
- Create a bank account dedicated to your activity. This can be a personal account, no need to open a professional account.
- Keep a book (or an Excel file) of receipts-expenses, where you will note all your receipts.
It is also a status that is open to all (or almost all): for example, you can become a freelance micro-entrepreneur even if you are already an employee.
There are some disadvantages:
- An annual revenue cap is set: in 2017, 2018 and 2019, it is €33.100 per year for services activities. If you earn more, you will be forced to leave the micro-entrepreneur scheme.
- As you do not pay VAT, you cannot recover it.
- Micro-entrepreneur status is not advised if you have a lot of expenses to pay (for example, a lot of equipment to buy).
In summary: it is THE status that we advise you to start freelancing in France. It is very easy to create and requires little management time and fees.
EI and EIRL without micro-social scheme: for advanced freelancers
The individual company ('entreprise individuelle' - EI)
The second rather simple option to become a freelancer in France is to create an individual company, but outside the micro-social regime (that of self-employment).
The business remains easy to create (online or at a CFE counter) and the creation is always free if your activity is service-based.
The main advantage over the micro-entrepreneur regime is the absence of a revenue cap and the possibility of recovering VAT (it must also be paid).
On the other hand, the management is slightly more complicated than for a micro-enterprise:
- You will have to manage real accounts: annual accounts, accounting books ...
- Contributions are to be paid in advance, then they are regularised according to your actual revenue
The limited liability individual company ('entreprise individuelle à responsabilité limitée' - EIRL)
Limited liability is an option that you can also claim as an entrepreneur. It allows you to:
- Limit your liability to the affected assets (which must be declared), and not on all of your assets, as in the case of the EI.
- Choose to pay taxes on your corporate revenues (not on your personal income): you will then be able to pay yourself an income and dividends.
In summary: this is an interesting status if you want to avoid having a revenue cap. In return, you will have to pay more charges (including VAT), and management is a little more complex.
2 - More complex options to become a freelancer in France: single-member companies (EURL, SASU)
The following options are more suitable if your freelance activity starts off strongly (for example, if you signed a big contract) or when your business changes. In fact, single-member companies are real companies, and the formalities that go with them are quite complex.
Creating an EURL or a SASU
This time, it's more complex: to become freelancer as a EURL or SASU, we advise you to seek assistance from a chartered accountant. You will have to write articles of incorporation, fill out forms for the creation of a company, publish a notice in the legal notices journal and fill out a file at the CFE. Also, you will have regular and high expenses to pay even if you do not earn anything: this is not the best option for freelancers who are just starting out!
Similarities and differences between the two statuses
SASU and EURL are the two statuses that exist in France to create a single-member company: they are therefore suitable to those who create a company alone.
The main difference between them is the affiliation status: if you create a SASU, you must be affiliated with the salaried employees scheme (Social Security), unlike the EURL, where you will be affiliated with the non-salary workers scheme (and therefore at the RSI).
Also, EURL is automatically subject to income tax (IR), while the SASU is subject to corporation tax (IS). However, it is possible to opt for IR in SASU, or IS in EURL.
The advantages and disadvantages of each status
EURL allows for simpler management, and a higher remuneration because you will have less expenses to pay. But social protection is slightly worse.
SASU allows you to benefit from better social protection, but the management is more complicated, and you will have more expenses to pay.
Becoming freelancer to work on your own in France is very simple: just declare a micro-entrepreneur activity (autoentrepreneur). This is the best option when you start because it is very inexpensive, and it is easy to manage.
Once your freelance activity grows, or if you think you will exceed the revenue cap in the first year, inquire about the status of Entreprise Individuelle: it allows, like the microenterprise, to pay charges only in relation to what you earn.
The option of a single-member company (SASU, EURL) should be considered if you want to lanch a more complex project and if you plan to have associates such as partners, freelancers or other companies
Moving to France and still need to sort your new home? Spotahome can help!
Haven't decided where to move next? Check out these how to set up as a freelancer around Europe:
- How to Become a Freelancer in Spain: Going Autónomo for Dummies
- How to Become a Freelancer in Germany
- Be your own boss and live la bella vita in Italy
- The ultimate guide to freelancing in the UK
- Moving to France Guide: Useful Tips and Tricks
What is the easiest way of freelancing? ›
Data entry gigs, transcription jobs, translation jobs are all easy gigs you can do as a freelancer. But, keep in mind that “easy come, easy go”. Those easy jobs won't last long. If you want to build a career as a freelancer, you'll need to work hard at improving your skills.How can I start freelance with no skills? ›
- Choose What Type Of Freelancer You Want To Be. 00:55.
- Freelance Jobs That Require No Skills Video. ...
- Create a Video with Free Voiceover for Your Fiverr Gig. ...
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- Create Gig Photos On Canva Video Tutorial. ...
- Make Your First Gig On Fiverr.
- Don't quit your day job (yet) ...
- Start freelancing work with an open mind. ...
- Start looking for clients by using freelance platforms. ...
- Build confidence with potential freelance clients by creating a portfolio. ...
- No work to show? ...
- Find the right prices for your freelance services.
- Low code development.
- Voice user interface design.
- Digital currency development.
- Video production.
- Voice-over acting.
- Content writing.
- Web design and development.
They include communication skills, working with and relating to others, problem-solving, applying initiative and IT skills. Having a good sense of humour and being a great person to work with goes a long way too. Your other skills are all the other skills, knowledge and hobbies you have.How much a beginner freelancer earn? ›
Average starting Salary for Freelancer in India is around ₹1.8 Lakhs per year (₹15.0k per month). 1 year of minimum experience is required to be a Freelancer. What is the highest salary for a Freelancer in India? Highest salary that a Freelancer can earn is ₹11.0 Lakhs per year (₹91.7k per month).Is freelancing difficult? ›
Freelancing is not a ticket to an easy life. It comes with perks, but it also has pitfalls. Some people can handle these well while some can not. How hard freelancing is for you may depend on your personality, working style, and how well you tolerate uncertainty.How do I become a freelancer in 30 days? ›
- Create a portfolio showcasing key skills.
- Bid on projects without charging a fraction of what you're worth.
- Build a platform for your business and generate new contacts organically.
- Evaluate passive income opportunities you can invest in with your freelance income.
- Decide your niche. ...
- Start building your professional profile. ...
- Find your target clients. ...
- Decide your pricing structure. ...
- Create your website. ...
- Start actively marketing your services. ...
- Build a client base. ...
- Keep track of your finances.
Where can I learn freelancing for free? ›
- The Crafty Writer.
- Writing for the Web.
- Writing What You Know.
- Writing About Race.
- English Writing Skills.
- Introduction to Time Management.
- Money Essentials.
Freelancing can be a great career, since it allows you to work from anywhere, at any time, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection. There are a few different benefits to freelancing, but the most important is the freedom of working whenever and however much you want.Which app is used for freelancing? ›
Upwork is by far one of the largest freelancing platforms. This site posts over three million jobs each year, which makes it great for entrepreneurs who are just getting started in the freelance world.How many hours do freelancers work? ›
Freelancers also work long hours – 40+ hour working week. For freelancers, time is money. The cliché of lounging around in your pajamas while only doing a couple of hours of work a day couldn't be farther from the truth.Is freelancing good money? ›
Upwork's past industry research has shown that 60% of freelancers who left a full-time job to become freelancers make more money than they did in their previous jobs.Is freelance a job? ›
Freelancers are considered self-employed and can work for different companies independently. Some companies track their freelancers using freelance time tracking and invoicing tools like Workstatus for accurate billing and time management.What are problems faced while freelancing? ›
One of the biggest freelancer concerns is maintaining a continuous flow of work. When you go freelance, it's completely up to you to find projects and book clients. Sometimes you put in a ton of work only to have a client disappear without an email or phone call.Is freelancing a full-time job? ›
Full-time employees have the security of an employment contract, a predictable working schedule, and a predictable income, that helps them to plan for the future by budgeting. Freelancers will not get paid for a single day that they don't work and often there will be no guarantee of next week's or next day's work.Why are people afraid of freelancing? ›
It's not fun. And, a lot of people never start freelancing because they're afraid they'll one day face a demanding client who just can't be pleased. OR, they're worried they'll have to keep hounding someone down to get paid. Whatever the scenario it all centers on conflict.Do freelancers get paid monthly? ›
Each project and client will have a slightly different type of agreement. Sometimes you'll bill a client monthly for a set amount of work, or perhaps weekly. But for others it will happen as you complete each project or piece of work, which can make predicting cash flow tricky.
Do freelancers pay taxes in France? ›
Freelance workers in France typically have to pay tax on their earnings and make social security contributions. There is a range of structures available to self-employed workers and business owners in France. The type of business you operate will dictate the taxes you'll need to pay on your income.How much tax do freelancers pay in France? ›
12.8% of revenue for sales and related activities. 22% of revenue for trade, commercial, and professional services.Does France have a freelance visa? ›
The long-term stay visa allows applicants to reside in France for up to one year. This visa enables you to engage in professional activity in France as a self-employed or freelancer. There are different technicalities to this visa, and the application process can be long and confusing if you don't know all the details.Is there a freelance visa in France? ›
The Profession Liberale visa allows freelance work in France. You won't need to find an employer to sponsor your self-employment visa. You will even have access to a multiple-year permit!Do freelancers need a VAT number? ›
Self-employed people, including freelancers, are subject to the same rules as any business when it comes to being VAT registered. If you meet certain criteria, you're required to register and begin charging VAT. You may also benefit from registering even before you're technically required to.How many freelancers are there in France? ›
It displays that the number of self-employed French persons has increased steadily since 2008. In 2018, the number of self-employed persons reached more than three million, compared to 2.5 million in 2008.Can I work in France as self-employed? ›
To come to France as a self-employed worker, you must either obtain a multiyear “entrepreneur/liberal profession” residence permit card, a multiyear “passport talent” residence permit with the mention “business founder”, or a multiyear “passport talent” residence permit with the mention “innovative project recognised ...Do foreigners pay tax in France? ›
Unlike residents, non-residents in France are only taxed on their French-sourced income. Non-resident taxes are typically collected by withholding at the source. These withholding taxes are applied at progressive rates of 0%, 12%, and 20%, depending on the total amount of taxable income.What is CFE in France? ›
The CFE (Caisse des Français de l'Etranger) is a social security fund created in 1978 specifically for French expatriates. It enables French expats to continue to benefit from the same social security protection as while in France.Is France a tax free country? ›
Individuals who are resident in France are taxed on their worldwide assets and individuals who are resident outside France under French law are taxed on their assets in France.
Can I work in France without papers? ›
Recruitment of a foreign employee not in possession of a visa or residence permit authorizing paid employment requires a specific work permit. It is up to the employer, whether based in France or abroad, to submit the application for a work permit.Can I work in France without documents? ›
Whatever the length of your stay for business purposes, you must typically obtain a work permit before you can take up paid employment in France. Citizens of a European Union or European Economic Area Member State or Switzerland can work in France without a work permit. Please have a look at our dedicated fact sheet.Can I work for free in France? ›
Volunteer in France for FREE: Work in exchange for free room and board. Volunteer jobs in France can include backpacker hostel work, educational projects, Eco projects, animal care, spreading environmental awareness, teaching English, organic farm helping or volunteering with a benevolent cause. How HelpStay works?Can I work in France without ielts? ›
Ans: France is on the list to study without IELTS. France is known for its academic excellence, without IELTS, international students can prove their English language skills via interviews and other accepted English language proficiency tests.What is the easiest visa to get for France? ›
A France Schengen visa is issued to foreigners that wish to visit France, the French territories or another Schengen area country for less than 90 days within a 6-month period.How much is freelance visa? ›
The total Freelance visa cost in Dubai ranges between AED 10,000 and AED 25,000 and relies on elements such as: Whether you require a one or three year permit; You require an operational visa to work as a sole practitioner or a UAE residency visa.