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(French) freelancer - Paying taxes

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Active Member
Sarah G Member Since: Jan 12, 2016
1 of 27

Hi everyone,

 

I have a few questions about how to pay taxes as a (French) freelancer.

 

Since UpWork is not your client, when you're doing your tax declaration, should you declare the amount received plus UpWork fees and VAT? Or should just take into account the money that has actually landed on your account?

 

Sorry if my question has already been asked, I am a bit lost with the whole tax topic.

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Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
2 of 27

A lot depend on the legal status you're incorporated in. If you have incorporated as an "auto entrepreneur", you just claim your total income. Otherwise, you may want to check with your accountant who could definitely provide you with guidance.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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Sarah G Member Since: Jan 12, 2016
3 of 27

Thanks for your reply Rene.

 

I did incorporate as an auto entrepreneur. Then, if I understand correctly, I'll have to declare what I'd earn if VAT and service fees were not deducted, and NOT the amount that will actually be transfered on my account, right?

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Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
4 of 27

@sarah G wrote:

Thanks for your reply Rene.

 

I did incorporate as an auto entrepreneur. Then, if I understand correctly, I'll have to declare what I'd earn if VAT and service fees were not deducted, and NOT the amount that will actually be transfered on my account, right?


No, just forget the VAT, it doesn't matter at all in your case. You just claim the total amount of your earnings. By total amount I mean the amount in € that you received on your bank account. Every cent you earn on your bank account has to be reported and your taxes are calculated from this.

 

Your legal status implies that you don't charge the VAT but also that you don't deduct VAT from your tax claims. Pretty straightforward.

 

You may want to check this: La TVA sous le régime de l'auto-entreprise

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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Sarah G Member Since: Jan 12, 2016
5 of 27

Thanks for your quick reply Rene!

 

I was actually aware that as an autoentrepreneur I didn't charge the VAT. But I got pretty confused when I realized UpWork would charge me the VAT. I'm still not sure about this whole thing, but you answered my initial question.

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Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
6 of 27

Upwork will charge you with the VAT for all the services they provide to you. This is membership fees if you have a paid membership, and the fee they charge on every job.

 

At this point, this is not a problem. 

 

Now, some of your European clients may ask you for a VAT#. If you don't have one, you have to apply for one with your tax administration. It won't change anything for you but it is required when you work wit EU clients located outside of your state.

 

But in this case, since it is Upwork who makes and sends the invoices on your behalf to clients, the only way to have your VAT on the invoices is to add it to your profile on Upwork.

 

But then, Upwork stops charging you the VAT, which is OK for all legal forms but not for French "autoentrepreneurs", and for others in other states.

 

Then you're in trouble with the tax administration.

 

Good luck :-)

 

 

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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Sarah G Member Since: Jan 12, 2016
7 of 27

Thanks a lot Rene!

 

But I still can't fathom this part:

 

"But in this case, since it is Upwork who makes and sends the invoices on your behalf to clients, the only way to have your VAT on the invoices is to add it to your profile on Upwork.

 

But then, Upwork stops charging you the VAT, which is OK for all legal forms but not for French "autoentrepreneurs", and for others in other states.

 

Then you're in trouble with the tax administration."

 

Since I have the autoentrepreneur status, I can't get a VAT number because I am not charging it nor claiming it. I have already double checked with my tax administration, I really can't get any kind of special VAT number. With direct clients, I would usually write "exemption from VAT registration art. 293 B, CGI" and this would do.

 

The only reason why UpWork charges me the VAT is because I don't have this number (that I can't obtain anyway)?

 

Why would I be in trouble if I UpWork stopped charging me the VAT?

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Goncalo Q Member Since: Jun 20, 2016
8 of 27

This is also what I've been told at URSSAF when I asked them (twice, in different years) at their offices in Paris: that I should only declare the amount that actually falls on my bank account. But I was never too reassured as they seemed to be answering it in a quick way (didn't seem like they knew what I was talking about) and actually just wanting me to leave as soon as possible so they could go to the next client.

 

However:

 

1. What happens to the commission that we pay for the transfer of funds (around 1€)? We don't get this 1€ on our bank account. Is this 1€ noone's responsibiity? No declaration of it's existence? Is it not important at all?

 

2. On Malt (a French freelance platform, much like Upwork) they say that we should declare the total amount that was billed to the client:

https://help.malt.com/l/fr/article/00utnwj2y7-je-suis-auto-entrepreneur-est-ce-que-je-peux-d-clarer-...

 

They say: "To declare your income, you must declare your gross income and not deduct the Malt commission.

The Malt commission is a non deductible charge when it comes to income taxation.

 

If you have an invoice of 1000€, but you have received 880€ (after Malt's commisison) you must declare 1000€, that's your 'chiffre d'affaire facturé' (billed gross income)"

They add:

" 'Micro-entrepreneur' freelancers must declare a 'chiffre d'affaires' (total income) that [...] does not take in consideration functioning and investment charges. User taxes and other comissions billed by the platform [Malt] to the independent worker are a functioning tax, that must not be deducted from the declared income.
Taking into consideration the above exemple, the user must indeed declare 1000€."

 

So my question is, why should declaring 'micro-entrepreneur' income through Upwork and Malt be any different???


--

What about my invoices? I've never issued any invoices of my own for work done on Upwork. Noone ever told me to do so, and I always thought that Upwork's invoices got me covered on that.
3. If so... how do I fix this mistake?? Can I issue a new invoice with today's date, specifying on its detail all of the projects developed and their date of paiement? Should I address it to Upwork? What's their billing address?

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Goncalo Q Member Since: Jun 20, 2016
9 of 27

Adding to my previous message:

 

I was checking the invoices generated by Upwork and they are pretty straight forward. They have both the name of the freelancer plus the one of the client, and the total amount payed in dollars by the client.

Then we have a second invoice, billed by Upwork to the freelancer, with the service (and VAT) that the freelancer payed to Upwork.

So TWO invoices for TWO purchases. All this makes sense.

 

I don't think it makes much sense though that we must do a second "French" invoice with a different amount (the one that lands on our bank account). This wouldn't match the original invoice issued by Upwork on our behalf, nor it would make sense to the client to have a new invoice disregarding some dollars from the amount they payed. (I mean, if I am a customer I'll want my invoice to present the full price I payed on a service. Especially if I'm asking for a reimboursement later on)

 

I doesn't make sense to issue an invoice to Upwork either because they didn't pay us anything and they could easily hold this against us.

 

The only logical way to me seems to be: issuing our own "French" invoice copying all data from the one issued by Upwork, and present the amount in both dollars and euros, as well as the exchange rate used (either from the date we got the funds on our Upwork profile, either from the date the invoice was issued, either from the date the transfer was done to our bank account. We can ask Upwork what was the exchange rate used, they've sent me this information before).

So, this amount in euros (converted from the total price in dollars without deductions) is our 'chiffre d'affaires' and the one we must declare.

What are your thoughts on this?

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Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
10 of 27
You are entitled to a VAT# if you request one. Your local SIE (service d'information aux entreprises) should advise you. There is a form to fill and to mail them.

If you have troubles to get it, ask me in PM I'll see if I can find a copy. This is only if a client ask you though since it is not compulsory.

As for being in trouble if U stops charging you the VAT, this is purely hypothetical, I think they'll go after U if ever they find out.
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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
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