Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Re: French freelancer, tax and URSSAF

Active Member
Emmanuelle T Member Since: May 1, 2020
1 of 7

Hello! I am French, I live in France and I've been working on Upwork for 4 months, I want everything to be in order concerning taxes and URSSaf in France, is being an auto-entrepreneur/micro-entrepreneur the solution to be tax/URSSAF compliant? Thanks.


Joanne Marie P Moderator Member Since: Nov 26, 2017
2 of 7

Hi Emmanuelle,


Upwork charges VAT to freelancers and agencies in certain countries unless specific exemption requirements are met. Upwork is required to collect this tax and pay it to the appropriate government agency. You can read this help article for more information. If you need further assistance with filing for taxes in your location, you may want to consult with a local tax advisor. 

~ Joanne
Active Member
Emmanuelle T Member Since: May 1, 2020
3 of 7

Hi! Thanks for your message about taxes. I'm also worried about URSSAF (French social security agency). Maybe some experienced French Upworkers could help me with that : how can I pay my URSSAF, do I have to set up a micro-entreprise ?

Active Member
Ingrid M Member Since: May 25, 2020
4 of 7

Hi Emmanuelle,


As far as I know, before you start any freelance activity, you should have previously registered your business with the authorities and have a business number (SIRET).

As I see it, there are two options:

  • You make the effort to search information about your obligations by reading information published by authorities and you perform all your administrative procedures by yourself.
  • You pay professional experts to train you on that matter or to perform administrative procedures for you. You can buy excellent books or training sessions on the subject. You can even use your 'compte professionnel de formation' (CPF) to pay for training sessions.

You can check the 'Service public' web site, which is an institutional web site and a gold mine of information for any administrative procedure.

You can also check the 'auto-entrepreneur' web site of the URSSAF.

You can also find tax-related information on the 'Ministère de l'économie' and 'Impôts' web sites.

You can find precious information that will help you determine the type of business you want to start, such as:

  • Your activity type ('code APE' or 'code NAF')—you will need this code when registering with the authorities.
  • The legal status of your business: 'entreprise individuelle', 'EIRL', etc.

You can choose a taxation system, a VAT system, etc.:

  • Tax system: 'micro-entreprise', 'régime réel', 'régime de la déclaration contrôlée'
  • VAT system: 'Franchise en base de TVA, 'régime réel simplifié',, etc.
  • Social system: 'micro-social', etc.

And much more...


The 'micro-entreprise' status with 'Franchise en base de TVA' is the simplest one to start with because all administrative procedures are simplified, but you cannot deduct expenses from your turnover (there is an automatic abatement for income tax, but it may not cover all your professional expenses). You should explore other possibilities in case they better suit your situation.


There are a number of other obligations that you must observe as a freelancer, such as:

  • You must have a separate bank account for your professionnal activity. You must not use your personal bank account to receive payments from customers.
  • You must note all received payments on a receipt book ('livre de recettes') in a specific format.
  • You must issue invoices that include all the information required by authorities (see the 'Service public' and URSSAF web sites).
  • You must declare all payments from clients inside EU countries in the 'Déclaration européenne de services' to the Customs. (This procedure aims at preventing VAT fraud within the EU.)

Hope this helps.



Active Member
Emmanuelle T Member Since: May 1, 2020
5 of 7
Thanks a lot Ingrid. That was really helpful!
Best regards.
Active Member
Michelle Ann G Member Since: Jun 27, 2021
6 of 7

Hi! these threads are really helpful. Thank you very much!


I would also want to know if you guys have any idea about the following related matter:

1. Who should I declare as my employer when I declare my taxes for upwork freelancing here in France? Should it be my employer that hired me in Upwork or Upwork itself?

2. You mentioned the following I just want to clarify this:

  • You must note all received payments on a receipt book ('livre de recettes') in a specific format. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS? Where is this format can be found?


Active Member
Ingrid M Member Since: May 25, 2020
7 of 7

Hi Michelle,


You must declare the amount that you have invoiced to your client. Upwork is only acting as a business facilitor. This implies that you should subtract from this amount neither the 20% Upwork commission nor the bank transfer commission.

These commissions are your business expenses. These are already covered by the automatic 34% abatement on your income tax if you have chosen the auto-entrepreneur tax status. If you have chosen the other status (régime de la déclaration contrôlée), then you will declare expenses, but separately from your income.


As for the receipt book (livre de recettes), you can find this in paper format in book shops in the stationery section or you can find an electronic template on the URSSAF web site. The paper format is the safer option because, with the electronic format, if you accidentally delete  information, then you can be fined.


I strongly recommend that you take the time to read about your rights and obligations as a freelancer on these web sites: URSSAF, Service public, Impôts.