This was sent to Artisan Anglais and is a cautionary tale. If you are an artisan registered only in the UK, please read it!

"We can tell you by personal experience that if you are deemed to be resident in France for tax purposes (181 days here) then the UK Ltd Reg. No. is of no use whatsoever. You MUST be registered at the Chambre des Metiers and have a French Siret No. together with your UK Reg. No.

We have been living in France for 15yrs and our UK Ltd Co. was set up in 1999 - since then all our income/taxes/Corporation Taxes had been declared in the UK. We assumed that since the company was domiciled in the UK then we were abiding by the rules of the EEC. Nothing concerning our business was ever hidden.

Early in Jan this year we received official letters from the French Impots (Tax Inspectors) ordering us to give details of all our French and UK bank accounts/outgoings/income etc for 2001/2 - as well as this being a complete surprise we were then raided early morning by the Gendarmes who confiscated our computer.

We are now paying back all unpaid French taxes as well as Social Security contributions /company contributions, etc, etc as well as waiting to find out if the French legal system is going to prosecute us.

To make a long story short - our UK Co. is now completely registered in France with its own Siret No. As well as this, we still have our UK Co. Reg. No. which operates in France from a French address - obligatory.

In brief - if you are not registered over here and are resident then your Co. is working illegally.
Best tip - find and employ a good French accountant (any business working over here has to have, by law, its yearly accounts audited by one, unlike the UK).

We feel that there will be many companies working over here believing they are legal, as well as all the others that have no intention of registering anywhere, ie 'on the black'.

Sites such as yours have an ideal platform to inform traders of the rules - and don't let's forget that when illegal traders are caught, then the property-owners they are working for are as liable to lose their vehicles/tool/materials etc and to end up in the same court."