With businesses around the world suffering, here’s some practical coronavirus advice for micro-entrepreneurs working in France

If you are self-employed and the coronavirus has put you in a precarious position, this coronavirus advice for micro-entrepreneurs includes a number of practical steps you can take to ease your financial situation in the short term:

  • Contact URSSAF to request a payment delay on your social charges. The government has said that anyone requestingEmpty pockets this will not have to pay anything until June and late payment charges will not be applied.
  • If you are a parent or in the at-risk category you can declare an arrêt de travail to receive sick pay. This is a daily amount calculated in relation to your income. It won’t be a fortune but it may be enough to tide you over a difficult couple of months while in isolation.
  • Reduce your income tax payments. Since France switched to a PAYE system in 2019 most micro-entrepreneurs will be paying a certain amount in tax each month. It is possible to alter your payment by logging into your online account on the tax office website and clicking on ‘Gérer mon prélèvement à la source’. It should be possible to put the rate to 0%.
  • If you have been paying tax each month and are in a very precarious situation, it is possible to apply for a tax rebate on the advance payments you have made. The government has indicated that requests will be considered on a case by case basis. Contact your tax office via the online messaging service from your online account.
  • Apply to the €1500 solidarity fund. Micro-entrepreneurs in certain sectors can apply for special aid up to a total of €1500. This is limited to businesses involved in commerce, transport, accommodation (although it is not clear whether this is just for hotels or includes gîtes), restaurants, artistic activities, travel and events. It is provided if a decline in earnings can be proved, even if the micro-entrepreneur has been in business for less than a year. The amount awarded will be calculated based on the last few months of turnover. The €1500 cannot be combined with sick leave payments (arrêt de travail). We understand that applications can be submitted from 31st March via the DGFIP website but have no further details at this time.
  • Contact your bank to ask for a payment holiday on loans. According to the government banks have agreed to facilitate payment holidays of up to six months with no financial penalty by putting in place a government backed loan (prêt de trésorerie garanti par l’Etat).
  • Contact your landlord and utility providers to ask for payments to be halted.
  • Contact Bpifrance (Banque Publique d’investissement), which supports small businesses and assists with finance, to apply for an overdraft or emergency loan. The process is all online at this link. Bpifrance also have a coronavirus hotline which is 0969 370 240.

The government is posting up-to-date coronavirus-linked information for businesses at this link.

Here at P-O Life we understand only too well the difficulties that small businesses are facing as we are a small business ourselves. Where able, we will do everything we can to support local small business owners through this difficult time.

Please note that this coronavirus advice for micro-entrepreneurs is provided with the caveat that the situation is changing daily and, while we are trying to keep as up-to-date as possible, new information is being issued all the time.

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