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Are we entitled to a pension in France?

Reader's query about a pension in France.

1 September 2016

My wife and I became tax resident in France in 2003. We started earning from two gîtes and our accountant registered us as a micro-entreprise. At one point, we spoke about re-registering as auto-entrepreneurs but he said that would only complicate things for us. In 2015 we sold our business and we have just filed our last tax returns. I am 68 and my wife 66 and we believe we meet the minimum 40 trimestres level for a pension as well as age and other criteria, so we contacted RSI for details of how to apply. However, they told us we were not on their database as we were not registered as auto-entrepreneurs. They suggested we try CARSAT, but they could not help. So given we have paid social contributions, are we entitled to a pension in France? And if so, how do we go about claiming it? J.P.

Social contributions, as an English term, usually refers to the 15.5% charges paid on all income. However, these charges do not confer any pension right as pension contributions are a separate charge altogether, in addition to the social charges and social security charges (healthcare, etc.). Without knowing which of the micro-entreprise classifications you had, it is impossible to say, but to have pension rights you have to have paid, independently of the RSI, into one of the pension ‘caisses’, such as the CIPAV or CNAV etc.

Reader's query answered by Hugh MacDonald

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