France gives financial aid to self-employed

Self-employed workers in France can now claim financial aid for losses incurred due to Covid-19 for the month of June 2020. We explain the process.

21 July 2020
A pile of coins with a clock in the background. France gives financial aid to self-employed following the Covid-19 crisis.Financial aid of €1,500 will only be made available to very small businesses, the self-employed, and freelance professional services.
By Joanna York

From July 20, self-employed workers (known as indépendants, autoentrepreneurs and petites entreprises) can now claim up to €1,500 for the month of June from France’s Covid-19 solidarity fund (fonds de solidarité).

On June 30, minister of the economy Bruno le Maire stated that independent workers, including shop owners (commerçants), crafts and tradespeople (artisans), and the self-employed (indépendants) would now be eligible for aid for the month of June. 

Applicants have until August 31 2020 to file claims.

Up until now, only businesses from certain sectors such as hospitality, restaurants, tourism, culture, events and sports have been able to claim financial aid as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, as they were judged to have been exceptionally affected by it. These will be able to claim funds until December 2020.

What are the conditions for financial aid for the self-employed?

Financial aid of €1,500 will only be made available to very small businesses (TPE, micro entrepreneurs), the self-employed (indépendants) and freelance professional services (professions liberals).

Professionals in these categories are eligible whatever their tax system or status in France.

However there are other eligibility criteria:

  • Your business must have no more than 10 employees (or 20 for businesses exceptionally affected, such as restaurants)
  • Your yearly turnover must be less than €1 million (€2 million for businesses exceptionally affected)
  • Taxable annual profits (before business tax - the figure that appears on tax declaration form 2065) must not exceed €60,000 for companies operating under the owner’s name, or €120,000 if the head of the company also works as a conjoint collaborateur (spousal business partner). This means a limit of €60,000 per business partner or spouse.

Additionally, as a result of Covid-19, the business must have been subject to:

  • Administrative closure, as was the case for restaurants and museums for example. A full list of businesses legally required to close during the crisis is available here (in French)
  • Or, losses of more than 50% in turnover, compared to your reference amount.

How do I work out my reference amount? 

The process for establishing a reference amount for business turnover has been updated since April 2020.

Businesses can either use the same period from 2019 as a reference, or a monthly average. 

For example, a business created before June 1, 2019 could use the month of June 2019 as a reference, or it could calculate a monthly average between the date the business started operating and February 29, 2020. 

Businesses created after June 2019, which cannot use the previous year as a reference point, should use a monthly average between the date the business started operating and February 29, 2020.

Businesses started in February 2020 can use the month of February as a reference point. Businesses started in March can use the first half of the month (before confinement was imposed) as a reference point. 

Can I get financial aid if I’ve already received support from social security or my pension? 

Self-employed workers who have been on medical or parental leave (congé maladie or arrêt de travail) are eligible for financial support in some circumstances.

The law 2020-317 from March 30 states that social security collected in these circumstances must not exceed €800. 

Financial aid has been extended to cover losses from April, for businesses “in which the director has collected less than €1,500 in retirement pension or daily compensation for the month being considered”. 

 

Will I get the full €1,500?

If you fulfil the conditions listed above you can benefit from the first stage of financial aid, namely “aid of an amount equal to the losses declared, up to a limit of €1,500”.

How can I make a claim?

Claims for financial aid can be made on the government site impots.gouv.fr via an individual user account.

When logged in, applicants should go to the messaging service and write a message, selecting the topic "Je demande l'aide aux entreprises fragilisées par l'épidémie Covid-19" (I need help for a business weakened by the Covid-19 epidemic).

An online form will then appear.

The form asks for the period you require aid for, the type and size of the business concerned, your contact details, a SIRET number, your reason for applying for aid (either administrative closure or losses of over 50%) and company bank details. 

The form cannot be modified once it has been submitted. Telephone advice (in French) on completing the form, or forms already submitted is available from the French tax office on 0 810 467 687 from Monday to Friday, 8h30 to 17h (€0,06 per minute + the cost of the call).

What is regional aid?

There is a second stage of financial aid for which some self-employed business owners may also be eligible. 

Aid of €2,000-€5,000, depending on the size of the business, is available for companies that have at least one employee and are unable to pay their debts within the next 30 days. 

This aid works on a fixed rate for businesses with a turnover of less than €200,000 per year.

For businesses with a turnover between €200,000-€600,000 available aid is between €2,000–€3,500.

For businesses with a turnover above €600,000, aid is a minimum of €2,000, and up to €5,000.

Since May 12, this aid is also being made available to businesses that have not been allowed to welcome members of the public, that don’t have any employees, and have an annual turnover of more than €8,000. 

This financial aid is available at a regional level in France, with each region having its own application procedure. 

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