Beware the (other) RSI

Auto Entreprises (AE) were exempt from the contributions towards professional training, but this has been changed as of January 1st 2011 and in April the “invoice” for this appeared on the quarterly Déclaration Trimestrielle des Revenus for the first time. The levy is 0.3% of turnover for artisans, 0.1% for commercants and 0.2% for professions liberales. This is added to the other social charges at either 18.3% or 21.3% depending on the type of activity.

BusinessmanMany new businesses in France get bombarded by junk mail within weeks of setting up. Offers of insurance, pension plans, office equipment, and – unbelievably – offers to be recorded on a list of other businesses, a sort of “Yellow Pages” of the corporate world. This in spite of the normal sites for business registration, such as InfoGreffe.

If you’re not an AE you will already have been paying the contribution towards professional training at a current rate of €52. For commercants this tax is collected by RSI (the real one), for professions liberales it is collected by URSSAF, and of course (!) for artisans it is collected by the tax office before being paid to the local Chambre des Metiers. Jobs for the boys, I guess.

Another pernicious scheme purports to be a “European” business directory. Registered in Valencia, Spain, the introductory letter is professionally put together and gives one the feeling that this must be a good thing to do. The clever part is that these jokers don’t ask for money up front; they just ask you to sign up. Well, signing up will cost you. Not so much the €900 fee to the crooks, but the lawyers’ fees for getting rid of them. So, do watch out.

Beware! There are many scams of this nature going around. The most common seems to be one that goes under the name of RSI (Répertoire des Sociétés et Indépendants), which conveniently uses the RSI (Régime Social des indépendants) label before proposing their services for sums ranging from €129 to over €600. The double whammy is that once signed up, their contract is renewable every year automatically unless you cancel by giving notice.

Not to be sniffed at, however, these contributions do have a purpose, namely to offer professional training to anyone in a registered business. I haven’t figured out how any self-employed person can find time to do professional training, but it sounds good.

Peter Johnson - Email