Legal structures for small scale farm and holiday accomodation

Sonic33
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We would be really grateful if you can help my partner and I with some initial online advice. Hoping you can guide us by letting us know how things work prior to getting to France permanently. We have been living in the UK until now, but plan to emigrate to France in 2018/19, making it our primary residence, before Brexit. We plan to become French residents and eventually French citizens.

My civil partner and I bought an agricultural property in 2014 in Limousin, and would like to develop it as an organic farm. We intend to register it as such with the Ministry of Agriculture. The farm is a smallholding (approx. 9.5 acres). We will be cultivating organic fruit and vegetables, and selling added value products e.g. jams, botantical drinks etc selling at farmers markets and restaurants and possibly a CSA scheme. It will have animals, as part of the farm, but not animals for breeding or sale.

Questions we have:

  1. What is the best and most tax efficient legal structures for us, bearing in mind that: my partner and I are already joint owners of the farm?
  2. My partner has the most farming knowledge. Is it better for her to be the sole farmer or is it better to jointly be directors? What if anything happened to her or me or us? What are the implications for tax? We don’t want our home to be lost in the event of the business folding - so do we need to limit our liabilities?
  3. We are hoping we can benefit from allowances for farms, and in particular for a smallholding? Asking this as we plan our budget for investing in some items of equipment, and in repairs and energy efficiency on the farm. We are wondering if there are grants we may be eligible for if we are resident farmers.
  4. Do we have to create a new business if other farming related business opportunities come up e.g. hiring out a piece of equipment or getting jobs to garden other people’s land?
  5. Finally, in our transitional process, although I will be living primarily in France as my main residence, I will be running a consultancy for charities and social enterprises as a self-employed person, attracting clients from the UK initially before extending support to France and potentially elsewhere in the EU and beyond. The advice I have to date is to register a UK-based self-employed status. Should I do that or should I register as a micro-entrepreneur in France? Given that in 5 years, we may want to apply for permanent citizenship, I am keen for this income to get declared in the French tax system.
  6. Are there any points to consider in being a joint director on a farm (if we choose that option) and a self-employed consultant?
  7. Finally, within the farm’s first year, we will offer camping (for less than 10 people) and a shepherd’s hut for (one person’s) holiday accommodation, and within the next 2-3 years, transform a small outbuilding into a holiday let (for maximum 2 people). The earnings from the shepherd’s hut/camping are likely to be nominal e.g. estimating less than 1000 euros in total in a year. We anticipate that the holiday let will peak at about c5k euros at best, therefore, will it still need to be registered as a separate legal entity separately or can that income be counted under the farm’s legal structure? What is the correct thing to do legally? If there’s a choice, what is the best thing to do in respect of tax?


Sorry if we have bundled up too much in these questions.

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