Where to start? From the beginning, right? That would be when I decided to start a podcast, but it’s a little bit more complicated because of my background. Yet, my decision to launch myself into this podcasting venture had a clear influence on the sequence of events that started almost immediately afterward. I was just finishing reading my first book1 on how to podcast actually. The latter had (and still has) a small, 104-word long “Tax Liability” paragraph at the very end of Chapter 14. The idea was about creating a small company for your podcast. That’s it. Not much indeed, but particularly well-timed indeed…
Folks, keep track of your income and expenditures, because Uncle Sam will want his share, and you will have to file those expenses and incomes even if you don’t make a profit.Todd Cochrane
This post, while somehow related to my podcasting journey, is not part of The CogitActive Saga. Indeed, in these trying times, I cannot keep up with my thorough approach, which normally consists in gathering and reading all possible information on the subject matter. Therefore, the coming mini-series will consist in short, storytelling posts, instead of the usual in-depth, informative articles. I apologize in advance for this and I hope that you will still find this content engaging and interesting.
Why did I even consider to become a micro-entrepreneur?
First, let me clarify that I did not decide to become a micro-entrepreneur when (or because) I started my podcasting adventure, nor when I read the aforementioned “Tax Liability” paragraph. Instead, this decision imposed itself on me when I secured a mini-contract as a consultant. Now, this was a one-time thing, unfortunately, and what is more did not involve much money. Nonetheless, as stated by Todd Cochrane,
Uncle Sam want his share1.
Of course, I can’t say that I did not envision the idea of becoming a successful podcaster, creating a company and living out of my podcasting revenues. An amazing thought, actually! Can you image, being paid to do something you enjoy, but more importantly, being able to live with my family in the same country! Under the same roof! Priceless!
Whatever the amount of money you make (and the way you earn it), you have to declare all your incomes – at least, this is how it goes in France. Even though I would just receive a single, small contribution for this blog (see footer), I would have to declare it and, it goes without saying, pay not only some taxes, but also social charges. Even for a 5€ contribution! Believe me. Given this inescapable fact, and the penalties that may be imposed on any person who breaches these rules, I inquired about running a business in France.
To make a long story short, the best option (for the present and the immediate future) ended up creating an independent activity as a micro-entrepreneur.
The status of micro-entrepreneur
Briefly, this is actually a tax status that benefits from simple tax and accounting rules, but not a legal business structure per se. It must be distinguished from the category of micro-enterprise indeed. Nonetheless, this status, which by the way was originally called auto-entrepreneur, applies to individual entrepreneurs who request it, under certain conditions. Your activity can be exercised as principal (my dream for the future) or as a complementary one (i.e. of my unemployment without benefit for that matter2).
In keeping with dream vs. reality, the maximum turnover thresholds were – for a service-based business – 33,200€ per year in 2017, but were doubled up to 66,400€ in 2018. As of 2020, the turnover cannot exceed 72,500€ per year. Back then, I did not expect – even in dreams – to pass the 2017 threshold.
There are many benefits of this status, but insofar I was concerned, one of the main advantage is that the registration process is completely free and does not require any capital contribution. It actually takes just a few minutes…
The actual registration
All you have to do, indeed, is to declare your activity. To do so, you just need to create an account on www.lautoentrepreneur.fr. Of course, you will need to fill some information4 and provide a proof of identity, but that is pretty much it. The tricky part, however, is to correctly indicate your activity (or your activities if you want to exercise different activities).
Guess what! Podcaster was not on the list!
Anyway, I tried to find something related. I opted for the closest I could find: Professional Blogger (INTERNET), even though this blog was not existing yet. As for the descriptions of my activities, keeping in mind my past (i.e. real, but one-time only) and anticipated future (i.e. podcaster) endeavors, I listed the following: podcaster, blogger, scientific writer, scientific consultant.
To be continued…
1 Todd Cochrane (2005) Podcasting – The Do-It-Yourself Guide. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing. ^
2 Still, being unemployed allows you some social charges reduction during the first 3 years: you will pay only 5.7%, then 11.4% and finally 17.1% instead of 22.7% of your income. ^
3 Spoiler: this will actually be the connecting thread that runs through this mini-series. ^
4 If you want to know more, you can check this post, which describes each steps with screenshots. ^