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Des Cooney


Des Cooney


Axis Strategy Consultants


Senior Consultant

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Personal Info:

Des Cooney specializes in the provision of advice on pensions and retirement planning to expatriates. He is a Director of Axis Strategy Consultants, a French regulated Insurance broker. His particular area of expertise is on QROPS and the transfer of UK pensions overseas. Emphasis is put on the investment of clients' money in the ‘right funds at the right time’ in order to maximize gains. Attention is also given to tax planning issues when deciding which products to recommend.


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Latest questions answered by: Des Cooney


Hi Des,

My husband and I are retiring to the Dordogne and are just finishing the purchase of a house there. Our closest big town is Riberac.

We will be living on our social security checks and my retirement account. We are told the checks can be directly deposited from the US into a French bank. Which do you think would be the best bank for us under these circumstances?

Thank you so much for your help!


by Betsy on 04 Apr 2018 Read Answer
Riaan Oosthuizen

Hi Des.
- We are from South Africa
- We are in the process of buying a property to run as Chambres d'Hote in France.
- We are applying for an 'Entrepreneurs Visa'
- One of the documents required is a business case/plan to describe the business and its feasibility.

Do you have any advice on the financial information to include in the business plan? Do you know if there is a specific structure or accounting information that is required in the plan?
The application form states 'Free form business plan' to be submitted.


by Riaan Oosthuizen on 20 Oct 2017 Read Answer
Sarah Gough

Dear Des
I am looking to purchase a house in France to have as a holiday home as I currently live in the Netherlands.
I have been dealing with a mortgage broker and he has confirmed that I would need to open a French bank account in order for the mortgage payments to be made. I did contact Britline as I am British but they confirmed that they only deal with France, UK or Ireland residents. Do you know of any other banks that I can contact that would be able to advise on setting up a French bank account?
Thank you,

by Sarah Gough on 15 Feb 2017 Read Answer

Hi Des,
If I am moving to France and am continuing to work for my English company. How do I pay the cotisations sociales? Does my company have to still pay the employer's part, even though they have no corporate presence there? I believe I am paid gross (they will notify hmrc so that paye doesnt apply) and I will simply file a French tax return and pay my tax there? Thanks for your help

by Paul on 25 Aug 2016 Read Answer
carmel bourne

Dear Des,
I pay tax in England on the Employment support allowance I get as someone who is chronically ill and likely to be so for the rest of my life. Do I have to declare this? If so is it subject to the double taxation treaty? It looks to me as if I should be paying taxon it in France but tax on it is automatically deducted at source by the UK government. I have an S1 form so I know that I am not subject to social charges.

by carmel bourne on 15 Jul 2016 Read Answer
Follow-up question:

Hi Des
Are you able to clarify a couple of issues in relation to the UK
personal allowance on UK pensions for french residents?.
I have a UK local government pensions for which I have been receiving
the personal allowance and paying Uk tax on everything above this
amount. I know that the french will give me a tax credit equal to the
tax payable in France on this amount; My husband has a small UK
pension less than the UK tax allowance. We have mistakenly been
declaring this in England not in France and are now in the process of
putting that right; We have read that we are entitled to the UK
personal allowance when paying tax on our pensions in France. I am
having difficulty understanding this. The relevant UK tax form R43
seems to indicate that we will be given a sum of money by the UK tax
authority but is this so in relation to our two cases?

by carmel bourne on 25 Jul 2016 Read Answer

I will be working in Paris, France as an intern for four months, and I need to open a French bank account. I will be making less than 1000 per month.
Which bank would you recommend? My requirements are english-speaking, low cost, and a faster application process.

Thanks so much!

by Joy on 21 Jun 2016 Read Answer
Sally Dillon

My daughter who is a French Uni here in France is going to do work experience in Barcelona. The Uni has asked her to obtain an atestauion responsabiite civile? Is this coveted by my home insurance and where do I get it.
Many thanks,

by Sally Dillon on 22 Feb 2016 Read Answer

3 questions please.

We have just moved to France from the UK after owning a holiday home here for some years.

The house is already covered by insurance but we want to check that it is competitive. How do we cancel if we find a better offer?

Are we likely to pay more in premiums if we use an expat service (Contracts and helpline in English) than if we go French from the off for Life, Home, Health, Car and Breakdown cover?

Is there a good insurance comparison website you would recommend?

Many thanks,

by Claire on 25 Nov 2015 Read Answer
Marjolein Ball

Dear Des,
My husband and I are French residents and complete a tax return each year.
My husband (English) received his state pension on 01.08.2014. He had a S1 valid until 04.01.2014. I (Dutch) had an S1 for the whole of the tax year.
Apart from the state pension, interest on savings accounts in the UK and dividends on investment portfolio in the Netherlands, we have no other income.
For the tax year 2014, we have been charged 15.5% social charges on the total gross sum of interest and dividends. I was under the impression that these charges were "unlawful", as we are both affiliated to the British Social Services and are not entitled to any benefits in France?
Thank you for your help.

by Marjolein Ball on 20 Nov 2015 Read Answer

Hi Des,

I am seeking general advice. My situation is this:

- I am a UK citizen
- I lived and worked in Germany for 3 years at a Editorial agency
- My wife moved to Marseille for a job
- On discussion with my employer about carrying my work out remotely (i.e. living in France with my wife but remaining an employee of the German company) we reached an agreement that this would be possible.
- I sought legal advice about where that leaves me with regard to social security and fiscal arrangements.
- I was told that it is indeed possible to live in France and remain an employee of a German company. I will fall under both French taxation and social contributions.
- My employer will pay me gross salary from which I will pay my taxes but they are also required to submit a monthly declaration that they are paying the social contributions.

My question is - how is this goverened? Who is this actually paid too?

Any advise is greatly appreciated.



by Gareth on 22 Oct 2015 Read Answer

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