Difficulties with A1 social security certificates from France

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When an individual goes to work in a country with which the UK has a social security agreement, they may be able to remain in their home country social security scheme, so long as they fulfil certain criteria. 

To continue with their home country contributions, they must make an application to the home country authorities who, if they are in agreement, issue a certificate known as a Portable Document A1 (PDA1).

Since Brexit, whilst the tax treaties  have not changed much at all from an employment tax perspective  the social security agreements between the UK and other EU countries have, and the UK Withdrawal Agreement contains special legislation to support new and continuing applications for PDA1s.

HMRC has commented on a current issue relating to UK/France secondments. the French social security authorities are not agreeing A1 applications under Article 16 of Regulation (EC) 883/2004 (normally applicable where an individual is on secondment for a period exceeding 24 months) that extend beyond 30 June 2021.

HMRC is in conversation with the French authorities to understand their position and, if necessary, will consider options for raising the matter with the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Where HMRC accepts an application for a Portable Document A1 (PDA1) under Article 16 which goes beyond 30 June 2021, they will seek to reach an agreement with the French social security authorities in line with the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

HMRC only proposes an Article 16 agreement to the French authorities where they have already established that the individual is within scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

This, combined with HMRC’s general backlog in processing A1 applications, means that companies should expect significant delays in obtaining A1 certificates when assigning employees to France. 

We recommend submitting your A1 applications as far in advance of an assignment commencing as possible.