From recent reports, it seems that an unexpected number of people registered as 'auto-entrepreneurs' during 2009 have declared a Nil turnover for the fourth quarter running - and questions are being raised about their social security cover in view of the absence of payments to the various collection agencies responsible for health, pension and other insurances (RSI, CIPAV etc).
The collection agencies, faced with this un-anticipated problem, appear to have adopted a 'wait and see' attitude, but a report by an English speaking website* says that auto-entrepreneurs with a Nil turnover are now being automatically switched to other regimes (such as micro-social or micro-enterprise), some with obligatory levels of minimum social contributions, or advised to terminate their auto-entrepreneur status.
It has always been stressed that the auto-entrepreneur scheme was never intended as an alternative route to obtaining French social security cover for those not already working or retired in France, or operating a genuine business with a realistic turnover. It is also particularly suited to those with another permanent job but wishing to earn some additional income or try out a hobby or business idea before going solo.
(*Start Business in France).