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Following an URSSAF inspection, the social security body has sent you formal notice to pay an amount in respect of unpaid contributions or another reason for adjustment.
When you do not pay the amount requested within one month, time goes against you: indeed, the URSSAF can then issue you with an order to pay that allows it to implement more restrictive enforcement procedures (seizures, etc.). In this case, the recovery procedure may be interrupted only by an objection to an order to pay made by the debtor within a period of 15 days.
In this column, we explain everything about objection to an order to pay.
The task of the URSSAF is to recover social security contributions intended to finance the general social security system.
When a contributor has been subject to an inspection by the URSSAF and a reason for adjustment has been raised by the organisation, the latter will send formal notice to the contributor inviting it to correct its situation within one month.
In the absence of payment of the sum requested within this period, the URSSAF may then start the process of recovery of the sums, via the issuance of an order to pay in accordance with Article R.133-3 of the French Social Security Code..
This document may be served by judicial officer or notified by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt to the person subject to the inspection.
From this service or notification, the contributor now has a period of 15 days to file an objection.
In the absence of objection, the order to pay becomes final and the URSSAF is entitled to recover the sums requested.
To be valid, the order to pay must comply with the formalities required by Article R.133-7 of the French Social Security Code.
Regarding the issuer of the order to pay, it should be noted that the latter must be issued by the director of any social security organisation, or by its representative duly authorised for this purpose and who benefits from a delegation of powers in accordance with Article R.133-3 of the French Social Security Code (in this sense: Court of Cassation, Employment Division, 12 July 1988, Bull. civ. V no. 437; Court of Cassation, Employment Division, 30 May 2002, no. 00-14.512).
As regards the addressee of the order to pay, the latter may be directed against any employer or self-employed person liable for contributions.
The content of the order to pay is also specifically set out. In particular, the following rules must be complied with:
It is therefore necessary to specify, in addition to the nature and amount of the contributions claimed, the period to which they relate.
If this information is not specified, the order to pay will be declared null and void.
Furthermore, at the time of service or notification of the order to pay, the latter must specify the time limit within which the objection must be filed, the address of the competent court and the forms required for its referral in accordance with Article R.133-3 of the French Social Security Code (in this sense: Court of Cassation, 2nd Employment Division, 21 June 2018, no. 17-16.441; Court of Cassation, 2nd Employment Division, 3 June 2021 no. 20-10.729). However, in the event of a substantive defect, the contributor must prove that the defect has caused it a grievance.
We can check this information for you.
It should be noted that the order to pay should, in principle, be issued to the person directly affected by the adjustment (or its representative in the case of a legal entity).
However, the order to pay remains valid in other situations, in particular:
On the other hand, in this type of situation, where the service or notification has not been made to the person directly affected by the order to pay, the objection is admissible within 15 days from the date on which the latter was actually informed of the order to pay on condition that the contributor can prove this date, which, in practice, may prove to be complicated (in this sense: Court of Cassation, Employment Division, 8 April 1970, 68-10.780).
In any event, and if the order to pay is not delivered to the person, the judicial officer must be able to prove that he/she completed all the steps to check the contributor’s place of residence (in this sense: Court of Cassation, 2nd Employment Division, 19 March 2020, no. 19-12.079; Court of Cassation, 2nd Employment Division, 6 June 2019, no. 18-16.044).
The contributor must send its objection to the Registry of the Employment Division of the competent Court of Justice.
As a reminder, pursuant to Article R.133-3 of the French Social Security Code, the objection is admissible within 15 days of notification with request for acknowledgement of receipt or service by judicial officer. Otherwise, the objection will be declared inadmissible and the order to pay will be final; it can no longer be challenged.
This action is also essential to suspend the recovery procedures. In fact, in the absence of objection to an order to pay, the order to pay is validated and becomes automatically enforceable so that the URSSAF can then implement all the enforcement measures it likes to obtain payment of the sum it claims.
Please note that this objection must be substantiated and accompanied by a copy of the contested order to pay. It is therefore essential to call on specialists in procedure and social security law to ensure that it is filed in the proper manner and within the prescribed time limits.
The objection to an order to pay procedure takes place before the Employment Division of the Court of Justice (formerly the Social Security Court or "TASS").
The Registry will notify URSSAF within eight days of receiving the objection. The organisation must then send the court a copy of the order to pay, accompanied by a copy of the formal notice indicating the amount of the contributions and late payment increases used as the basis for establishing the order to pay, as well as the notice of receipt, by the debtor, of the said formal notice, in accordance with Article R.133-5 of the French Social Security Code.
An appeal may then be filed before the Court of Appeal within the jurisdiction of the competent Court of Justice by the interested party.
There are situations in which the contributor will receive an order to pay even though it has already disputed the adjustment made by the URSSAF before the Commission de Recours Amiable (amicable appeals committee "CRA"), then before the Court of Justice.
Two proceedings will then be under way on the same case, and it is not uncommon for both cases to be called at the same time to enable the court to rule once and for all on the dispute.
In the event of cases which do not have the same subject matter, however, this will give rise to two separate decisions.
Our last piece of advice: react quickly! The time limits for challenging an order to pay are very short and a forced recovery procedure can have a particularly severe financial impact.
This is why it is essential to react quickly and have your situation analysed immediately by lawyers who can check that the obligations incumbent on the URSSAF have been met.