Until recently, France was not considered favorable for setting up and doing business by non-residents. Knowing well about the advantages of their country and consistently high interest in it, the authorities have been gradually creating the foundation for free and convenient business activities. However, today France is focused on attracting external investments and makes the registration procedures for companies easier.
It should be noted that business owners have the right to apply for a residence permit for themselves and their families (on the basis of business cards), which is quite difficult to do otherwise. In France, it is allowed to establish virtual offices for telephone communication and sending correspondence. You can also open a physical office with staff.
French companies shall prepare statements and keep records. To this end, a specialist is needed. In order to make payments to social funds easier, many companies hire two directors rather than one. In this case, non-residents shall provide the authorities with the translated and apostilled Police Clearance Certificate (issued not earlier than three months ago).
France cannot be referred to as an offshore country; business taxes range from 20 to 33%, but in some cases the rate can be reduced to 15%.
Businesses in the country
A company can be set up in France in one of the following forms:
- Enterprise with a sole owner responsible by all of its property.
- Full partnership, i.e. a legal entity not subject to public reporting, with joint responsibility of its members (all property) – there are no minimum capital requirements.
- Simple Limited Partnership, i.e. a legal entity subject to public reporting and different responsibilities of its members (full and on deposits), there are no capital requirements.
- Joint-Limited Partnership (SCPA), which has members responsible by all property and shareholders; the minimum capital is 225,000 euros (or 37,000 euros without a public subscription).
- JSC (SA) with a capital of 37,000/225,000 euros (without and with a public subscription, respectively) and at least seven founders and shareholders; there shall be supervisory and administrative councils.
- SARL is similar to domestic LLCs, with a minimum capital of 7,500 euros and at least two members.
The latter form is the most used by and convenient for foreign investors. Its registration takes three to four weeks, and the auditors only verify annual reports.
Requirements for setting up a company in France
It is necessary to prepare a package of documents with a filled in questionnaire attached to it. You will also need two original utility bills issued not earlier than three months ago and notarized copies of passports of each member and director. The documents shall be translated into French and apostilled. At least half the cost of the service shall be paid before registration.
If you do not use unified forms and standard patterns, the registration process can take quite a long time. To set up a company in Portugal, first you need to set a name. If it is not selected from the approved list of ready-made names, it shall be pre-approved with the RNPC. The whole capital shall be transferred to the account no later than 5 days after registration, and this requirement applies to all types of business entities that exist in the country.
Setting up a company in France consists of the following stages:
- acceptance and verification of documents and making an entry into the Consolidated Register;
- entering the company in the national list;
- assignment of an identification number by the tax service;
- if necessary, getting a license;
- registration with the social insurance fund (medical protection, family, retirement and maternity benefits) with the receipt of the Certificate;
- when hiring staff, filing an application with the labor inspection.
After getting approvals for setting up the company, its details shall be published in the official journal issued by the authorities. You will also need a real legal address.
Prifinance experts will help you choose the best form of business, properly prepare documents and set up a company in France as soon as possible. We also advise on tax planning, business structuring and help our customers get high returns on it.