Company registration in France

Why registration company in France?

 

France is the world’s 5th largest economy and the fourth largest recipient of foreign investment in Europe. With a GDP per capita of $35,000, France is an excellent country to do business. More than 20,000 foreign companies are already up and running in France. Unlike many other countries, the rules, regulations, rights, obligations and available State Aid are the same for all companies whether they are French or not.

Company Registration France is rather simple as long as the requirements of the law are met. Soha Europe Invest can assist you in the process of setting up a French company, ensuring the process is simple and stress-free.

 

Company registration in France

 

Company registration in France is overseen by the French Center for Business Formalities (Centre de Formalités des Entreprises - CFE) - this is the institution that handles the applications for registering French companies and manages the entire process. The CFE can also handle the registration for the Register of Commerce and Companies.

 

Registering a company in France

 

The first step for registering a French company is to verify if the chosen name is available. If the name can be used, a bank account needs to be opened for the company and the initial capital must be deposited.

All the necessary documents for company registration in France are submitted at the French Center for Business Formalities. All the documents are filed in the same place and by requesting the services of the CFE, investors benefit from a simplified business incorporation procedure.

The registration of a new French company must be made according to the type of business the company will engage in:

1- commercial companies with no artisan activities are registered at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry;

2- artisans and companies that engage in activities that involve various crafts need to register at the Chamber of Trade;

3- commercial agents and non-trading companies must register at the Registry of Commerce;

4- companies that engage in agricultural activities must register at the Chamber of Agriculture.

 

Each company must obtain the Kbis extract from the Register Commerce and Companies (RCS). This is a document that unifies all the information the company is obliged to report. It attests the legal existence of the company.

 

Types of companies in France

According to French law, there are several types of structures that can be formed in the country. Detailed below are the types of companies that can be opened by foreign investors and nationals in France:

 

  1. The limited liability company (SARL): the most commonly used type of company, mainly because of the liability which is limited to the amount of contributions. The requirements for share capital are minimal: 1 EUR.

 

  • Setting up an SARL company – what is required?

 

  1. The minimum share capital is €1.00
  2. The minimum number of shareholders is one (also called a EURL Company)
  3. Shareholders are again liable up to the limit of their capital contribution
  4. Accounts must be audited in line with statutory requirements
  5. Main managers have more onerous tax and security rules than SA managers

 

  1. The joint-stock company/public limited company (SA): it is suited for medium or large companies and required more founders. It has a board of directors and a company director and must comply with requirements for auditing. The minimum share capital for this legal entity is 37,000 EUR.

 

  • Setting up an SA company – what is required?

 

  1. The minimum share capital is €37,000, at least half of this must be paid up
  2. There must be at least seven shareholders within the company
  3. Shareholders are liable up to the limit of their capital contribution
  4. Accounts must be audited in line with statutory requirements
  5. Main managers are treated as employees for tax and social security purposes

 

  1. The simplified joint stock company (SAS): similar to a SA but no requirements for a large minimum share capital apply it must have at least two partners and it is most flexible than the SA: the partners can freely organize the operation of the company.

 

  • What is an SAS company?

The Societé Par Actions Simplifieé (Simplified Stock Company) is a vehicle for creating a joint venture between a French company and a foreign partner. Previously, French companies had found it difficult to enter into joint-venture relationships with foreign companies because of the rigidity of French corporate law. However, SAS companies are increasingly finding favour with foreign investors considering company formation France, particularly in the USA.

  • Setting up an SAS company – what is required?
  1. The minimum share capital is €37,000 and of which half must be paid up
  2. There must be at least two shareholders and a chairman within the company
  3. Shareholders are liable up to the limit of their capital contribution
  4. A name check with the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI) should be performed in order to check for uniqueness.
  5. No board of directors is required

 

  1. The single-member limited liability company (EURL) is a particular category of SARL with only one member. It is very similar to the limited liability company but the company taxation is different in this case.

 

  1. The general partnership (SNC) is formed by at least two associates who are jointly and severally liable for the debts and obligations of the partnership. Other types of partnerships in France include the professional partnership or the professional partnership with limited liability.

 

Any new company in France is given a business registration number, a SIRET number (with 14 digits) which also contains the company’s SIREN number (the first 9 digits of the SIRET number). An APE code is also given to any company: it is a five figure code that identifies the business activity. VAT registration will also be required, according to the types of commercial activities you wish to perform.

 

  • IMPORTANT POINTS

 

  1. All French companies must now have regulatory books (Accounting, Stock, Minutes) that must be certified by companies house in France. These books must be kept by the company or the accountant. A French company may not be considered as in good standing without these books.
  2. For VAT registration you must have a virtual office in France, this is required by the authorities to show substance in France.
  3. Some nationalities may have to supply Criminal Record Check (any non EU).
  4. A Bank reference letter and a business plan are required for all France company formations.