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Company Formation in France

Set your French business up for success.

France is ready and waiting for you…

Are you seeking the perfect destination to form a company? France may just be the right place for you! Whether you are already familiar with France and hoping to move there, or you’re simply trying to find a country that can work in favorable ways for you to establish a business abroad. Aside from the croissants, romance and iconic monuments, France is an exceptional choice for business. We will tell you why and how to set up a company there.

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How can a lawyer help me?

Starting a business in France can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it’s important to have the right guidance and support to ensure that everything is done correctly. One way to get this guidance is by working with a lawyer who has experience in helping clients set up companies in France.

Here are the steps that our lawyers can help you with:

  1. Choosing the right legal structure: A lawyer can help you understand the different types of business structures available in France, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company, and help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

  2. Preparing and filing the necessary documents: Your lawyer can help you prepare and file all of the necessary legal documents, such as the articles of incorporation or partnership agreement, and ensure that they are completed correctly.

  3. Registering your company: Your lawyer can assist you with the registration process by ensuring that all the necessary documentation is in order and submitting it to the appropriate authorities.

  4. Complying with laws and regulations: A lawyer can help you understand and comply with all of the relevant laws and regulations that apply to your company, such as labor laws, taxes, and health and safety regulations.

  5. Providing ongoing support: A lawyer can also provide ongoing support and guidance as you continue to grow and develop your company.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Don’t go through the process of creating a company in France alone. Trust our proven track record of successful corporate cases in France to help you create your company here.

Why France is a good place to open a company?

France has one of the strongest economies in the European Union and the world. Setting up a business or forming a company in France allows you access to the robust French market and greater EU. This alone is advantageous in a multitude of ways. Along with the powerful economy, it is an exceptionally easy place for foreigners to open companies. In fact, the World Bank names France one of the easiest countries to do business in. This is due to the quick timeframe to form a company and the many types of incorporations available. Plus, there is no residency or citizenship requirement to open and operate a French company.

Notably, the French population is highly education and skilled, meaning you’ll have a strong talent pool to hire from. Also, as a popular place for tourism and travelers there is more potential to increase brand awareness in France. 

Types of Companies in France

France has several company structures to fit all types of businesses and activities. This is a big attraction to foreign investors. Choosing the best option for you depends on several factors such as, your intentions for opening a business in France, your business plan, the amount of investment you have and whether you plan to live in France or not. Lexidy can help you determine the best route with all information considered.

Here is an overview of French company structures: 

SARL (Societe Anonyme a Responsabilite Limitee): adequate to an LLC. The most common type of company and arguably the easiest to set up. 

  • 1 EUR minimum share capital 
  • 1 member to form
  • shareholder(s) are liable only for their contribution of capital 

SA (societe anonime): a joint stock company; great option for major businesses; commercial in form

  • 37,000 EUR minimum share capital
  • 2 shareholders to form; or 7 shareholders if listed on the stock exchange
  • Board of Directors is required
  • Must appoint a statutory auditor

SAS/SASU (societe par actions simplifiees): this is a simplified joint-stock corporation; Ideal for foreign investors who do not want to become resident in France; statutory freedom

  • 1 EUR minimum share capital
  • Typically 2 shareholders, but 1 works to form
  • Must appoint a chairman

 

EURL (Enterprise Unipersonnelle a Responsabilite Limitee): one person company with limited liability; entrepreneurs personal assets are protected; great for small-scale projects

  • 1 EUR minimum share capital
  • 1 shareholder
  • Management can be someone other than the sole shareholder

SNC (societe en nom collectif): is a commercial partnership; generally a family-run company 

There is also the option to create a Branch Office or set up a Subsidiary company in France. 

If you’re an individual looking to open a small business, there is another option for you. As a micro-entrepreneur the process is simplified. Open a micro-enterprise not as a legal business structure, but a tax status. The person operating the micro-enterprise must file as a self-employer Entreprise individuelle (EI). Tax wise this can be a great option for smaller businesses with a pay as you go approach. No need to open a business account, just a designated personal account will suffice. The downside is your personal assets won’t be protected as they would by establishing a SARL for instance. 

Steps to set up a company in France

You must open a business bank account and deposit a required amount. Although SARL, EURL and SA structures only require a 1 EUR minimum, you’ll need to deposit more than this in the account to start. Deposit 4,000 EUR and once your business is registered you will be able to withdrawal your money and use it as working capital. 

Since the COVID pandemic, it has become possible to open an account remotely. 

In France you are legally obligated to formally announce the opening of your new business. You should publish your announcement in an authorized newspaper or business publication. This formality is your company’s public introduction into the French business world. 

The Centre des Formalités des Entreprises can help you understand the French business regulations and how to set up your business. The process differs slightly depending upon each business structure and category. 

To incorporate your French company, have the following documents prepared: 

  • Completed application form
  • Certified copy of passport (for each shareholder/director if applicable) 
  • Proof of residency 

 

Next your documents will be sent to:

  • The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), which will register your company with the national business directory. 
  • The Centre des Impôts, or tax office
  • The Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce, commercial court

 

If you have employees, you will also need to inform the social security office to ensure you’re paying the right amount of pension and labor payments; along with the Caisses Sociales and Inspection du Travail and the Centre des Formalités des Entreprises or Chambres des Métiers.

Once you’ve opened your bank account and sent your documents to the appropriate registered offices, you will wait for your ‘Extrait Kbis’ (the certificate of incorporation). Along with this you’ll be assigned a SIREN number, a 14-digit unique code that serves as your company ID number. This will be written on all your official business documents, invoices and website. The activities of your business will be identified by an APE (Activite Principale de l’Entreprise) or NAF code. 

Taxation for Companies in France

We highly recommend connecting with a French accountant. Some company structures even require this. Lexidy has you covered! A French accountant can help you navigate the foreign tax system and ensure you reap the benefits of double tax agreements which may exist between your home country and France. As well as tax deductions and exemptions. Accountants can support you in matters of VAT returns and payroll and general financial planning for your company.

Currently, the corporate tax rate is set at a rate of 28%. While the value added tax (VAT) is set at 20%, though specific produces may qualify for reduced rates.  

Learn more about how to open a company in France 

We are here to help — that’s what we’re best at. Our Lexidy — Paris office has French and English-speaking experts. We can advise on a wide range of legal matters, including but not limited to Corporate, Immigration, Tax, Compliance and Real Estate

¨We will be with you each step of the journey.¨

 

What clients say about us

Lexidy Legal Tech
4.9
Based on 446 reviews
Declan Ryan
Declan Ryan
20:48 01 Jun 22
The Lexidy team is uniquely positioned to provide pan-European business and tax advisory services; what would be complex or impossible for a country-specific advisor is straightforward for Lexidy. They answered in days what would take weeks for other firms.
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17:31 24 Apr 22
I’ve dealt with hundreds of solicitors through business over the years but I must say Cristina and Lexidy Law are really something special. Responsiveness, proactiveness, knowledge and professionalism is, quite frankly, outstanding.M.
Signore Raffaele
Signore Raffaele
12:53 07 Sep 21
The service I have received from Hector has been extraordinary.He has helped me opening bank accounts, managing my NIE and setting up my company's branch in Spain.I am very grateful for the help and the exceptional treatment and management.I won't hesitate to contact him again for any other business I may need.
dawei2010
dawei2010
16:12 08 Apr 21
Our company engaged Lexidy Law Boutique to help pursue our monetary claim against a former business partner registered under Spanish jurisdiction. They provided a professional work and our claim got enforced even before it was expected. We will be happy to engage them anytime in the future for any civil law related matters and I can only recommend their services.
dk impprojects
dk impprojects
15:37 22 Feb 21
Lexidy law boutique services are very prompt and responsible, they created my business company in barcelona, spain. I received very good response from Maximiliano Agazzi for my residence permit issues. I am very much happy with Lexidy law boutique services.
Tom Elliott
Tom Elliott
11:44 18 Feb 21
Very helpful getting my business off the ground quickly and easily and affordably! Best of all, they speak English!
Dan Centinello
Dan Centinello
14:26 19 Nov 20
Let me start by saying that I normally do not write reviews - and I am often skeptical of the authenticity of the ones that are left. However, I feel like this law team has earned it and here's why...I am the type of person who will do endless research & contact several people before making a decision. I did the same when looking for a Spanish law firm that would be able to quickly handle my immigration matters and, most recently, help me with my leasing agreement for my apartment.They are extremely responsive (replying within a couple of hours of my messages) and even after office hours.Maximiliano, in particular, has been exceptional. He put a lot of effort to understand all the details of my situation so he can find the best solution.It was quickly evident that he understands that not all people have the same immigration situation and was going to tailor a solution specific to me.What impressed me most though was how he was thoughtful enough to make sure that his immigration solution did not impact my tax or business situation adversely. His focus on the big picture, while not missing the important small details is one of the main reasons why I felt compelled to write a review.Lastly, Max even made himself available during the time I was crossing the border, just in case I had any issues.With all this being said, I have worked with many lawyers in the past - many simply look for "a solution", but the great lawyers look for the "best solution". Everyone I have interacted with thus far at Lexidy seems to understand the latter. I feel very fortunate to have come across them in my research.I know how stressful it can be, especially when dealing with immigration issues. So, I hope this helps others out there that might be in the same situation I was in.
Michael Sandoval
Michael Sandoval
16:44 19 Oct 20
I have had the pleasure to work with a lot of Lexidy's departments. Working with Max Aggazi Paulet to achieve everything needed for my residency was incredible. he help endlessly until everything was accomplished. Soon after i began working with their Real estate department. It has been a journey and they have stuck with me every step of the way. They have gone beyond the scope of their duties to help my dreams of purchasing a property in Spain come to fruition. I would like to thank Alejandro Cano and Jordi Aranda for for everything. Last but not least through the entire Process I have had the absolute pleasure to work with Camila Broderson. She is a Gem. She has guided me in every step to work on opening my LLC in Spain and has also gone beyond the scope of her duties to assist and be available at any time. I plan to continue to work with team at Lexidy and would highly recommend them to everyone. Thank you Lexidy team for everything that you have done so far! I look forward to continuing our partnerships and friendships!
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