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Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on Thursday 12th September 2019

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FAQ.jpgThe process of company formation in France refers to a set of procedures which can vary from the decision on the type of the legal entity of the company to the establishment of a business office in a proper region for the respective business activity. Our team of company formation specialists in France can offer assistance for all the stages of the registration procedure and can also help the investors to comply with the relevant authorities for taxation purposes. 
 
Below, you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on company registration in France:
 

1. Can a foreigner start a business in France? 

 
Foreign investors who want to establish a company in France are allowed to incorporate a business here, following the procedure applicable under the local legislation. 

 

2. What legal entities are available in France? 

 
The commercial legislation applicable in France prescribes several legal entities which are also available to foreign investors: 
 
the joint stock company;
the stock corporation;
the sole proprietorship;
the commercial partnership.
 
As a general rule, most of the investors choose to associate in a business registered as a limited liability company, which provides many advantages to its investors; our team of company formation representatives in France can offer assistance on the rights and obligations prescribed for the founders of French company

 

3. Is France a contracting state of the double taxation treaties? 

 
Yes, France is a contracting state of the treaties for the avoidance of double taxation. France signed double taxation treaties with countries from around the world and foreign companies operating on the local market can benefit from their provisions, as long as they are tax residents of the states with which France concluded such a document.
 

4. Can a subsidiary be registered in France? 

 
A foreign company can set up a subsidiary in France, which is a type of company with legal personality. However, a large proportion of the company’s capital is owned by the parent company
 

5. Can I operate my company under a branch office in France?

 

Yes, the branch office is a suitable business form for foreign companies seeking to expand to France. If you want to open a branch office in France, you should know that you will need to prepare a set of documents and file them with the Trade Register.

Our company formation agents in France can explain the requirements related to setting up a branch office here.

 

6. Is there any difference between a subsidiary and branch in France?

Yes, there are several differences between these two legal entities. The most important one refers to the degree of independence of the company in France: the subsidiary will operate as any other local company and can develop other activities than the parent company’s, while the branch office will be limited to the activities of the parent company and has no decision power with respect to the capital investments. Another important difference between the branch and the subsidiary resides in the taxation: the subsidiary will be taxed on its worldwide income compared to the branch which will be taxed on the income generated in France.

 

7. What are the documents to prepare for opening a company in France?

The following documents mist be prepared when starting a business in France:

  1. the identification papers of the company owners if they are natural persons or company documents in the case of corporate shareholders;
  2. the foreign company’s statutory documents must be translated into French and notarized;
  3. the French company’s Articles of Association must also be drafted and notarized;
  4. information about the company director must also be provided in order to open a company in France;
  5. the legal address of the company in the French city in which it will operate (a virtual office can be used in the first stage of company registration).

You can rely on our company registration consultants in France for drafting and filing the documents required for opening a business in this country.

 

8. Are there any special requirements related to the company officers?

No, there are no special requirements related to the company officers, however, it is good to know that a company must have at least one shareholder in the case of private companies and at least 7 in the case of public companies. Also, at least one director must be appointed in the case of a private company, while 3 directors must be nominated in the case of a public company. There are no French residency requirements for the directors of any type of company.

 

9. Can a French company have a corporate director ?

Yes, corporate directors are allowed in France, so a foreign company can act as a director in a local company.

 

10. What is the minimum share capital to open a French company?

Under the current Company Law, the minimum share capital for a private company is 1 euro, while for the public company it is established at 37,000 euros.

 

11. Does the company need a bank account in France?

Yes, if you want to open a company in France, you will also be required to set up a bank account here. Our French company formation specialists can help you in this regard considering it can take up to one month.

 

12. Do I need to come to France if I want to register a company?

For the company registration procedure itself, you do not need to travel to France. As a matter of fact, it is a general practice for investors to first have someone register the company on their behalf and then relocate here. We can handle the incorporation procedure on behalf of clients all over the world.

 

13. What is the corporate tax rate in France?

The current corporate tax rate in France is 33%, however, various tax deductions are available depending on the industry you decide to open the company in.

 

14. Can I buy a property in France if I open a company?

Yes, you can purchase real estate in France if open a company here, however, it is good to know that you can buy a property here without starting a business.

 

15. Why do you recommend starting a business in France?

It is not just us that recommend setting up a company in France, but international organizations also do:

  • - according to UNCTAD, France attracted 50 billion USD in foreign investments in 2017;
  • - in 2018, the Paris regions came in 3rd in terms of headquarters for multinational companies, according to Fortune magazine;
  • - according to the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business report, France ranks 32nd out of 190 countries;
  • - France has also signed more than 90 bilateral investment agreements.
 
Businessmen interested in setting up a company a company in France can receive assistance on any matters referring to company formation from our team of company incorporation consultants. We can also help you register your business in France.

 
 

Meet us in Paris

Call us now at +33 9 73 22 01 51 to set up an appointment with our lawyers in Paris, France. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to France.

As a BridgeWest client, you will beneficiate from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in France.

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Starting a company in France can be difficult since it involves such complex procedures. The team from CompanyFormationFrance is very qualified and benefits from extensive expertise in this area.
Mihai Cuc, Partner of
Enescu & Cuc Law Firm
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