Foreign companies have several choices when deciding to establish their operations in France. Considering each company has its own needs and purpose, they can choose subsidiaries and branches if they intend to carry out commercial activities in France, or they can set up liaison or representative offices if they want to test the local market first.
Our company formation representatives in France can offer extended information on the main differences between branches, subsidiaries and liaison offices.
The representative or liaison office, bureau de liaison in French, is the best option when deciding to verify if the French market suits one’s goals. The French liaison office can be used for marketing and advertising purposes, but also to act as contact point between a foreign parent company and its business partners. Foreign entities may also use their representative offices in France to carry out research activities.
Representative offices in France are restricted from undertaking any commercial activity, therefore it cannot sign contracts on behalf of the parent company or be considered a separate legal entity from the foreign company.
In order to open a liaison office in France, one must appoint a local representative who will register the office with the local social security authorities and with the tax office. The liaison office is not required to register for VAT, as it cannot carry out any income-generating activity, however the social security registration is required as the parent company may have an employee or send a delegate from the main offices to handle the French representative office’s operations.
The documents required to set up a liaison office in France are the same as when opening a branch office. For this purpose, the Certificate of Incorporation and the Articles of Association of the parent company and a resolution for the establishment of the liaison office are required. The passport or other identification papers of the person registering the office are also required.
For assistance in opening a representative office, do not hesitate to contact our company registration agents in France.