Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC has assisted our multi-national Clients’ Clients with company registration in France.
Our professional services include i) France company formation services and ii) secure government business license registration and iii) corporate bank account opening services in France and iv) employee recruitment services and visa strategies and iv) office rental solutions in Paris and vii) accounting and tax services.
|LLC||PLC||Simplified Joint |
|Also known as||SARL||SA||SAS||Branche||Bureau de liaison|
|How long to set the company up?||2 weeks||2 weeks||2 weeks||3 weeks||2 weeks|
|How long to open company bank account?||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|Wholly foreign owned?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Minimum paid-up share capital?||€1||€37,000||€1||€0||€0|
|Must file annual corporation tax return?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Tax Registration Certificate required?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Corporate bank account recommendation||BPCE||BNP Paribas||Societe Generale||HSBC||HSBC|
|Does our Client need to travel?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Resident director required?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Resident shareholder required?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Minimum directors allowed?||1||3||1||1||1|
|French resident company secretary required?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Corporate shareholders allowed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Corporate director(s) allowed?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Public register of shareholders and directors?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|France corporate tax rate?||33%||33%||33%||33%||0%|
|Annual financial statements required?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Statutory audit always required?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Allowed to issue sales invoices?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Allowed to sign contracts?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Allowed to import and export goods?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Can rent an office in France?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can buy France property?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Can own equity in other French companies?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Estimate of total business setup costs in Yr. 1||€13,790||€16,390||€13,790||€14,790||€12,940|
|Estimate of total annual costs thereafter (excl. accounting and tax fees)||€1,400||€1,400||€1,400||€1,400||€1,400|
|Sample engagement fee Invoice||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF|
Advantages of doing business in France
Revenue from sales can be high. While taxes are high in France, our Clients’ sales income can also be high because France boasts the 2nd largest consumer market in Europe, with 65 million locals spending up to €2 trillion annually;
Even though the published corporation tax rate is 34%, Healy Consultants Group PLC helps our Clients enjoy an effective tax rate of 9%. With our deep knowledge of the French taxation system and our “think outside the box” approach, we legally optimize the use of legal tax incentives and exemptions available for French companies;
Good source of funding
The Public Investment Bank offers low-interest loans of up to €1.5 million to finance innovation projects in companies that have i) less than 250 employees; ii) less than 50 million in annual revenue and iii) been operating for at least 3 years;
While France is famous for its 35 hour week, French employees are also the 7th most productive staff in the world according to the OECD, and the 5th ones in the European Union. Employees in this country have high work ethic and focus on delivering results;
Get equity investment
Equity investment of up to €15 million is offered by the government to unlisted resident companies that have at least i) €20 million in annual turnover and ii) one profitable year within the last three years;
Obtain loan financing from banks
Companies meeting certain requirements can benefit from a public guarantee scheme on bank loans financing the design and development of new products/services and R&D investments.
Disadvantages of doing business in France
Getting business done in France can be challenging because some of their citizens may focus on problems. A habitual focus on what is wrong rather than on what’s going well. Consequently, it can be painful for a foreigner not used to the local culture to run a business and deal with French customers and staff;
Annual business costs
Multi-national companies prefer not to register a company in France because of the extreme high costs of doing business in this European country including i) high staff costs and ii) imposing the highest total taxes on the planet;
There is significant Government control over business activities in France. A painful amount of complex paperwork and filings and reports makes business slow and difficult;
Labor costs and Labor Laws
France laws are very protective of employees’ rights and labour costs are also amongst the highest in Europe. It is both difficult and expensive to terminate poor performing employees or to reduce staff costs when sales are low. It is hence imperative for foreigners to hire a qualified French HR team;
The language barrier
Business is done in France through the local language. All business documents must be in French! It is difficult to communicate in English, as local people will be unable or unwilling to speak in this language.
Types of French companies
Limited Liability Company
The French LLC or Société à responsabilité limitée (SARL) is commonly used by entrepreneurs to setup an SME. An LLC must appoint at least 1 director and 1 shareholder, who can be of any nationality. Furthermore, France limited liability company requirements specify that only €1 will be needed to complete the incorporation process.
Public Limited Company
The French Public Limited Company or Société anonyme (SA) setup requires a minimum share capital of €37,000. Furthermore, at least 7 shareholders and 3 directors must be appointed, whom can be of any nationality. PLCs are also required to go through an annual audit and must designate a statutory auditor for that purpose.
To give your company a marketing edge, Healy Consultants recommends our Clients establish a French PLC instead of an LLC or an SAS. In France, it is not necessary for a PLC to list on the stock exchange.
Simplified Joint-Stock Company
Like an LLC, the Simplified Joint-Stock Company or Société par actions simplifiée (SAS) business entity can also be incorporated with 1 director and 1 shareholder with only €1 as the minimum paid up share capital. However, it offers additional advantages including i) directors may be corporate entities and ii) no limit on number of shareholders.
European Stock Corporation
Two EU based companies can choose to incorporate as a European Stock Corporation or Entreprise européenne. A minimum amalgamated paid up share capital of at least €120,000 is required. The main advantage of this business entity is that our Clients will be exempted from setting up a complex network of subsidiaries under different national laws.
Branch of a foreign company
French Corporate law stipulates that a branch (branche) office can be 100% foreign owned. France regulations also allow for the scope of operations for this entity and its business structure to be defined by the parent company. Also, the branch office will have an independent management team and corporate bank account based in France. Branches suffer French corporation tax and an additional remittance tax of 30%. If the branch encounters financial difficulties, the parent company bears unlimited liability for its debts.
While the French representative office or Bureau de liaison can be 100% foreign owned, it is not allowed to make direct sales with France. In France, this corporate structure can consequently only engage in i) market research and ii) promoting the business of the parent company.
Incorporate a company in France in 6 steps
A French limited liability company can be incorporated within 2 weeks with 1 director and 1 shareholder, who can be of any nationality. The minimum paid-up share capital required is €1 and our Clients do not need to travel to France to complete the engagement.
Time required to start a new SARL company in France is 9 weeks
Open a corporate bank account in France without travel
Opening the corporate account can be completed within 2 weeks of France company formation. Our fee for this service will be €4,950.
Accounting and tax considerations
corporate tax in France
VAT rate in France
withholding tax on dividend payments
withholding tax on royalties payments
April filing deadline for corporate tax return
signed double taxation treaties
The effective corporate tax rate can be as low as 9% for larger companies.
France visa requirements
Only non-EU/EFTA citizens are required to secure a work visa in order to work in France.
Non EU/EFTA entrepreneurs opening a company in France will be required to obtain either a residence permit for resident directors or a circulation visa for non-resident directors.
Employers will be required to apply for a work permit (valid up to 3 years) for hiring a non-EU/EFTA national. This can only be done after company formation in France.
This visa is issued for 3 months for the purpose of either tourism or short-term business.
Frequently Asked Questions
To recommend the optimum non-travel banking strategy for your business, kindly complete the 5-minute questionnaire below.
Within 2 hours thereafter, a senior Consultant will ring you to discuss the specific results you need from Healy Consultants PLC: