How to register a company in FRANCE in 2023
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.
Popular business entities in France
|LLC||PLC||Simplified JSC||Branch||Rep Office|
|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?||25%||25%||25%||25%||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||€13,946||€16,390||€13,946||€14,790||€12,940|
|Estimate of total annual costs thereafter (excl. accounting and tax fees)||€4,420||€1,400||€4,420||€1,400||€1,400|
|Sample engagement fee Invoice||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF||View invoice PDF|
Advantages and disadvantages 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 25%, 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;
- In 2021, accountancy firm EY ranks France as Europe’s most attractive foreign investment destination, ahead of the UK. The country received 985 foreign direct investments in 2020 (975 in the UK), with software and IT projects being the most popular.
- Business pecularities
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;
- Government control
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;
Typical France engagement steps and timeline
Typical France engagement 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.
- Check company name availability with the French Patent and Trademark Office (INPI) and the Commercial Court Registry
- Register the company’s name and apply for a Certificate of Uniqueness
- Open a corporate bank account and deposit the company’s share capital
- Submit company incorporation application to the Center for Administrative Procedures
- Publish a legal notice of incorporation in the legal gazette (JAL annonces légales)
- Register for a tax identification code;
Typical France engagement timelineStartEngagement Planning
1 weekCompany incorporation
2 weeksCorporate bank account approval
4 weeksCorporate internet banking approval
1 weekEngagement completion
1 week9 weeks
Additional support services
Opening a corporate bank account for a France company
Healy Consultants Group PLC recommends these 4 banks HSBC, Société Générale, BPCE and BNP Paribas for corporate bank account solutions.
Opening the corporate account can be completed within 2 weeks of France company formation. Our fee for this service will be €4,950.
France accounting & tax considerations25%
corporate tax in France20%
VAT rate in France25%
withholding tax on dividend payments25%
withholding tax on royalties payments30th April
filing deadline for corporate tax return123
signed double taxation treaties
The effective corporate tax rate can be as low as 9% for larger companies.
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
How long does it take to incorporate a French company?
Setting up a French company can be completed in about two weeks.
How difficult is it to open a corporate bank account for a French company?
It is very easy to open a corporate bank account with a reputable international bank in the France.
Am I required to visit France to incorporate a company there?
No. Healy Consultants can legally incorporate your France company without you needing to travel.
Is a resident director required?
A director is not required to be a resident in France.
What is the minimum number of directors required for a French company?
A French company needs a minimum of one director.
What is the minimum number of shareholders required for a French company?
A French limited liability company (SARL) requires a minimum of one shareholder.
Are shareholder/director details available for public viewing?
Yes, a register of directors and shareholders is available for public viewing.
What are the minimum capital requirements for a French company?
A minimum capital of 37,000 Euros (approximately US$46,582) is required for the formation of a SA (société anonyme), whereas the minimum capital requirement for a limited liability company (SARL) is 1 € (US$1.27).
Is a French company required to submit an annual return and/or financial statements?
A French company is obliged to submit an annual tax returns and audited financial statements.
How much tax does a French company pay?
A French company is liable to pay a profits tax of 25%.
Does a French company need to register for VAT?
A French company is required to register for VAT, which the standard rate is currently 20%.
Is it easy to incorporate a France company?
Yes. Our Clients are often pleased to find that incorporating a company in France is a straightforward process.
How much time does France business incorporation process take?
Company incorporation in France takes less than 2 weeks on average, once all the documentation requested by the French authorities has been provided.
Why should I use a company incorporation specialist to setup a French company?
French incorporation services providers will not only enable you to save time, but also money. The French tax system is very complicated and the right choice of business entity will allow you to reduce your tax payments. The use of Healy Consultants’ company incorporation services will improve your understanding of the French Tax code, so as to minimize the tax burden.
Do I need to travel to France to start a French company?
No, you will not be required to travel to France to incorporate a company in the country. Healy Consultants can assist you to complete incorporation procedures, provided our Firm receives a Power of Attorney (PoA) for that purpose.
Do I need to hire a director ordinarily resident in France for my French subsidiary?
No, it is not mandatory to appoint a French national or French resident as the director of the company. Still, our Firm recommends our Clients to appoint somebody who at least travels frequently to France to supervise the operations of the company and to liaise with the authorities.
What are the different business entity types in France?
Global entrepreneurs usually setup a Simplified Joint Stock Company (SAS)which provides additional advantages compared to a French LLC (SARL). PLCs (SA) are usually favored by investors with large financing needs and willing to list their company. Branches (branche) are usually chosen by corporates which want to keep 100% control over their subsidiary’s operations. Lastly, representative offices (bureau de liaison) are a smart solution to explore the French market while avoiding its high taxation.
Is there any wholly foreign business entity available in France?
Yes, all business entities that can be setup in France can also be 100% foreign-owned, without prior authorization from the government.
How can foreigners setup a limited liability company in France?
Business setup requirements in France for foreigners and French citizens are the same. Procedures commonly followed to open a company in France, which are described in the 12 steps to incorporate section, henceforth apply.
Why should I setup a company in France?
Business setup in France allows our Clients to tap into the UE’s 2nd largest consumer market. Please see more details in the advantages of France company registration section.
How to setup a company in France?
When setting up a business in France, main steps involved will be i) the creation of a corporation bank account ii) the submission of a detailed application to the Center for Administrative Procedures and iii) the publication of a legal notice of incorporation in the legal gazette.
Do I need to obtain a visa to travel to France in order to complete company formation procedures?
No, Healy Consultants can complete the procedures on your behalf, without any requirement for you to travel in order to complete formation of a France subsidiary.
How to open a company in France if I am not allowed to reside in France?
It is not required neither to reside in France nor to be a French national in order to start a company in the country. By using services provided by Healy Consultants’ France company formation specialists, our Clients avoid the need to travel to France for France company formation.
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