France offers a booming market for entrepreneurs interested in expanding their business ventures. If you’ve been considering an opportunity to expand your business outside your jurisdiction, we can help you set up a company in France!

Holding a prestigious spot in the world economy, this European country has a lot to offer foreign investors. France’s population of around 66 million people offers a lucrative market for you to invest in.

Tourism, pharmaceuticals, food exports, and fashion are at the heart of France’s economy. With unwavering high standards and a favorable position in the world economy, setting up your company in France will prove beneficial for you.

Its closeness to the profitable UK market and its position in the post-Brexit Eurozone make France an ideal choice for companies that need to transfer their businesses in the EU or trade with the UK.

Setting up a company with the help of experienced professionals ensures the smoothest, most cost-effective procedure for you.

Forms Of Companies In France
  • SARL “société à responsabilité limitée”—limited liability company
  • EURL “entreprise unipersonelle à responsibilité limitée”—limited company in the ownership of one person
  • SAS “société par actions simplifiée”—limited liability company by shares
  • S.A “A Societé Anonyme”—public limited company that;s normally used by businesses that want to go public on the stock exchange or increase their shareholders
  • SELARL “société d’exercice libéral à responsabilité limitée”—a special form of SARL, the SELARL was created for self-employed professionals such as physicians and lawyers.

Most of the companies in France are incorporated under the form of a SARL [société à responsabilité limitée].

What are the differences between SARL and SAS?

A SAS is a simplified stock option for joint ventures between French companies and foreign partners. This is a popular choice among U.S. business owners looking to set up subsidiaries in France, but the process is slightly more complicated than for setting up SARL.

  • The main difference between the two is how the director gets remunerated. In cases where the shareholder of your business is another company, there is no difference in the director’s remuneration in the SARL type.
  • A SARL can be registered without setting up a bank account, but SAS can’t be set up without the payment of share capital. These formalities prolong the process of company registration since it requires the company director to visit the country.
  • SAS needs to appoint auditor if the company owns or is owned by another company. If two of the following three thresholds are met, an auditor is also necessary:
    1. There is a turnover of over €2M
    2. There are more than 20 employees
    3. The total of the balance sheet is over €1M

    SARL require an auditor when two of the following conditions are met:

    1. There are more than 50 employees
    2. The pre-tax turnover is €3.1M
    3. The total of the balance sheet is over €1.55M
  • A SAS may issue warrants, preferred shares, convertible bonds, and other types of financial instruments. A SARL cannot issue any of these.
  • A SARL is managed by one or more directors, both of whom have identical powers. A SAS only gives authority to one President who acts on behalf of the company. A SAS may not have two Presidents, however, the Director General may be appointed and granted powers similar to those of the President.

Have any queries about SARL and SAS companies? Contact us today and we’ll help you make the right choice!

Fundamentals Of A Limited Liability Company

Corporate Tax in France

VAT in France

28 - 31%

20%

Fundamentals of SARL and SAS
Limited liability company

SARL, SAS

Minimum Share capital1 EUR
Registered office requiredYes
Physical office requiredNo
Min. number of Shareholders1
Min. number of Directors1
Local Director requiredNo
Local secretary requiredNo
Bank signatory must travelYes
Timescale for company formation14 days
Timescale for bank account opening

3 weeks if physical bank

Timescale for obtaining VAT number7 days
Statutory audit requirementsNo
Shelf companies availableNo
How Can I Set Up My Company In France?

Depending on the company of your choice, the length of the process may vary. Whether you opt for a SAS or SARL company, there are different requirements for opening a bank account that can considerably impact the duration of the process.

If you’re opting for a SARL, we can start the company’s incorporation process without waiting for the bank’s acceptance. This process is relatively quick and allows you to open the bank account after you have received the company creation certificate. The shareholder must pay the capital after the bank account has been set up.

When choosing a SARL, you can decide between a bank account with a physical or online bank. If you choose the online bank option, everything can be done remotely without the need to travel to France.

In the case of a SAS company, the process may be drawn out a little longer. You need to receive the bank’s approval before you proceed, and the company director must travel for identification and payment of share capital. Once the certificate of payment is issued by the bank, we can start the process of registering your company.

Depending on the choice of a form and how fast you are delivering required information and documents, the process may vary in duration. It can take anywhere between 2 weeks to 4 weeks to finally get the required registrations.

Registering for social security is a quick, easy process for a registered French company. All you need to do is send a detailed form to the URSSAF to get started. By receiving the DPAE declaration, your employees will be registered to the social security.

Since the SIRET number is needed for the DPAE declaration, the first step is to ensure your due registration processes are complete.

Want to find out more? Take a look at our HR services page to find out how we can help you!

Setting Up A Branch Office In France

Once the financial aspects of your business are taken care of, we can start the registration process. You’re asked to submit three possible company names and we’ll check their availability in the Commercial Court Registry. Once that is approved, we’ll apply for a Certificate of Uniqueness.

When we’ve received all documentation from you and the share capital deposit has been paid (in the case of SAS), we send a memorandum for your signature. Your bank account will be opened during this time.

Once we receive this signed document from you, we’ll proceed with the registration process and provide the registration certificate in approximately 1–2 weeks. We’ll also take care of publishing about the incorporation of your company in the legal gazette.

The last step of the registration process is the tax registration for your newly established company. The tax authorities will directly send the VAT number to your company’s registered address. The bank account opening process will work alongside the tax registration process.

In case your company requires any licenses or needs to employ people in France, please get in touch with us and we’ll notify you about the following steps.

How Can You Open Bank Account In France?

Getting your company started in many countries requires a bank account. Opening a bank account in a foreign company can seem complicated, but CompyCo’s experts will provide you guidance and support every step of the way. With some of the best international banking facilities in the world, we maintain close relationships with all types of banks in France.

We offer various banking solutions for French companies. Depending on your situation, you can visit the country or opt for a remote bank account opening. Your type of business activity, location, and personal preferences can help you decide which banking solutions are ideal for you.

The minimum share capital required for the incorporation of SARL is 1€, but most physical banks wouldn’t set up an account for you with such a small amount. Instead, many banks prefer receiving a “working capital” deposit of around €4,000. This amount shows the bank that you can cover your operational costs.

If you opt for a high street bank, the process of opening an account can delay your company registration by up to 3 weeks. You can save time by registering a SARL and opening an online bank account after that; this will allow you to set up your company in a total of 2-3 weeks!

For more information about opening a bank account, head over here.

Accounting & Taxation

Some accounting considerations to keep in mind:

  • France operates under a 20% VAT rate
  • All French tax returns need to be filed by 30th April after the end of the company’s financial year.
  • Corporate tax in the country is 33%
How Can You Employ Staff In France?

France has a large, highly-qualified workforce that you can hire for your company. Once your company gets the SIRET number, we’ll be able to register your business as an employer. This includes the registration of:

  • Social security
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Occupational medicine
  • Supplementary retirement (optional)

If you’re opting for the retirement fund, we will ensure that it’s done by the payroll provider since it’s the first social contribution declaration. With the first social declaration, the registration to the retirement fund is automatic.

Each of the above registrations must be done separately and the process is the same for employers without a fixed business establishment too. The only two that can be done simultaneously are the life and health insurance if they’re registered to the same person.

The social security registration needs to be done first and is recommended to be done 8 days before. Once you provide us the necessary data, the declaration can be made within a few minutes.

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