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Starting a Business in France as a One-Person Company

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What you need to know about starting a One-Person company in France.

The one-person company has a legal personality and its own assets. In fact, the sole partner limits their financial responsibility to just contributions. Another advantage is that it operates more easily because it is comprised of shares.

On the other hand, these companies must respect particular legal formalities outside of their constitution (establishing articles of association/bylaws) and throughout their social life (holding Annual General Meetings/AGMs) as well as more cumbersome accounting obligations than those for a sole proprietor, making them costlier.

There are two forms of associated corporation possible:

  • The EURL (a one-person limited liability company)

OR

  • The SASU (a simplified shareholder company)

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Starting a Business in France as a Sole Trader

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Our insight on starting up as a Sole Trader in France.

The company set-up for a Sole Trader does not have any legal entity and does not own its assets. There is actually no distinction between the sole trader’s own assets and those of the company. This therefore means that property, developed or undeveloped but linked to the Sole Trader, is liable to be seized by creditors. In fact, the financial capacity of the company is only limited to the personal circumstances of the entrepreneur. We therefore advise against this type of set-up for an activity which is relatively capital-intensive.

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Starting a Business in France as a Micro-Enterprise

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Setting up as a Micro-Enterprise: What should you know?

When looking to setup a business alone, there are two possibilities available to you:

  • Applying in your own name (either as an individual business or a micro-enterprise)

OR

  • Creating a one-person company (either as an EURL – a one-person limited liability company or a SASU – a simplified shareholder company)

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Choosing the right Legal Structure for your Venture in France

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Foreign companies: which is the best legal structure to adopt when making one’s first steps towards the French market?

Liaison office, branch, subsidiary… You should decide on a structure that meets your needs in terms of development (short-term or long-term) and desired level of control for the foreign company (low or high). However, the tax consequences and social obligations for each structure differ considerably, and therefore deserve a short analysis.

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Foreign Companies & Corporate tax in France

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As a foreign company establishing itself in France: under which conditions are you subject to corporate tax in France?

If you are looking to expand your activities in France, you will find yourself subject to corporate tax if you have set up a Permanent Establishment.

The sources of income that are subject to corporate tax in France are: on the one hand, those generated by “business carried out in France” [1], and on the other, those that fit the criteria set out in the international Non-Double Tax Treaties.

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Starting up in France

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Words by Patrick Maupard on setting up a business in the French market

Are you thinking about expanding to France or finally making the jump and starting up in the Paris Region? Maupard Fiduciaire’s CEO and founding partner Patrick Maupard talks about the French business environment and states some facts that could positively influence your decision.

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Start recovering your startup costs in France today

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Startup costs:

How to recover startup costs in France?

Starting a business in France is different to starting one in other countries in Europe. In other European countries, incorporation is immediate, however, in France this process takes time because of French administrative formalities. During this period you can still work for your clients as a ‘company in formation’ and spend money for the company. These costs are incurred before the company exists so how can you recover them?

Don’t panic. French corporate law provides for this scenario with Article L. 210-6 of the code de commerce to help to recover startup costs in france.

What kind of costs can be absorbed by the company?

“Plane tickets, travelling around the city, appointments with future clients, deposits on premises, purchasing stock, licence applications, tax and accounting services, and, depending on the sector, investigations and studies, testing, reports, evaluations etc. It’s important for companies that are starting up to understand how to use the law to transfer these expenses to your company immediately after incorporation, and one of our aims as a business adviser in France is to support start-ups with their first steps into the French market.” – Patrick Maupard, CEO and founding partner of Maupard Fiduciaire.

In practice, the start-up costs are absorbed by the company at the time of its incorporation, as, during the first general meeting, all of the shareholders create and agree on the list of start-up expenses to be transferred to the company. They can either be posted as an amortizable asset in the balance sheet or as a current expense in the profit and loss account.

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