What is a SARL? And a SAS?
The SARL is a type of company that has between 2 and 99 shareholders. It has no capital requirements and it’s fast and simple to register. That’s why the SARL is a common way to start a business. Most professional activities can be incorporated as a SARL, except for pharmacies that are excluded.
The SAS is the simplified type of the SARL. The procedure to create a SAS results in a standard set of company bylaws. There are no capital requirements — 1 euro is enough.
For both types, in France a company may only exist for 99 years.
What are the costs?
You can either choose our flat fee of 1200€ for company formation of either a SARL or SAS, or choose our offer of free company formation when you pay one year of our accounting service. For both options, our fee includes all the costs to fully create and register your company. The Scriabin fee, la Greffe or registry fee, stamp duty, and name certificate are all paid by us.
Note that when you form a company in France, there are accounting and tax filing obligations. Under new regulations, the appointment of a French Chartered Accountant is mandatory, because only an authorized French CPA can file for taxes, VAT and annual accounts. A company address must be included. We provide those services for an extra fee.
Keep this in mind when adding up the costs of establishing a company in France.
How long will it take?
From the time you arrive at our office in Paris or you send us a power of attorney, it will take roughly 1-2 weeks for the company to be fully established. If you take the trip, we will organize the signing at the bank and obtain the Siren/Siret.
What are the steps to form a company in France?
- We send your list of desired company names for approval.
- We prepare your incorporation. Your intended business activity must be registered and approved.
- You come to Paris to sign the deed. The company can start doing business and enter into contracts as soon as the incorporation documents are executed.
- We register your company with the tax authorities and apply for licenses if necessary. As soon as we get the NAF/TVA for the SARL, you can start invoicing your clients with the French company.
Are there any limitations when naming a company in France?
France is quite permissible regarding company names. A given company name can only be used by one company in the same industry, but the same name can be used in different industries. You may not include a country or region (such as “France” or “Europe”) within the name. The first step for us is to find out with the Register of the Commercial Courts and the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle if the name you want is taken in the industry of your choice.
We can check several names at once with the Register, though the Register’s response time can take several days. Because of this, we recommend that you come up with several possible names, in the order you prefer.
What will I receive?
When you establish a company with us, you will receive the following:
- The “Kbis” company deed, including shares, bylaws, and title of ownership
- Company tax ID
We have a client area where these documents will be available. Once posted, we will send you the login information. If you use our accounting and payroll services, all related documents for these services will also appear in your client area.
What are the tax and accounting obligations for a company in France?
Before you can register a SARL in France, a ‘carte de commerçant étranger’ is compulsory for the directors, regardless of whether they fiscally reside in France or not. You can appoint anyone as “gérant” (director or nominee director) as long as they are in one of the following categories:
- A French citizen
- A citizen of a member country of the OECD
- A person with long-term or permanent residency in France (visa de “long séjour“).
The gérant must be an individual, not a company. The gérant is automatically registered in the French Social Security system on incorporation. The gérant must pay social security contributions as a self-employed person. Individuals paying contributions to social security in another EU country will not have to pay French Social Security, but the payment must be real and proven.
Once the SARL is registered, it’s required to file tax forms every quarter, as well as yearly tax forms. You are also required to present the accounts to the Company Registry every year. These requirements hold true even if your company has no financial movements. See our accounting page for more information.
Can I avoid the trip to France?
Yes, you can give us a power of attorney with a Hague Apostille. However, in order to create a bank account, the banker will need to see you in person.
Will the company have a VAT number?
Yes, the company will have a French tax ID, which is the VAT number. You will have the tax ID once we register the company with the tax authorities. With the tax ID, your French company can issue invoices with VAT tax.
If the company will be exchanging frequent invoices with companies within the EU but outside France, then you may want to be listed in the EU VAT registry (VIES) so you won’t have to bill and be billed for VAT on your EU transactions. Please ask us for more details about this service.
Do I need an address in France for the company?
Companies doing business in France are required to have a corporate address in France. It is the public address that shows up if anyone does a search on your company, such as a credit search or a search for judicial reasons. It is also where your year-end accounting books get sent to.
If you do not have an address in France, we offer a registered address service.