France Company Formation

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Company Formation and Related Services



Buying a European shelf company with VAT number

Whenever you need to start doing business immediately in a European country and you need a company with a VAT number, you don’t have to wait for the bureaucratic procedures.

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Partner Law Firms

We encourage you to contact our partner law firms in Bucharest: Rolegal and E&C, both part of our legal network.

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Tax Minimization Structures

BridgeWest is specialized in special corporate structures designed for tax minimization. No matter where you want to incorporate your company, you will need to consider how you can legally minimize costs.

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Company Formation in France


Setting up a company in France can be done in a short amount of time and implies low costs.

Any person - no matter his or her nationality or residency - can be a director or a shareholder in a company in France. Shareholders of a French company can be natural persons or legal entities. The company must have a local registered office and BridgeWest offers this type of service.

A plan containing financial information for the future activities of the company is needed and it can be provided by the specialists from BridgeWest. For the incorporation of a limited company in France, the minimum share capital required is 1 EUR.

The first step when deciding to incorporate a company in France is to choose the company name and submit it with the French Trade Register. After obtaining the name approval, the following stages must be covered in order to benefit from a fast company incorporation procedure:

- the client must present identification documents, such as passport copies, identification cards or driver license of both shareholders and directors and a recent utility bill or a bank statement as proof of residential address and criminal records;

- in order to open a bank account, the above mentioned documents are required together with the application forms from the bank where the share capital will be deposited. The minimum start-up capital for company incorporation in France is 1 EUR;

- once all documents have been prepared, the company’s articles of association (“statuts”) can be drafted and signed by the shareholders;

- the client is also required to buy an accounting book from authorized stores or from the Commercial Court;

- the last step will be submitting all required documentation with the French Commerce Register.

Bridgewest provides help with:

- drawing up the articles of association that can be signed through power of attorney (French laws require powers of attorney for any public notary proceedings);

- drawing up documents for company incorporation in France: specimen signatures, passport copies, application form required for company registration;

- arranging public notary proceedings (all procedures for company incorporation are done in front of a French public notary);

- providing a registered office in France on demand; the registered office serves as headquarters for the company in France and it will be made public;

- setting up a bank account for the company in France; BridgeWest will help in setting up the share capital bank account, as well as a current bank account once the company is incorporated.

- recommending a French accountant, as accounting services are needed for new businesses in France.

Types of companies in France

The French limited liability company (Société A Responsabilité Limitée - S.A.R.L.)

French limited liability companies are mainly chosen by small businesses because they do not require a minimum share capital. Individuals and legal entities are allowed to register limited liability companies and their number is at least two and at most 100. Shareholders will be held liable to the extent of their contributions. Limited liability companies must be registered with the French Trade Register.

The French joint stock company (Société Anonyme - S.A.)

A French joint stock company requires at least seven shareholders who can be individuals or legal entities and a minimum share capital of 37,000 EUR. The French joint stock company must have at least three directors. The liability of the shareholders will be limited to their capital contributions. Shares can be transferred or traded on the stock exchange.

The French simplified stock corporation (Société par actions simplifiée - S.A.S.) - The French simplified stock corporation provides its shareholder an easy and fast registration.

Only two shareholders are required and they will be held liable for the company’s obligations to the extent of their capital contributions. The minimum share capital for a French SAS is 37,000 euro and it also requires a chairman or a president elected by the shareholders. The simplified stock corporation must register with the French Trade Register.

French branch, subsidiary or representative office

Foreign companies are allowed to set up separate enterprises from the parent company, where the foreign company will be a shareholder in a French company. Foreign companies can also open extensions of the parent company in France.

Taxation in France

The standard VAT rate in France is 20%, but reduced rates of 10%, 5.5% and 2.1% are applied to certain products.

The corporate tax in France is 33%.

The tax for dividends paid by French companies to non-resident shareholders is set at 30%, unless exemptions are applied due to double taxation agreements or other regulations, the tax on royalties is set at 33% and there is a zero percent rate on interests.

BridgeWest is also able to offer ready-made French companies and VAT registration.

Please contact us for more information about how to open the company in France and prices. Our local company formation specialists will offer you details and professional assistance.


Articles on Company Formation in France

Types of French Companies

Formation of a French Joint Stock Company (Société Anonyme - S.A.) The Joint Stock company in France may not be formed by less then seven shareholders, individuals or legal entities that provide at least EUR 37.000 as a minimum capital. The shareholders must appoint a minimum of three ...

Set up a French company

The French business environment is created on the basis of a strong economy, with strategic fields and major investments and, being a member of the G8 group of leading initialized countries, France absorbs and encourages on one hand domestic company foundation and, on the other hand, foreign investm ...

The French Registry of Commerce and Companies

The French Registry of Commerce and Companies, or the Registre de commerce et des sociétés (RCS) includes all natural and legal persons engaged in commercial activities, and other entities according to the Act of December 19, 2002 on non profit foundations, civil society etc. The Trade ...

Open Company Branch or Subsidiary in France

Foreign investors who wish to incorporate a business may do so by establishing a brand new company, and going through the incorporation procedure or extend their business through a branch established in France. Foreign investment is encouraged in France, and entrepreneurs will benefit from a non-dis ...

Guide to Company Incorporation in France

1. What is the minimum share capital of a French S.A.R.L. (Limited Liability Company)? In order to set up a French S.A.R.L. or French Limited Liability Company the law does not require a minimum capital, as this requirement has been removed since 2003. Before that, the minimum capital was 8000 EUR. ...

Paying Taxes in France

  1. What is the corporate tax in France? Under French tax law the corporate tax is an annual direct tax that affects all profits made by corporations and business entities. Corporations domiciled or managed in France are obliged to have full corporation tax liability, having their do ...

VAT in France

1. What is the VAT in France? The VAT in France has a standard rate of 19.6% since April 2000 and applies to the majority of products and services, while the reduced rate of 5.5% applies only to some sectors, such as public health or culture. 2. How can I get a VAT refund in France? Most entrepreneu ...

Company Law in France

The main document to which French company law submits is the Commercial Code (Code de Commerce). Moreover, the Civil Code and the Monetary and Financial Code are also considered sources of the rules that apply to the establishment of French companies. The French Registry of Commerce and Companies, o ...

Doing Business in France

Country profile France is a republic with 22 administrative regions that contain 96 departments. Its population of 65 million lives either in the metropolitan area, or in overseas territories. France is considered the largest West-European Country, with a surface of 545,630 kilometers square of land ...

Foreign Investments in France

General overview At the moment, there are over 20,000 foreign companies in France, employing over 2.3 million people. In 2010, France registered 782 new foreign investment projects, creating more than 30,000 jobs, according to the Invest in France Agency. Some European Statistics situate France in t ...

Why Invest in France

France is one of the leading foreign investment recipients in Europe. Its stable economy and high quality of life are among the most frequent reasons for entrepreneurs to choose France as their investment destination. In a report published in 2010 by the Invest in France Agency under the name &ldquo ...

Setting up a Limited Liability Company (SARL) in France

If a foreign investor intends to set up a Limited Liability Company in France or a Societe a Responsabilite Limitee (SARL), it is necessary to know that this type of company is the best choice for small and medium-sized businesses. Although the French system is rather complex and you may need some g ...

Setting up a Joint Stock Company (Société Anonyme) in France

Joint stock corporations are very common in France and they are known as Société Anonyme or SA. The French Joint Stock Companies are preferred by foreign investors who want to set up a larger business. Capital The minimum capital required for setting up a SA in France is 37,000 EUR. At ...

Lawyer in France

Lawyers in France practise in either private or public law. Private law focuses on civil and criminal law, while public law means especially administrative and constitutional law. In 2007, there were over 47,000 lawyers in France, out of which half were practising in Paris. The profession of an atto ...

French Public Notary

A public notary in France is responsible for written agreements, contracts and other official documents. French public notaries play an important role in the legal system. In 2007, there were over 8,500 notaries in France and more than 4,500 notarial offices. Public notaries in France are highly edu ...

French Accountant

A French accountant provides numerous services, from offering advice to dealing with all sorts of financial matters. The profession of French accounting is regulated by law and the principles of an accountant in France are based on the Commercial Code, the Plan Comptable General, and the Code Genera ...

Power of Attorney in France

The Power of Attorney in France is known as a “procuration” in French and has the role of granting the person appointed the right to represent the person who grants the power, as well as undertake actions on behalf of the latter. The French Power of Attorney or POA is necessary when a pe ...

Business Start-up Costs in France

1. What is the minimum share capital? An entrepreneur who wants to set up a business in France, can choose between the formation of a limited liability company or a joint stock company. The first type does not require a minimum share capital higher than one euro, but when it comes to a joint stock c ...

Company Liquidation in France

BridgeWest handles all steps required for company liquidation in France. Please contact us via email or phone for appointing a liquidator to carry on the company dissolution, submitting the required application forms, dealing with the Court, closing the company's bank account or any other ...

Open a Representative Office in France

BridgeWest handles opening representative offices in France and in other European countries. For more information, please contact us. What are the special requirements for creating a French Representative Office? To increase the presence at a global level and assist their clients who wish to do bus ...

Register a Non Profit Organization in France

The French associations are forms of non-profit organization settled in France under the “Association Loi 1901”. The association created in France may be declared or non-declared, this affecting the way of operating. For example, a non-registered association opened in France cannot ope ...

Nominee Director in France

The French company’s articles of association are stipulating that minimum one administrator is required in order to act in the name of the entity on the market and perform all the necessary actions required for registration. The French joint stock company (Société Anonyme - S.A ...

Open Business in France
We guarantee a cost-efficient solution for full company setup, bank account and VAT registration

Meet us in Paris

Call us now at +44 203 287 0408 to set up an appointment with our lawyers and accountants in Paris, France. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to France.

As a BridgeWest client, you will beneficiate from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Together we will be able to offer you the specialized help you require for your business start-up in France.