Looking to set up offices in France? – Yes, but how should you go about it?
Looking to set up offices in France? If so, there are three different ways to go about it. Expert Matthieu Van Gucht from our Lille office lists them below.
1. The liaison office
From a market research perspective, one option is to open a liaison office in France. This will allow you to make initial contacts within your future French market, all without going through any procedural red tape. However, only non-commercial activities are permitted in this instance.
2. The branch office
With a branch office, you are choosing to invest more in France. As such, the branch will have its own trading funds, separate from those of the parent company. It will operate as a kind of foreign company, and therefore has no legal personality of assets in its own right. The branch must be registered with the Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés
(French company register).
With regards to taxation, branches are subject to French tax, just like any other French company.
3. The subsidiary
Subsidiaries are companies incorporated under the same legal form as French companies (SA, SAS, SARL, etc.). While they are controlled by their parent company (the foreign company), they have their own legal personality and assets.
Classed as a French company, the subsidiary is taxable in France and therefore subject to tax filing formalities under French law.
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We base our advice on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from being able to challenge it or to change existing interpretations.