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In France there are multiple types of legal entity structures, such as:

  • Société A Responsabilité Limitée (SARL) Private Limited Company.

  • Société par Actions Simplifiée (SAS) Simplified Joint Stock Company.

  • Societe Anonyme (SA) Public limited company.


Private Limited Company / SARL

All Limited Companies (SARL) must file accounts once a year with Greffe de Tribunal de Commerce and the French Tax Authorities. This must be done within 4 months of the company year end. These should be prepared by a Registered Accounting Firm. A Commissaire aux Comptes (Audit) will not be required unless you meet certain levels; an example of this is a turnover exceeding €3,100,000. The minimum share capital required is EUR 1.


Simplified Joint Stock Company / SAS

This type of company is the best choice for foreign companies starting in the French market. The great advantage of a SAS is that it can appoint a corporate director and can be held, without any problem, by a corporate shareholder. This is particularly beneficial if the parent company is located outside the EU. You can also set up a stock-option plan with this type of company. The minimum share capital required is

EUR 1.

Public Limited Company / SA

This type of company is the best choice if you want to float your company on the stock market in France. The minimum share capital required is EUR 1.

On formation of a company a bank account must be maintained.


After the formation the company must register for Corporation tax, VAT and Payroll taxes.


Corporation Tax: Taxable profits are taxed at 33.33%. A company can have a 15% corporate tax rate on profits up to EUR 38,120 providing they comply with the following:

  • The company must be trading.

  • At least 75% of the capital must be owned by individuals.

  • Share capital must be completely paid.

  • Turnover must be less than € 7.63 million.


VAT:​ All French businesses must charge customers VAT on the sale of all goods and services at a rate of 20%. All businesses must register for VAT except if the turnover is under €30,000. A reduced VAT rate of 10% or 5.5% may apply to certain goods and services. A company needs to register for VAT if its turnover from the sale of goods exceeds €75,000 or if its turnover from the provision of services exceeds €37,500. VAT returns are generally made on a bi-monthly basis.

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