Legal & tax services

Our network is here to help you open a business in France. Get fast, confidential and free information on the existing business taxes and on the suitable legal structure to invest and register your company in France.

Find the most relevant legal & tax options :

Set Up In France helps you choosing the right structure depending on your activity

Choose the right structure to open your company depending on your activity, the type of ownership wanted.

Legal structure
Set Up In France helps you finding out more about the corporate, local and property taxes and the possible tax credits and exemptions

Find out more about the corporate, property taxes…and the possible tax credits and exemptions when you start a business in France.

Business taxes
Set Up In France helps you with wages, social charges etc.

Wages, social charges and other labor regulations for when your are setting up a business in France.

Social contributions
Click if you want to read about informations about the main types of contracts, probatinary perdiods

Information about the main types of contracts, probationary periods, recruitment processes...

Hiring staff

Main types of limited liability companies in France :

Registering your company in France is a simple process that only takes 3.5 days on average. Your inclusion into the Company Register will allow you to receive a SIREN number (unique company identification number) that you will use for any interaction with public administration.

Société A Responsabilité Limitée (SARL) Société anonyme (SA) usual form (Board of directors) Société par actions simplifiée (SAS)
Main characteristics At least one partner.
Easy to set up and operate.
Structured for “monitored delegation”.
Public offerings permitted.
At least one partner.
Freedom of constitutional arrangements for relations with shareholders, management and the structure and to transfer capital.
Minimum Capital No minimum Minimum of €37,000 No minimum
Contributions Sweat equity permitted. No sweat equity permitted. Sweat equity permitted.
Liability of partners/shareholders Limited to contributions, except in civil or criminal lawsuits Limited to contributions, except in civil or criminal lawsuits Limited to contributions, except in civil or criminal lawsuits
Tax system Corporate tax or option of paying income tax (if company is less than five years old and has fewer than 50 employees)  Corporate tax or option of paying income tax (subject to certain conditions). Corporate tax or option of paying income tax (subject to certain conditions).

An intermediary step: the liaison office

As an intermediary step to set up your company in France, you can have a liaison office. This structure is not a separate legal entity. It serves for non-commercial operations only (prospection, promotion…). It is not a permanent establishment, but it may be reclassified as such.

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Business Taxes in France

Similar to most of its E.U counterparts, the French tax system also offers very competitive measures to encourage the creation or takeover of a new business in France, by the mean of partial, total exemptions and various tax credit measures. France has also signed bilateral tax treaties with most of its economic partners to avoid double taxation.

Corporate Tax : Tax on corporate income proceeding from the sale of goods and the provision of services
Base Rate Possible Tax credits and exemptions
Large companies 33,33%
  • "Innovative New Companies" (JEI status)
  • New companies located in certain areas
  • Companies located in regions classified as restructuring or employment priority areas
  • Research Tax Credit
SMEs  Up to €38,120 of earnings 15,00%
Local Taxes / Local economic contributions
Base Rate Possible Tax credits and exemptions
Corporate Property contribution Rental value of fixed assets subject to the property tax Set annually by the municipalities
  • Innovative New Companies
  • New companies operating in specific regional zones
  • New and expanded businesses located in certain areas
Business value-added contribution Value-added generated by the company 0.5 % to 1.5 %
Property Tax : payable by building or land owner
Base Rate Possible Tax credits and exemptions
All companies Land registry rental value minus a 50% rebate for buildings and 20% for land Set annually by local authorities
  • Innovative new companies
  • New professionnal, industrial and commercial buildings
  • Tools and other equipment for industrial establishments
  • Facilities for the production of PV-based electricity
  • Companies operating in specific regional zones
Value-added Tax Consumption of goods and services
Base Rate
Standard rate 20%
Reduced rates, option 1 Restaurants, hotels, public transport, newspapers and magazines and certain leisure activities 10%
Reduced rates, option 2 Food, books, construction and renovation of social housing and certain agricultural products 5.5%
Customs duties
Base Rate Possible Tax credits and exemptions
Goods value +transport costs+ insurances (up to the arrival port of the E.U) Uniform E.U customs regulations (rates vary depending on the nature of the goods; TARIC code) Customs duty is only charged once when goods enter the French
territory. No further customs duties inside the European Union

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Employers social contributions

Another important aspect to consider when you decide to invest in France and to register your business here are the employers’ social contributions.

Employers are also required to pay social taxes on their employees’ wages. Those taxes contribute to the payment of health insurance, solidarity, family benefits, unemployment allowances, complementary retirement plans and professional trainings.
Employers’ social charges represent between 25% and 42% of the gross salary of the employee. The Competitiveness and Employment Tax credit, introduced in 2013, amounts to 6% of gross annual payroll for all salaries up to 2.5 times the statutory national minimum wage. In some cases, employers may benefit from reduced social security contributions.

Employers social contributions in France

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Hiring in France

Apart from temporary jobs advertized by the specialised agencies, there are two main types of employment contracts in France depending on your needs and the type of work to be done.
Fixed-term contract (contrat à durée déterminée – CDD)
Extra employees can be hired for a limited time to meet temporary needs.

Permanent contract (contrat à durée indéterminée – CDI)
The permanent contract is the regular form of working contract in France. The permanent contract can be concluded for a full time or a part time job.


  • The statutory national minimum wage (SMIC), has been set at €9.76 (gross) per hour on January 1st, 2017.
  • The contract may also provide for additional benefits and a profit-sharing scheme.

Probationary period

Probationary periods give employers a chance to evaluate an employee’s skills. Employers can terminate an employment contract during the probationary period without having to provide grounds or severance pay. The duration is either 2, 3 or 4 months depending on the profile of the employee and can be extended once.

Funding opportunities

There are several incentives for recruitment in France. Thus, if you decide to invest on the French market, your company may benefit from subsidized employment contracts, employment or training funding opportunities should it fulfill the necessary criteria.

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