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Executive Summary
The French Republic is a Western European country, often referred to as the Hexagon due to its geographic shape. It has borders with Spain, Monaco, Andorra, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. France covers a total area of 674,843 sq km. It is the biggest country of the European Union, and is a member state also of other international organizations such as NATO, UNO, G8, OECD and others. France possesses a number of overseas collectivities and territories. Paris is the capital of France; French is its official language.

France is a semi-presidential republic. Executive power belongs to the President and the government headed by the Prime Minister. A bicameral parliament has a legislative power. France has adopted a civil law system.

France has a highly developed industrial economy. Government still has a significant control over electricity supply, telecommunications, aircrafts and railway business, even though these sectors are being privatized step by step. France invests in nuclear power, which makes it the smallest carbon dioxide emitters among the most industrialized countries of the world. In addition, France is the largest agricultural products exporter in Europe.

The Euro is the currency used in France.

Geography
The Metropolitan France is a Western European country, to which some territories in North America, South America, Caribbean region, the Southern Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and Antarctica belong. These territories have different climates and other geographical characteristics than France, depending on their location; this article describes geography of Metropolitan France.

The landscape of France is diversified, having large coastal plains and mountain ranges. Mont Blanc is a mountain in Alps, which raises at 4,807 metres above the sea level, and is not only the highest point of France, but also the highest point of Western Europe. Several major rivers – Loire, Seine, Rhone, Garonne -   traverse the country and divide it in different zones. Corsica is located off the Mediterranean coast.

The Mediterranean climate is characteristic to the biggest part of the country’s territory, but it differs significantly in the mountainous zones due to the altitude.

Map, Flag and Coat of Arm


Types of Company

Sole proprietorship

A business is fully owned by one person, whose liability is unlimited.

Enterprise with a Limited Liability (EURL)
This company is owned by one person whose liability is limited. At least one director must be appointed. In comparison to the SARL, this type of company has a bigger number of regulations to follow and to comply with.

Private Limited Company (SARL)
A minimum of two and a maximum of fifty shareholders may establish this type of company. A minimum capital required by law is set to Eur 1. At least one director should be assigned to administer a company. Information on shareholders and their spouses must be disclosed to the local authorities.

SCI Partnership
This structure is often used to buy and own a property in France.

SNS Partnership
At least two people cooperate under a single name. Liability of every partner is unlimited. There are no minimum capital requirements.

SA
Seven shareholders of this type of company is an obligatory requirement. Minimum capital requirements are relatively high.

SAS
Minimum capital requirements are high. This type of company is granted a greater level of flexibility in comparison to an SA.

Holding Company
When structured and managed in a proper way, a holding company in France can achieve significant tax advantages.

Taxation

Personal
A person is a resident of France if this country is the place of his home, or professional activities, or economic interests; a resident is taxed on his worldwide income.

Individuals are liable to pay income tax which is levied at 5.5% - 40% after the allowance. Having the scalable nature, different rates of income tax are applied depending on the total amount of a person’s total annual income. Social security contributions are payable as well. Solidarity tax on wealth is applied at different rates on assets owned by an individual. Gift and inheritance taxes are also levied.

In addition, there is a number of local taxes levied by territorial assemblies..

Corporate
A standard rate of corporation tax is 33.1%. Capital gains tax and withholding tax are levied at different rates on various occasions.

Taxes on production and importation are levied on production and consumption of goods and services. Taxes on production include professional, transport and land tax; taxes on consumption include indirect duties on consumption and excise duty which is levied on alcohol, tobacco and energy products. A standard VAT rate is 19,6%, a reduced rate of 5.5% is applied on certain goods and services.

A significant tax advantage may be achieved through establishing and managing a co-ordination centre, known as Headquarters and Logistics Centres in France. It is usually involved in labeling, packaging, stocking, distribution and/or coordination of a multinational corporation’s activities, and is liable to a reduced rate of corporation tax.

 
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