The field office, to conquer the French market

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The best strategy to create a field office in France

The foreign company who wants to set up in France has two options :

  • the creation of a stable commercial strucutre with a legal entity and fiscal to her own : a subsidiary or a branch office,
  • a virtual address : it is the field office and the liaison office.

Le field office has one function to represent and promote the image, as well as prepare the implantation of the company in France.

The legal status of the liaison office

The liaison office doesn't own a legal entity. So, he doesn't have a distinct estate then the head office, neither a social denomination or commercial. In case of difficulties, the head office will be responsible of her dets, because every contractual relationship will directly be done with her.

The goal of the office being the representation of a foreign company in the territoy, no commercial transaction could be done. For that, all the bills and contracts must be transmitted to the head office for signing.

None less, if he does a commercial activity, it would be assimilated to a stable establishment and for that it would be the same legal and fiscal obligations as a branch office.

How to open a field office in France ?

For the field office the formalities are minim.

To open an office, some formalities must be done :

  • find a business center so you'll have a commerical address (virtual office)
  • a simple declaration that the business exist can be made at the formalities center - centre des formalités des entreprises (CFE) - of the chambre de commerce et d'industrie. This formailty will give you a Siren and Siret number .
  • but, although there is no commercial activity, it is recommended to enroll at the office of Registre du commerce et des sociétés (RCS), therefor to obtain the Kbis. The document is often requestedif there are relations with other persons (banc, suppliers, insurers, ...). The paper work demand will be the same as the branch office.
  • if workers are employed in a field office that is not register at the RCS, the declarative formalities and payment of the dues will be made at one institution : l'Urssaf du Bas-Rhin.
  • when the field office is register at the RCS, the formailities must be done at l'Urssaf of the department of the implantation.

How does it work ?

As the field office doesn't have a legal entity on his own, the function is lightened in various areas.

The field office doesn't have to maintain an account.

There is no sale made and they don't supply directly any services at the clients of the foreign company, so he doesn't have to submitted at the society tax in France.

He also isn't subjected at the VAT. The foreign company can however ask for the refund of the VAT, charge at the installation and finacial process of the field office, in the foreign companies procedure that are not establish in France.

If there is not professional activity, the field office will not be submitted at the territorial economic contribution (CET in France).

A legal representative manages the field office, alone or with a team. He can be employee or not of the head office. In case of debt, of mal gestion or criminal infraction, the head office is the only responsible, no legal responsability or criminal can be engaged against the person representing.

In conclusion, the field office can be the solution for a foreign company that wants to try to enter in the market. After, it is possible to evolve to another form of implantation, filial or branch.

Autres ressources:

Guide des formalités pour immatriculer un bureau de représentation (identiques aux pièces demandées pour une succursale) :