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In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
From January 1 to December 31 .
Accounting Standards
Official accounting plan (PCG)
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Parliament
CNC
ANC
Accounting Reports
Annual accounts: the balance sheet, the profit and loss account and the notes to the accounts.
The annual report
The statement of source and application of funds (compulsory for large companies)
Publication Requirements
There are three levels of reporting: The basic system (Normal), an abridged system (for small companies), a developed system. They depend on the legal form and size of the companies (defined in relation to the total of the balance sheet, the turnover and the number of employees).
The reporting is annual, except for listed companies for whom reporting is quarterly.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
OEC , The Higher Council of the Order of Chartered Accountants
CNCC , The National Company of Auditors (in English)
IFAC , The International Federation of accountants
Certification and Auditing
Companies have to seek a statutory auditor to conduct an annual audit of the financial health of their organization. You can contact an external auditor: KPMG, Ernest & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Accounting News
France accounting news

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Value Added Tax (VAT)
Tax Rate
20%
Reduced Tax Rate
- Reduced rate of 10% for food on-site consumption (restaurants), Non-reimbursable medications, Passenger transportation, Books, private televisions channels, water supply, Real estate transactions, Supplies of housing in hotels, Goods originating from farms, animal feed products
- Reduced rate of 5.5% for sales of certain foodstuffs, supplies of electricity, gas or energy, equipment or accommodations for the disabled and admission charges for cinema, theatre, live concerts, music and singing recitals.
- Reduced rate of 2.1% for certain products reimbursed by the Social Security.
To find out about the rates valid in regions outside metropolitan France, click here (in French).
Other Consumption Taxes
Domestic consumption tax on petroleum products (TIPP)
Domestic consumption tax on natural gas (TICGN)
Domestic consumption tax on coal and lignite
Domestic tax on tobacco (snuff and for smoking), cigars and cigarettes.
Domestic consumption tax on beer
A 2% tax is imposed on hotel services exceeding EUR 200 per night.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
33,1/3%
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Foreign companies are taxed on the profits they make in France.
Capital Gains Taxation
Long term capital gains made by companies subject to corporate tax (IS) are not taxed.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Expenses are deductible for depreciation or amortization, reserves, rents for premises and equipment, wages, etc.
Tax credit exists for apprenticeships especially.
Other Corporate Taxes
From January 1st 2010 the Professional Tax was replaced by a Territorial Economic contribution levied for the profit of territorial governments. The Contribution Economique Territoriale (CET) is a local tax imposed by the departmental and regional councils on businesses to assist in the funding of local services and the Chambres de Commerce/Metiers.
A French tax systemis also levied on companies.
Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  France OECD United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 7.0 12.0 11.0 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 132.0 176.0 175.0 207.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 65.7 42.7 46.7 46.8

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Personal income tax (IRPP) Progressive rate up to 45%
Up to EUR 6,011 0%
Between EUR 6,012 and 11,991 5.5%
Between EUR 11,992 and 26,631 14%
Between EUR 26,632 and 71,397 30%
Between EUR 71,398 and 151,200 41%
Above EUR 151,200 45%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Child care, consumer credit, tax credit for young people under 26 who take a job in certain industrial sectors or geographical areas in difficulty, etc.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
In France there is a special expatriate tax regime. It especially concerns health insurance and complementary retirement pension contributions and the possible exemptions.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
France has signed fiscal conventions with over 112 countries in the world.
Withholding Taxes
Dividends paid by a French corporation to a nonresident shareholder are subject to a 30% withholding tax calculated on the gross dividends. From 18 August 2012, a 3% surtax is levied on dividends distributions.
Interest paid by a French company to a nonresident lender generally is not subject to withholding tax
Royalties paid to a nonresident entity are subject to a 33.33% withholding tax.

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
Web portal of the French fiscal administration
Other Domestic Resources
The fiduciary review
Information on French taxes
CIC Bank information on the French Tax system

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Intellectual Property

National Organizations
The national institute of industrial property (INPI) for patents, trademarks, models and industrial designs.
The Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM), The National Union of Authors and Composers of music (SNAC), The Society of Stage Authors and Composers (SACD), The Society of Men of Letters (SGDL), The Civil Society of Multimedia Authors (SCAM), High Authority for the Distribution of Works and Protection of Rights on the Internet (HADOPI) etc., for royalties.
Regional Organizations
For the protection of patents: the European patent office
To control trademarks, designs and models: the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
 

National Regulation and International Agreements

 
Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent
 

Code of intellectual property
20 years
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Trademark
 
Code of intellectual property
10 years renewable indefinitely Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Design
 
Code of intellectual property
25 years renewable once  
Copyright
 

Code of intellectual property
70 years after the death of its author for inheritance tax
50 years after the first publication for registration fees
Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
 
Edict n°2001-670 of 25 July 2001 incorporating into Community law the code of intellectual property and the code of the post and telecommunications
25 years renewable once  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
Yes
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Yes
The Language of Justice
French
Recourse to an Interpreter
Possible
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
French law has various sources: the Constitution, laws voted by Parliament, ministerial decrees and orders, international conventions and treaties ratified by France.
Because France belongs to the European Union, national law conforms to the requirements of Community legislation.
There are legal similarities with all the countries whose law has come from Roman law.
Checking National Laws Online
The constitution in English

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Standards

National Standards Organizations
AFNOR, the French standardization association.
UTE, Electricity technical union.
ETSI, European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
Integration in the International Standards Network
At the European level:
- CEN, European Committee for Standardization
- CENELEC, European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization

At the international level:
- International Standards organization (ISO)
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
Classification of Standards
NF is the national certification mark.
CE is the European certification mark. It is compulsory for a country to be able to sell on the market.
Online Consultation of Standards
The AFNOR on-line shop
The on-line catalog of European standards
The ISO catalog
The most important standardization programs
Certification Organizations
See the list of independent organizations which issue the NF mark with AFNOR accreditation.

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Business Practices

General Information
Doing business In France
French culture, customs and etiquette
Guide to France
Opening Hours and Days
Saturday and Sunday closed, or only Sunday in shops.
Closed for the lunch break, which may be longer or shorter, between 12 noon and 2pm.
 

Public Holidays

New Year's Day January 1
Easter Sunday and Monday in March or April
Ascension the sixth Thursday after Easter
Labor Day May 1
Victory Day (end of the Second World War) May 8
National Day July 14
Assumption August 15
All Saints November 1
Armistice November 11
Christmas Day December 25
 
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Christmas holidays Between Christmas Day and New Year's Day
Summer holidays July or August according to the company
 

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Last Updates: February 2015