There is, yet again, a new central and unique website to register new businesses in France and to update existing ones. “Portail e-procedures” and its site procedures.inpi.fr will replace all other official sites from 1st January 2023. And it’s already live...
Where can I get a SIRET number
I often get asked this question about where you can get a SIRET number in France. The answer is simple - you need to register a business to get a Siret number. This SIRET number is actually your business's unique identity number, which you will use on your website, invoices, legal mentions and with the tax man. “Ok Valerie, now where do I register a business in France?”. My answer this time wasn’t so straightforward.
Where do I register a business in France
There are numerous websites offering to register your business in France. Once you narrow it down to the official sites, you were left with five!!
- www.autoentrepreneur.urssaf.fr for profession liberales (services, consultants, programmers, coaches).
- www.guichet-entreprises.fr was supposedly for all activities, but I have experienced several manual activities “artisans” being lost in cyberspace…
- www.infogreffe.fr for trading activities (buy to resell, shop, e-commerce), non-professional gites, agents commercial.
- www.cfe-metiers.com for manual activities “artisan”, but not all across France.
- www.artistes-auteurs.urssaf.fr for artists
Phew! I guess that you can see where the issue was… How on earth could new entrepreneurs find their way?
Guichet Entreprises was launched in July 2020, as a first step to replace the other sites. I personally didn’t recommend it, as there were some mishaps. At the time the ideal tool was www.autoentrepreneur.urssaf.fr for profession liberales (intellectual services) and www.infogreffe.fr. The latter site was pretty tough to deal with, as it's managed by Greffe du Tribunal de Commerce, but you could be sure that your business was registered properly, with all the required legal documents and with the compulsory listing on Registre du Commerce.
New website to register businesses in France from 1ast January 2023
From 1st January 2023, all business registrations will have to go through the site managed by INPI www.procedures.inpi.fr. From then on, whether you are a profession liberale, commercant, artisan, agent commercial or artist, this will be the unique point of entry. If this doesn’t quite make sense to you, let me explain:
- Profession liberale = intellectual or intangible services such as consultant, coach, programmer, wellness, independent teachers.
- Commerçant = buy to resell, e-commerce, drop-shipping, restaurants, food stalls, production companies, gites, B&B.
- Artisan = manual activities, conciergerie services, photographer, admin services.
- Agent commercial = estate agent and when you work with a mandate with a commission.
- Artiste = no explanation needed…
Alleluia... They will all be registered via this new site www.procedures.inpi.fr. Still a good idea to know which of the above category you come under, as you will be referred to in the future as a commercant, artisan, profession liberale, etc.
This is also true, whichever type of business you want to register. Whether you are a sole trader (micro-entrepreneur or enterprise individuelle), or whether you go for a French incorporated business (EURL, SARL, SAS, SASU), this is your point of entry!
Where do I update my French business details
Here’s the good news. This is also the website that you will be using if needed, to update your business details. For instance:
- Change your personal address in France.
- Change of name after a marriage or divorce.
- New additional site for your business (new shop, coworking space, PO box).
- Adding or deleting an activity (e.g add e-commerce or take-away food, delete translation services).
- Close your business down.
Who is INPI and what is the advantage for my business
INPI stands for National Institute of Intellectual Property and is the body handling trademark and patent registrations in France. This means that the account you create with INPI to register your French business will also enable you to register your business trademarks or patents whenever you are ready. You, therefore, need to keep your INPI log-in details somewhere safe, as you will need them all of your business life.
Is it tough to register a business with the INPI website
Once you are logged into your inpi account, you can choose between French, English or German, making things easier. But my advice is to not second guess which boxes to tick, as several have a direct impact on the tax regime you are choosing for your business, i.e. whether you are VAT registered and how you will pay your social charges (timescale and base for taxation). Get some advice first to understand your taxes and not get any bad surprises. Book a Power Hour with me if you need to clarify your taxes and options.
Also bear in mind that certain types of activities, such as artisans, commercants, or agent commercial require you to provide a few legal documents. The templates for these are not provided. Again, I would suggest to not second guess, as your registration will be blocked or rejected.
Does the new INPI business registration work
The official launch date is 1st Jan 2023, but it is already active. I have already registered 5 customers in November and it went pretty smoothly. Obviously, I know which boxes to tick, how to classify activities and which documents to prepare, which saves me time. My first registration for a micro entrepreneur profession liberale was actually validated within 12 hours! I don’t expect such a short timescale for future registrations.
Which impact will it have on my business registration
Registering a business means that, once validated by INPI, your business information will be passed onto INSEE for your SIRET number, URSSAF for social charges, Impots and CPAM for your health cover. This will still happen with this new site and you will have to wait for the paperwork to arrive through your letter box.
For micro entrepreneurs, the key downside is that there will be an extra step for you to do in your business admin setup. As you are not using www.autoentrepreneur.urssaf.fr to register your business anymore, you will have to go and create this account, once you have your SIRET Number and social security number. If you need help with this, it is covered in my Manage Your Micro Entrepreneur course.
Where can I get help to register my business in France
I can see that by now you might be thinking “I don’t have time for this, I have some customers waiting for me” or “I don’t want to mess this up”. Look and my Micro Entrepreneur registration services. I will take over the registration process and walk through your business setup details.