Launching a Business in France

Starting a monetized activity as a one-person business (micro-enterprise) in France is dead simple: you fill up a form, wait a week or two, and receive your business identification number. It's free and relatively painless.

If you make business with foreign countries within the European Union, you'll also need to obtain a cross-border VAT number through your Corporate Tax Service (Service des Impôts des Entreprises).

Once you receive your business id, you can send payouts with your Stripe account and open a business bank account.

I think it's ideal for indie makers because you don't have to deal with VAT taxes and the barrier to entry is relatively low since no initial capital is needed.

I've also been through the creation of a Limited Liability Company and trust me, it's annoying to deal with if you're like me and hate paperwork. Fortunately, new legal services address this pain point now (Stripe Atlas, Legal Start, etc.).

The tax system is also straightforward: you give away 23.7% of your revenues and that's it. If you're using an online payment platform like Stripe, you also have to take into account an additional 2% in processing fees. If you don't make money, you have nothing to pay.

The status is advantageous if you earn less than $35k per year. Then you have to take into account VAT taxes. You might want to consult a lawyer above $77k in annual recurring revenues. I'm not an expert, but the way I see it it's better to switch to an LLC (or a Société par Actions Simplifiée (SAS) in French) once you cross the $35k per year. As a tech entrepreneur, $35k in ARR is huge (I consider myself to be ramen profitable at $10k a year). The best way to scale from there is to invest in employees and freelancers, and you can't do that without an LLC.

If you know how to code or are willing to learn, you just need $5 to buy a domain name and start a business in France. We live in a world where we can start a business for less than the cost of a pint of beer. How amazing is that?