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With effect from 1st January 2009, a new business status has been available to someone who wishes to establish a small business in France.
The business status is called auto-entrepreneur. Whilst a great deal has been made about this new status by the French government, in fact there is very little to distinguish it from a micro-entreprise per se, as the fiscal status is the same.
All the characteristics and rules concerning micro-entreprise status that we considered in the previous page apply equally to those who are auto-entrepreneurs. Thus, the tax status, turnover limits, rules on accounting, VAT and exclusions that apply to a micro-entreprise also apply to auto-entrepreneurs.
The only real differences between them relates to the business registration and tax and social security payment formalities. Neither necessarily imply that you will pay less in tax and social security payments.
For someone wanting to adopt the status of auto-entrepreneur the business registration formalities have been reduced, as there is no need to formally register with either the Chambre de Commerce or Chambre de Metiers to undertake the business activity.
You merely complete an application form and send if off the form to the relevant business centre, who will furnish you with your business registration number, called your SIREN.
You can send the application form on-line, making sure you also include a scanned proof of indentity, or visit the local Chambre de Commerce, Chambre de Metiers, or URSSAF, the social security collections agency. You can also send by post, but then make sure you do so by recorded delivery letter. On-line applicants receive an e-mail confirmation.
If you are to be in one of the professions libérales send your application to URSSAF, the social security collections agency, not the Chambres.
Both of these social security and tax payment regimes are examined on the next page.