Setting up a foreign company in France: Representative(s) of the foreign company (RFE)

The RFE status allows a company with its head office abroad and without a permanent establishment in France to hire an employee to carry out an activity in France and to smoothly set up in this market.

RFE must act only in the name of its company, prospecting, analysing the market and/or distributing documentation, but must not be in charge of the complete business cycle. This allows the foreign company to avoid French taxation and in
particular VAT.

What are the formalities for setting up?

  1. Registration as an employer in France
  • Declaration of employer status in the National Center of the Foreign Firms (Centre National des Firmes Etrangères), by filling in the E0 form. This form enables Urssaf du Bas-Rhin to carry out administrative procedures with Insee, Pôle emploi, Direccte, and Carsat, as well as the payment and monitoring of social security contributions.
  • Procurement of the SIRET number after a registration period, allowing the company to affiliate with French organisations.

2. Applicable Legal provisions and hiring formalities

The RFE is subject to French labour law.

Consequently, it must benefit from the rights and obligations applicable to any employment contract.

As the company does not have a permanent establishment in France, the employment contract must state that the employee will perform his or her duties by teleworking.

The application of French law implies that the following formalities
must be carried out with regard to hiring:

  • Determination of the applicable National Collective Agreement (NCA)
  • Declaration of employment and affiliation to pension, provident and mutual funds
  • Drawing up a monthly payslip and respecting the deadlines for social declarations and social security contribution payments

What are the difficulties associated with this status?

Given the absence of an establishment and their non-taxable status in France, RFE’s employers do not have an address and bank account in France.

This may have been a problem during the health crisis, particularly for the declaration of partial activity. Initially, RFE could not be the subject of an application for partial activity.

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