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Creating and developing professional equestrian activities in France

Professionals wishing to create and develop an equestrian activity in France may either create an independent legal entity from scratch or extend a pre-existing equestrian activity via the creation of corporate base in France.

  • Extending pre-existing equestrian activities in France

Any French and non-French companies can exercise an equestrian activity in France via different legal entities such as a branch offices and establishments.

This establishment has no separate legal personality are any income generated by is taxed in the country of the main country. Creation formalities are simplified with little expenses and is therefore a good idea to test business ideas before permanently creating an independent activity in France.

  • Creating an equestrian business in France

In France, most professional activities related to horses, equestrian sports and horse racing are classified as agricultural activities under the French rural code. This concerns any activity related to breeding, equestrian sports and working and promoting horses.

Any other type of activity related to horses is by default aity.

For instance, an equestrian centre providing horses for riding lessons or a private yar commercial activd providing livery services are agricultural activities. On the other hand, an independent riding teacher or a private coach who teaches but does not provide the horses practices a purely commercial activity. In the same way, horse dealers who only buy and sell horses (without promoting the horses by work) are considered to practice a commercial activity.

This distinction between agricultural and commercial activities is essential as it is the main factor used to determine the type of professional entity to set-up when practicing an equestrian activity in France.

This being said, both commercial and agricultural equestrian activities can be exercised under the Individual Entrepreneur status which can be applied for by any private person residing in France or the European Union  but provides no protection of personal wealth in the event of financial difficulties.

To protect personal wealth and property via a corporate veil, agricultural equestrian companies may be exercised via a French Agricultural Company (EARL).

This is the traditional agricultural company which must contain at least one shareholder and has a minimum share capital requirement of 7500 euros. Liability is limited to individual share capital contributions.

This structure lacks flexibility: shareholders must be private persons and reside in the European Union. In addition, company managers must directly practice the relevant agricultural activity and hold at least 51% of the company.

For equestrian activities which benefit from the commercial status, there is more choice, and the corporate structures are more flexible.

The French SARL and SAS are the two main different limited liability commercial companies which can be created by private and legal person shareholders, with a minimum share capital of one euro. There is no limitation related to the nationality of shareholders.

More recently, the French equivalent to partnership companies is currently used to own and invest in horses.

In the last couple of years, the French government has significantly simplified setting-up equestrian businesses in France. Digital procedures means that business set-up formalities can be accomplished within a week with reasonable costs.

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