Moving with an established business

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Moving with an established business


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Old 31st May 2020, 09:21 PM
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Question Moving with an established business

Hi.

I am a "retired" PhD aeronautical engineer, astrophysicist and mathematician (Kavli Institute for Astrophysics, MIT, NASA and KinetX, Inc.) of US nationality. I run a business which creates, manufactures and sells electronics and software for (extreme) long-range, high accuracy ballistic computations (hunters and competitors) and related customers. As needed, we employ software engineers and programmers to assist in my company's development efforts. We have one US patent, as well.

I am interested in relocating myself and my wife with our company and all of its intellectual property (held as trade secrets) to either the Southeast coast of Spain or to the area North of Marseilles in France.

I will, at the least, need contacts for renting a place for us to live and for legal assistance associated with the above proposed move. Of course, the time line for all of this depends critically on the resolution (or lack thereof) of the present epidemics both here in the US and in the areas of interest, so there is no current hurry... but one must start sometime and now seems to be good.

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Old 1st June 2020, 06:04 AM
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If you're moving the whole business to France, you'll need to re-establish the business as a French company - with the appropriate type of business entity in place. If you just want to set up a "branch" in France, you'll have to establish some form of business entity for the branch (with the US business as part or whole owner).

For either, you should probably contact the CCI (chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie) in the area you are looking to settle in. They can provide all sorts of advice, services and administrative assistance, including information about where to set up your business.
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Old 1st June 2020, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitspacescientist View Post
Hi.

I am a "retired" PhD aeronautical engineer, astrophysicist and mathematician (Kavli Institute for Astrophysics, MIT, NASA and KinetX, Inc.) of US nationality. I run a business which creates, manufactures and sells electronics and software for (extreme) long-range, high accuracy ballistic computations (hunters and competitors) and related customers. As needed, we employ software engineers and programmers to assist in my company's development efforts. We have one US patent, as well.

I am interested in relocating myself and my wife with our company and all of its intellectual property (held as trade secrets) to either the Southeast coast of Spain or to the area North of Marseilles in France.

I will, at the least, need contacts for renting a place for us to live and for legal assistance associated with the above proposed move. Of course, the time line for all of this depends critically on the resolution (or lack thereof) of the present epidemics both here in the US and in the areas of interest, so there is no current hurry... but one must start sometime and now seems to be good.

Why ??

You are already in the land of the entrepreneur.

Why look to make business more difficult ?

.
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Old 1st June 2020, 07:45 AM
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Clicky has made a very good point!

The question is very complex with tax, residency etc implications. Clearly you need good advice from the experts. i won't comment because I'm not an expert in this area.

However, perhaps I can help with how you analyse the situation. The move to France..is it because you want to live in France (permanently?) or you want to move your business to France?

I'm a Brit expat in France for 20 years and I've taught at a French business school. France is a wonderful place to live, not easy to do business. Clicky refers to this in his post above. I would avoid even thinking of employing anyone in France, the legal protections are terrible. I've had to get rid of 3 cleaning ladies due to house moves in France and it's a nightmare. There's a complex admin procedure and a large bill to pay. You have to get it right or the poor cleaning lady does not get her social security entitlements!

So, my advice is to separate out things at two different levels. First - separate out your own life from that of the business, you can move one and not the other. Second, be prepared for the change of business culture in France.

Clearly visas and health care will come into the picture at some point, but you didn't ask that in your original post. Almost certainly you will have to declare your worldwide income in France in € and will be taxed on it in France. Others here can help re avoiding double taxation.

Nonetheless, France is a wonderful country to live in!


DejW

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Old 1st June 2020, 08:22 AM
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Assuming you aren't put off your plans by the other responses, this is the site you want to look at for France: https://www.ccimp.com/creation-et-reprise-dentreprise

"Popular wisdom" amongst the anglophones says that setting up a business in France is a nightmare. Things honestly have been changing over the last decade or so. But as with many things, it's a matter of what you're used to. Use the time until the travel situation is resolved to do your research. There may be further changes as the pandemic situation resolves.

My husband and I ran a small business (just the two of us) for 20 years here in France. My husband, who is French, sort of knew what he was getting into. Me (US origins), I had to learn by doing, but with a background in accounting and a fair level of French, it turned out reasonably well for us. If you're planning on hiring some locals here in France, you may find there is more assistance from the CCI than you might have expected.
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Old 1st June 2020, 09:29 AM
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Given the nature of the business, it might perhaps be worth trying to establish contact with Brune Le Maire, via his office.

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Old 1st June 2020, 11:21 AM
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I can't claim to be an expert, but I'll add my two cents' worth.
- agree with the advice from DejW and Clic-clac to be cautious about the complexities of running a business in France. Especially if it confuses 'status' with respect to being retired and being economically active.
- if you go ahead, and if you haven't already, take a look at Toulouse. You might find a lot of like minded businesses, contacts, groups, academic collaborators
- given the nature of the business I'd look long and hard at any 'security' implications. There may be sensitive toes waiting to be trodden on if you move that kind of IP around.
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Old 1st June 2020, 04:04 PM
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If (when?) we do this, it's the whole company. We will cease operations in the US.

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Old 1st June 2020, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitspacescientist View Post
If (when?) we do this, it's the whole company. We will cease operations in the US.
Right - but you will have to re-constitute the business entity in France under French law. Your expense structure will change significantly, just based on fees, taxes and payroll considerations.

You may want to contact the AmCham France for more information: Amcham France – American Chamber of Commerce in France

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Old 1st June 2020, 04:18 PM
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I've been in Toulouse and have a loose business relationship there. It's certainly an area worthy of consideration.

We are extremely aware of the sensitivity and nature of our business... including US ITAR issues. In fact, we have verified US ITAR restricted intellectual property that we will be selling and/or leaving in the US. We also have official letters from the US State Department clearly stating that the intellectual property in our non-restricted products can (if we desired to do so) be published in the public domain. Whether there might be similar issues with France or the EU as a whole is completely unknown to me. I can get help from people here in the US about the export issues, and have already done so. Getting similar assistance in France/Spain/EU is part of what we need to explore.

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