What do business registers in France offer?
Local business and companies registers (registres du commerce et des sociétés - RCS) are kept by registrars of the commercial courts and of the civil courts with commercial jurisdiction (district courts in the administrative départements of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin and Moselle; and mixed commercial courts in the overseas regions and départements). The information in these registers is checked. The registrars must verify that the statements comply with the laws and regulations, that they correspond to the supporting documents and documents attached as annexes, and that they are under the supervision of the president or a judge entrusted with that task who is competent for all disputes between the taxable person and the registrar compatible – in the event of a request for amendment or removal – with the file status.
The trade register (Kbis) extract issued by the registrars is the true «ID card», showing the civil status of a business recorded in the business and companies register. The extract brings together all the information that a business must declare. Where necessary, it also contains the notes made by the registrar responsible for maintaining the register. The trade register extract attests to the legal existence of the business and provides verified information. It is an official document testifying to the identity and address of the registered natural person or legal person, their activity, their management, administrative or supervisory bodies, and whether or not collective proceedings have been brought against them. This official document issued and signed by the court registrar is held to be authentic unless the information provided by the company to the business and companies register is shown to be false.
A national business and companies register (registre national du commerce et des sociétés - RNCS) is kept by the National Institute for Industrial Property (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle - INPI), which brings together the documents, qualifying as originals, from the business and companies registers kept in each registry. The INPI is responsible for disseminating and making available to the public free of charge the technical, business and financial information contained in the RNCS, for the purpose of further use.
These registers contain all the information concerning traders and companies. They give access to all the entries and documents in the business and companies registers.
The Infogreffe website provides centralised access to the information in the business and companies register and also enables various procedures (registration, amendment, removal and filing of annual accounts) to be done online. The service is provided in French and English.
The INPI website makes it possible to access, as open data, the records of registrations, amendments and removals and companies’ annual financial statements.
Official Bulletin of Civil and Commercial Announcements (BODACC)
The BODACC is the official bulletin for publication of the documents recorded in the business and companies register, from the establishment of a business to its removal, in particular as regards sales and transfers, collective procedures and the filing of accounts. The documents in question are sent to the BODACC without the interested parties having to take any action or initiative. Announcements in the BODACC are made under the responsibility of the registrar who receives the information.
Publication in the BODACC, which ensures the widest possible dissemination of RCS registrations, falls within the remit of the Office of Legal and Administrative Information [Direction de l’information légale et administrative - DILA].
Is access to a business register free of charge?
Users of the Infogreffe site can access certain information on businesses listed on it free of charge, but most of the information in the database can be obtained only for a fee.
The National Institute for Industrial Property now distributes data from the RNCS free of charge. It can do this by mail or via the online shop on its website. The further use of such data is, however, subject to acceptance of a licence.
Since 1 July 2015, the BODACC is distributed solely by electronic means. The content of the website (the BODACC announcements themselves) became free of charge in July 2011.
Lastly, a new digital access portal was set up in June 2016, called «Portail de la Publicité Légale des Entreprises» [public portal giving access to companies' legal information]. It enables users to access, via a single interface, announcements and legal information published on the following three websites: https://www.infogreffe.fr/, https://actulegales.fr/, https://www.bodacc.fr/.
How to search a business register in France?
On the Infogreffe website you can search for a business by:
- its name,
- the name of its directors and administrators,
- the town or administrative département where it is domiciled or has its headquarters or where it has its business units,
- its SIREN number (Business Register Identification System - Système d’Identification du Répertoire des Entreprises),
- its registration number in the business and companies register.
On the BODACC website you can search for an announcement relating to a business using its SIREN number or its company name.
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