Establishment of « maison d’hôtes »

Many English people set up very small businesses in France. A common one is a bed and breakfast business or “chambre d’hôtes”. This article summarises the main French formalities.

1. Registration at the Mairie

According to the article L. 324-4 of the French tourism code, before opening a bed and breakfast activity you must register at the local Mairie. Failure to declare can result in a penalty of 450€.

Your registration has to specify:

  • Your identity,

  • The identification of your place of residence,

  • The number of rented rooms,

  • The maximum number of people who can be accomodated,

  • The planned periods when you will be open for business.

2. Registration at the chamber of commerce

Where the activity of a guest house is exercised “habitually”, it is deemed to be a commercial activity.

You have to register at the Registry of Companies (RCS) and the Center of Formalities of Companies (CFE), which costs between 26,68€ to 41,50€. Failure to comply exposes

you to a 4.500€ fine and 6 months of imprisonment.

3. Membership to the Social Security

If your taxable income exceeds 5.165€, you must be affiliated to the social security as a non-salaried workers (TNS).

In case of a lower income, there is no obligation to join. The income generated by the business is then subjected to Social Security contributions on the income at the global rate of 17,2%.

4. Taxes

The income will be taxed as follows:

  • When the activity of a guest house is exercised habitually income tax will be due (except if the income is lower than 760€),

  • You have to collect VAT at the rate of 10%, charged to your customers,

  • Territorial Economic Contribution (CET), based only on the rental value of properties subject to the land tax. This tax is due in every municipality where a bed and breakfast activity is carried on.

  • If television sets are present in rooms, you will must pay a “contribution to the public broadcasting” between 90€ to 139€.

  • Tourist tax on tourist hosting. If the bed and breakfast is situated in a “tourist municipality” where the tax is levied. The price must be posted in the bed and breakfast and is about 0.80€/person and per night.

  • Housing tax and land tax: Housing tax applies to premises rented because they are a part of your personal house. Land tax applies, because you are the owner of the house. These two taxes vary according to location.