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How do I determine the nature of a business?

Verified 02 October 2019 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

When setting up a company, the project owner must determine precisely the nature of his activity, as it is decisive in terms of formalities, taxation, management of the company and the social status of the manager. The business of a company can be commercial, industrial, artisanal, agricultural or liberal.

Nature of business

Nature of the activity

Features

Reporting formalities

Crafts

  • Production, processing or service-delivery activity in the field of handicrafts, thanks to a particular know-how: craft activities
  • Natural or legal person
  • With no more than 10 employees
  • Activities listed by decree

Declaration of activity of a craftsman

Commercial

  • Purchases of goods for resale in the unaltered state (wholesale or retail trade)
  • Sale of commercial services (rental of equipment, transport, real estate agency, hotel-restaurants, entertainment company, private security activity, rental, etc.)

Opening a trade

Industrial

Production or processing activity through the use of industrial tools, extraction, mining industries, handling, shopping and storage

Agricultural

  • Livestock or plant production activity, including processing and marketing of agricultural products
  • Activities carried out by an agricultural operator as a result of the act of production:
    • tourist reception with the support of the farm (farmhouses-inns, rural cottages, bed and breakfast, campsite on the farm, equestrian relay)
    • production and marketing of biogas, electricity and heat by methanization, where at least 50 % of that production is derived from agricultural holdings

Liberal

Regulated or unregulated liberal activities  :: intellectual, technical or care services requiring professional qualifications and respect for professional ethics

Declaration for the liberal professions

A provision of services may be of a nature:

  • commercial (real estate agent, restaurateur, entertainer for example);
  • handicraft (hairdresser, taxi in particular);
  • or liberal (doctor, consultant, trainer for example).

For mixed activity (e.g. both commercial and liberal), the project leader must determine the principal and ancillary activity, carried out as an extension of the first.

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Main commercial activity / secondary liberal or craft activity

In principle, the CFE to be addressed is the main activity. However, this practice does not apply in cases where the declared secondary activity requires registration in a register (register of trades for craft professions or of trade for commercial activities).

For example, a merchant depends on the CCI as the CFE for his main activity. If he wishes to add a liberal activity to his company (for example, a magnetizer), his secondary activity being liberal, it is not referenced on any specific register. Thus, the CCI (CFE of the main activity) will be in charge of the secondary activity.

Liberal main activity/ commercial or craft secondary activity

In principle, the CFE to be addressed is the main activity. However, this practice does not apply in cases where the declared secondary activity requires registration in a register (register of trades for craft professions or of trade for commercial activities).

If the activity of the company is liberal and the secondary activity is commercial or artisanal, it will cause a registration to the RCS or the directory of trades.

Thus, in this case, the relevant CFE will be the ICC or the Chamber of Trades (CMA) according to the activity, even if these bodies are not CFE competent for the main activity.

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