The confidentiality of the income statement is extended to “Small Companies”

November 19th 2015

Since February 2, 2014, the law enables commercial companies meeting the definition of “micro-companies”[1] to request, upon filing their annual accounts to the court registry (balance sheet and income statement), that the latter are not made public.

The “Macron” law for growth, activity and equal economic opportunities of August 6, 2015, extended this option to larger companies.

The commercial companies, meeting the definition of “Small Companies” (excluding those belonging to a group[2], insurance companies, financial institutions, companies listed on the stock exchange and persons appealing for fundraising) shall, in the future, have the possibility to request, upon filing their annual accounts, that their income statement shall not be made public. However, the balance sheet shall be disclosed to the public.

Within the meaning of the law, shall be considered as a “Small Company”, all merchants, individuals or legal entities, who / which, over the last fiscal year ended and on an annual basis, do not exceed two of the following three thresholds:

Net turnover: 8 M€;
Balance sheet: 4 M€;
Workforce: 50 employees.

As a result, numerous companies shall be able, if they deem appropriate (in particular, with regard to their suppliers, clients or competitors), to keep confidential the figures listed in their income statements.

It must be noted that the law provides an exemption to confidentiality for the administrative and judicial authorities, the Banque de France and the legal entities that fall within the categories defined by the regulatory authority (in particular, financial bodies).

These new provisions shall only apply to the accounts related to fiscal years ended as from
December 31, 2015 and filed as from August 7, 2016. Any “paper” filing or filing by “electronic means” of the annual accounts, made before August 7, 2016, may not benefit from the option for the confidentiality of the income statement.

Emmanuel Duvilla

[1]    Not exceeding 2 of the following 3 thresholds: 350 K€ for the total balance sheet, 700 K€ for the turnover and 10 for the number of permanent employees on the company payroll (French Commercial Code (Art. L. 232-25; Art. L.123-16-1 and D. 123-200).

[2]    Within the meaning of Article L. 233-16 of the French Commercial Code.