Sole trader: business assets separate from personal assets

The law of February 14, 2022 introduced a new status for sole proprietors, the main feature of which is the creation of business assets separate from personal assets. The first decrees implementing this law have recently been published.

Division of the sole trader's assets

The law of February 14, 2022 introduces a single, protective status for sole proprietors, whose assets are now automatically split between personal and business assets. The aim of this measure is to reconcile the security offered by the status of individual entrepreneur with limited liability (EIRL) with the simplicity of individual entrepreneurship.

More specifically, the new status stipulates that the assets, rights, obligations and securities used in the entrepreneur's business constitute his or her professional assets. Personal assets are those elements of the entrepreneur's assets that are not included in business assets. This separation of assets into two distinct assets is automatic, and requires no special steps or formalities. Previously, professionals operating under EIRL status were required to make a declaration of dissociation.

Another advantage of the new status is that only the assets making up the entrepreneur's business assets are exposed to prosecution by business creditors. Other assets (residence, movable assets, vehicle, etc.) are exempt from seizure by default.

Converting a sole proprietorship into a simplified company

The law in favor of self-employed professional activity facilitates the transfer from sole proprietorship to company by enablingthis transfer to be carried out in a single operation. This involves the universal transfer of the rights, assets and obligations associated with the business activity. These include goodwill, movable assets (goods, equipment, tools, means of mobility, etc.), real estate used for the business, intangible assets (customer data, patents, licenses, etc.) and cash on hand.

Until now, this transformation was particularly complex, since it could only be carried out by individualizing each good and contract.

Thesole trader may have several interests in setting up a company, as the legal form of the structure determines its status. Different remuneration strategies need to be considered on this basis.

The new status takes effect

The new single status has been in force since May 15, 2022. This means that sole proprietors will enjoy greater protection from now on, without any specific action on their part.

The new provisions apply to all practicing sole traders, but only to new claims arising from the date of registration in the register to which the sole trader belongs for his activity, from the earliest date of registration if he belongs to several registers, from the declared date of commencement of activity if prior to the date of registration, or from the first act carried out as a sole trader if registration is not required.