How do I register as an artist to sell paintings?

Painters fall under the artistes-auteurs tax and social security regime

street art - paintings
Any activity which generates an income must be declared to the French authorities

Reader question: I am a retiree and have in the past been registered as an auto-entrepreneur to produce greetings cards. I have recently turned to painting on canvas and would like to register as an artist.

Our reader continued, “I am told I cannot be an artist under the micro-entre­preneur system but I am not sure if La Maison des Artistes would accept someone of my age, who is just starting.

“I would like to put my paintings for sale on a website and occasionally rent a space to exhibit locally. What should I do?”

You are right to ask the question as any activity for which you receive an income must be declared to the tax authorities.

Artistes-auteurs regime

As a painter, you will fall under the artistes-auteurs tax and social security regime. Just as for micro-entrepreneurs, you need to declare your activity via the new online ‘one-stop shop’ for self-employed people, at

You are entitled to do this, even as a beginner, as long as you intend to sell your art.

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You can log in with France Connect, or create an INPI account.

You should select Déposer une formalité de création d’entreprise, then Créer une entreprise and Entrepreneur individuel.

It will ask you if your business has the status of micro-entrepreneur: you should select Non.

Choose a name

In the next section, you are invited to insert a ‘dossier name’ – this is personal to you and is not official.

You can, for example, put Création activité d’artiste-auteur.

See and select Devenir artiste-auteur for more step-by-step help with this.

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The crucial part comes where you are invited to ‘add an activity’. This is where you specify that your business is in the area of services and the arts, and finally that you are an artiste-auteur.

There is also a choice of tax options: the simple régime spécial BNC will involve less accounting, in which case you should also click franchise en base TVA to avoid any requirement to collect VAT.