In mainland Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, a commissionaire is an attendant, messenger or subordinate employed in hotels, whose chief duty is to attend at railway stations, secure customers, take charge of their luggage, carry out the necessary formalities with respect to it and have it sent on to the hotel. They are also employed in Paris as street messengers, light porters, etc.

In the UK and some former Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

 countries, a commissionaire is a doorman.

Under commercial and tax law in civil law jurisdictions (much of mainland Europe), a commissionaire arrangement is a variation on agency, under which the principal is not bound to the customer by actions of the commissionaire.

Corps of Commissionaires

It can also refer to an employee of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires
Corps of Commissionaires
The Corps of Commissionaires is a British security firm that has regional offices around the world.- History :The Corps of Commissionaires was founded in 1859 by Captain Sir Edward Walter KCB. It is the oldest security company in the world. Currently trading as 'Corps Security', the head of the...

. The original Corps of Commissionaires was founded in England during 1859 by Captain Sir Edward Walter, K.C.B. (1823–1904) to provide employment for former members of the armed services.

The Canadian Corps was formed for the same purpose in 1925 with the opening of offices in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. A national organization was realized by 1950 with the opening of the St. John's Newfoundland office. In 1982, the Canadian Corps had grown to more than 10,000 employees, which virtually doubled the complement of its British parent.

To meet its growing demands for personnel after 9/11, Commissionaires began acceptance of civilians. While in today's organization not all Commissionaires are veterans of Canada's armed forces or RCMP service, the organization's mandate still is to provide meaningful employment to veterans. A significant proportion of their current members are veterans and the Corps hires about 1,200 veterans every year. Today, Commissionaires employs over 19,000 people with offices operating in all ten provinces and three territories.

Members of the Corps are often used as trained security guards in major companies and other organizations. The main role of a Commissionaire is the protection of people, property and information. You will find a Commissionaire in many Federal establishments across Canada guarding everything from museum pieces to live ammunition and government files.

External links - Corps of Commissionaires

Law and taxation

In European civil law jurisdictions (e.g., France, Germany), a commissionaire is a person who acts in their own name for the account of a principal. The principal is contractually bound to deliver (through the commissionaire) the goods sold to the customer; the commissionaire is contractually bound to the principal to remit the price received to the principal. In addition, the commissionaire is contractually bound to the customer to deliver the goods sold on the terms agreed. No relationship is created between the customer
A customer is usually used to refer to a current or potential buyer or user of the products of an individual or organization, called the supplier, seller, or vendor. This is typically through purchasing or renting goods or services...

 and the principal. The commissionaire is remunerated by commission, and paid by the principal. The commissionaire does not take title to the goods.

A civil law commissionaire arrangement creates agency
Agency may refer to:* Agency * Agency , refers to a person who acts on behalf of another person.* Agency * Agency , the ability of social actors to make independent choices....

 in common law countries, such as the Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

For tax purposes in civil law jurisdictions, a commissionaire is not generally viewed as a dependent agent by virtue of the commissionaire status. Thus, the activities and place of business of a commissionaire are not attributed to the principal. Use of a commissionaire arrangement has historically been considered to prevent a seller of goods (the principal) from having a permanent establishment
Permanent establishment
A permanent establishment is a fixed place of business which generally gives rise to income or value added tax liability in a particular jurisdiction. The term is defined in many income tax treaties and most European Union Value Added Tax systems. The tax systems in some civil law countries...

in the commissionaire's country if the principals has no other presence in that country. However, this view has been challenged by tax authorities in France and Norway.
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