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Contrôle fiscal

Démêlez les noeuds de la fiscalité
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Une personne qui omet de déclarer un compte bancaire étranger risque une amende.

Cette amende s'élève au moins à 1 500 € si le pays étranger est collaboratif et 10 000 € si le pays étranger n'est pas collaboratif. L'amende s'élève même à 5 % si le total des montants figurant sur les comptes non déclarés est supérieur à 50 000 €.

Or une telle amende fixe peut être très inéquitable dans certains dossiers.

Il arrive que des personnes aient conservé une grande quantité de comptes étrangers avec des montants insignifiants. Or l'application de la loi aboutit à la mise en œuvre d'amendes délirantes.

Par exemple, une personne qui a eu dix comptes bancaires dans un pays non coopératif risque une amende de 100 K€ au total, même si le total des montants figurant sur ces comptes est de 100 €.

Certains ont pu faire valoir qu'une telle façon de calculer une sanction quasi pénale était contraire au principe constitutionnel d'individualisation et de proportionnalité des peines garanti par l'article 8 de la Déclaration des Droits de l'Homme.

Cette position a été considérée comme présentant un caractère sérieux par le Conseil d'Etat dans sa décision n° 389143 du 17 juin 2015. Le Conseil d'Etat a donc décidé de saisir le Conseil Constitutionnel dans le cadre d'une QPC. Il reviendra au Conseil Constitutionnel de se prononcer sur ce point.

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La Direction générale des Finances publiques (DGFiP) annonce l'ouverture des pôles déconcentrés chargés du traitement des dossiers de régularisation des comptes à l'étranger non déclarés

Depuis le 1 er juin 2015, 7 pôles interrégionaux ont été installés pour renforcer les équipes du Service de Traitement des Déclarations Rectificatives (STDR) : 3 pôles localisés en Ile-de-France - à Paris, Saint-Germain-en-Laye et Vanves - et 4 autres pôles localisés en province - à Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux et Strasbourg.

Ces pôles traitent les dossiers portant sur un montant d'avoirs inférieur à 600 000 €, détenus directement par une seule personne physique.

Lorsque les dossiers comportent une déclaration de succession ou de donation rectificative, les pôles ne sont compétents que si cette déclaration ne concerne que le demandeur lui-même.

Les autres dossiers sont instruits comme actuellement par la cellule centrale de Paris, Place de l'Argonne. De même, restent traités par cette cellule les dossiers des membres d'une même famille.

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Les contribuables qui souhaitent déposer leur déclaration de revenus 2014 au format papier ont jusqu’au mardi 19 mai 2015 à minuit pour le faire.

Toutefois, les contribuables qui souhaitent effectuer leur déclaration de revenus en ligne disposent d’un délai supplémentaire qui varie en fonction du numéro département dans lequel ils sont domiciliés :

- départements n° 01 à 19 (zone 1) : mardi 26 mai 2015 à minuit ;

- départements n° 20 à 49 (zone 2) : mardi 2 juin 2015 à minuit ;

- départements n° 50 à 976 (zone 3) : mardi 9 juin 2015 à minuit.

Disclosure requirement for US bank accounts starting in September 2015

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Warning: Starting September 30, 2015, any individual who resides in France and holds a bank account in the United States will be reported to the French tax authorities.

This disclosure is required under the French-American agreement on the automatic exchange of banking information (FATCA), which came into force in early 2015 (French Décret No. 2015-1 of January 2, 2015).

In France, this agreement concerns any individual who is a French tax resident and holds a bank account in the United States.

If the US account is not duly reported to the French tax authorities, the taxpayer may incur heavy fines.

 

WARNING : this note is no more up to date. For example, there is no more fine calculated on pourcentage of the account

Timetable for implementation of the automatic exchange requirement

The first automatic exchanges of bank information will take place on September 30, 2015 and will concern information collected as of July 2014

Individuals concerned

The agreement concerns any individual who resides in France and holds any of the following in the United States:

-          A deposit account (checking account, savings account, etc.) that generates more than $10 interest per year;

-          A brokerage account (securities account, etc.) that generates taxable income;

-          A life insurance policy with a cash value exceeding $50,000.

American citizens can thus be considered French tax residents.

For information, the US Embassy in Paris has estimated that over 100,000 American citizens currently reside in France.

French citizens with bank accounts in the United States are also concerned.

Information transmitted

For each individual concerned by the agreement (see previous section), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has agreed to transmit the following information:

-          the name, address and birthdate of the individual concerned;

-          the account number;

-          the name and identification number of the US bank;

-          the gross amount of interest credited to the account;

-          the gross amount of US source dividends credited to the account;

-          the gross amount of other account income (capital gains/losses, etc.).

Risks faced by the individuals concerned

In principle, individuals residing in France who hold a foreign account are required to report the income generated by that account on their French income tax return. If the income exceeds the qualifying limit, the value of the account must be reported on a wealth tax (“ISF”) return.

Failing this, the French tax authorities may tax this unreported income and apply a penalty. They may also apply a heavy fine for failure to report the account.

These penalties also apply to taxpayers who voluntarily bring themselves into compliance, but they are considerably lower.

Income tax (impôt sur le revenu)

In principle, individuals who are French tax residents are taxed in France on all of their worldwide income.

Therefore, income from US accounts must be reported in France.

If a French tax resident holds an unreported account in the United States, the French tax authorities may tax all unreported income credited to the account since January 1, 2009.

Back taxes on this unreported income may be subject to a 40% penalty for willful failure.

However, for taxpayers who voluntarily bring themselves into compliance with the French tax requirements, this 40% penalty will be capped at 15% or 30% depending on the taxpayer’s situation (15% if the assets are from an inheritance or were acquired when the taxpayer was not a French tax resident, and 30% in other cases).

Wealth tax (impôt de solidarité sur la fortune, or ISF)

In principle, individuals who are tax residents in France must declare all of their assets on their ISF return, regardless of whether their assets are located in France or abroad.

However, inpatriates are granted preferential treatment: foreign property belonging to individuals who have resided in France for less than five years is exempt from wealth tax.

Accordingly, US bank accounts held by individuals who have resided in France for more than five years must be included on their ISF returns.

If the accounts are not duly reported, the French tax administration may require the account holders to pay wealth taxes relating to the account dating back to 2007.

These back taxes may, in principle, be subject to a 40% penalty for willful failure.

However, for taxpayers who voluntarily bring themselves into compliance with the French tax requirements, this 40% penalty will be capped at 15% or 30%, depending on the taxpayer’s situation.

Fine for failure to report

In principle, all French tax residents who hold a foreign bank account are required to report the account yearly, by filing CERFA form No. 3916 along with their income tax return.

The form must state the identity of the account holder, the name and address of the bank, the account number and the date the account was opened.

One form must be filed for each foreign account.

If an individual residing in France holds an unreported US bank account, the French tax authorities may impose a fine of up to 20% of the value of the account plus €1,500.

The fine for failure to report can be broken down as follows:

Year

Amount of the fine

2011

€1,500

2012

5% of the account value or a minimum of €1,500

2013

5% of the account value or a minimum of €1,500

2014

5% of the account value or a minimum of €1,500

2015

5% of the account value or a minimum of €1,500

Total

€ 1,500 + 20% of the value of the account (minimum fine of €6,000)

For taxpayers who voluntarily bring themselves into compliance with the French tax requirements, the fine will be capped at 1.5% or 3% of the account value for each year (1.5% if the assets are from an inheritance or were acquired when the taxpayer was not a French tax resident, and 3% in other cases).

Year

“Passive” taxpayer

“Active” taxpayer

2011

1.5% of the account value, capped at €1,500

3% of the account value, capped at €1,500

2012

1.5% of the account value

3% of the account value

2013

1.5% of the account value

3% of the account value

2014

1.5% of the account value

3% of the account value

2015

1.5% of the account value

3% of the account value

Total

€1,500 + 6% of the account value

€1,500 + 12% of the account value

Practical advice

I strongly advise all French tax residents with unreported US bank accounts to report their accounts when they file their tax returns in May 2015 by attaching CERFA form No. 3916.

By returning this form, they will avoid having to pay a fine for failure to report in 2015.

In principle, bringing a US bank account into compliance also requires amended income and wealth tax returns to be filed with the Service du traitement des declarations rectificatives (STDR, 17 place de l’Argonne – 75019 PARIS), taking into account the income and value of the bank account (income tax returns for 2009-2013 and wealth tax returns for 2007-2014).

In reality, if the stakes are low, the interest in filing amended returns with the STDR is questionable. Even if the situation isn’t perfect, taxpayers can protect themselves against the main risks by reporting their accounts on form No. 3916.

If the stakes are high, however, taxpayers must file amended returns with the STDR. In that case, it would be a good idea to contact a tax lawyer (like me) to ensure your rights are fully protected.

Trusts and offshore companies

The penalties that apply to French taxpayers who hold a foreign trust can be very high: 40% of the value of the trust, or a minimum of €70,000. High taxes also apply to taxpayers who hold offshore companies.

As matters stand, bank accounts held through a trust or an offshore company are not concerned by the current rules governing automatic exchanges of information.

However, the OECD standard for automatic exchange of information (the Common Reporting Standard, or CRS), which comes into force in 2017, contains a requirement to "look through shell companies, trusts or similar arrangements" in the aim of identifying the person who actually controls the intermediary

I therefore strongly advise individuals who are beneficiaries of an undisclosed foreign trust or owners of an offshore company to bring themselves into compliance with the STDR requirements as quickly as possible.

When a taxpayer brings a trust into compliance, the STDR doesn’t apply the fine for failing to report the trust, but rather the fine for failing to report a bank account.

Considering the complexity of the rules in this area, I highly advise taxpayers to consult a tax lawyer when bringing a trust or offshore company into compliance. 

 

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Vous trouverez ci-joint un lien pour lire un article très intéressant du journal LE MONDE. Il s'agit du dernier rapport au ministre sur la procédure de régularisation des comptes étrangers.

Selon moi, les informations sont toutefois discutables car elles résultent sans doute des dossiers traités en priorité, ce qui entraîne une surreprésentation des gros dossiers.

 

Article LE MONDE

Comptes américains : révélation automatique le 30 septembre 2015

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Attention, le 30 septembre 2015 toute personne résidant en France qui détient un compte bancaire aux Etats-Unis sera connue des services fiscaux français.

En effet, l’accord conclu entre la France et les Etats-Unis qui organise la mise en œuvre de l’échange automatique de renseignements bancaires (loi FATCA) est entré en vigueur au début de l’année 2015 (décret n° 2015-1 du 2 janvier 2015).

Au niveau français, cet accord est susceptible de concerner toute personne fiscalement domiciliée en France qui possède un compte bancaire aux Etats-Unis.

Si ce compte n’a pas été régulièrement déclaré auprès des services fiscaux français, le contribuable s’expose à de lourdes amendes.

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D'après les derniers chiffres évoqués ce jour (10 février 2015) à la conférence de l'IACF, il y aurait eu, depuis juin 2013, 16 000 dossiers complets déjà déposés auprès des services fiscaux.

Il y a en plus 19 000 dossiers ayant donné lieu seulement à des révélations, les dossiers de régularisation étant encore en attente.

Sur les 16 000 dossiers déposés, seulement 4 000 ont été traités par l'administration. En 6 mois, près 2 500 dossiers nouveaux auraient été traités.

Donc, avec un effectif de 100 personnes, le STDR accelère la cadence pour traiter les dossiers mais il lui reste beaucoup de de travail !

A ce ryhtme, il faudra encore 6 ans pour finir tous les dossiers en cours.