French taxman to pay informers for info on wealthy expat tax avoiders

Published:  2 May at 6 PM
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The French tax office’s new move to pay informers for details of wealthy expats who fail to report their tax residency is aimed at targeting international tax dodgers.

Expats in France who aren't unusually well-off won’t need to worry, as the new laws are specifically aimed at wealthy foreign residents who spend part of the year in France and who have not declared themselves as tax resident. Tax officials have explained that rewards for informing on expats would only be given out if the information includes international scale offences such as transferring money to an undocumented foreign bank account. Those wealthy expats who live full-time in France without paying any taxes will also run the risk of being caught by the tax office’s innovative new idea.

The reason the seriously rich will be the sole targets of the new initiative is that it’s a measure to avoid the tax office being swamped by unfriendly neighbours’ reports about minor tax offences in the hope of taking advantage of the promised reward. The rule, valid for two years after its introduction, was passed by the French parliament as part of the recent finance law and goes against the general feeling that informing is considered unacceptable, even although it’s been the norm in Germany and the USA for some time.

France is traditionally a favourite destination for wealthy foreigners, many of whom are suspected of avoiding paying income and wealth taxes by hiding their money in tax havens or foreign bank accounts. The measure includes non-declared foreign accounts, account declarations and trusts, wherever they are held, and the payment to informers will depend on the amount of information they provide as well as the amount of fines the tax office can apply.

Just as happened a few years ago when a proposed tax increase was to be levied on the ultra-wealthy, it’s possible that the new measure might result in a number of very expensive properties hitting the real estate market as their owners depart for another, more tax-friendly location.

Source: The Connection, France
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