After the “Panama Papers” 18 months ago, here are the “Paradise Papers“, a new investigation of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The research of these journalists shows tax optimization schemes, usually legal, but thanks to which billions of dollars of unpaid taxes escape the finances of various States.
Among the celebrities mentioned in this investigation are Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Madonna, Shakira and many others.
Companies are also targeted, such as Nike, Apple, Facebook, Twitter or Über.
Finally, the French director Jean-Jacques Annaud would have placed in the Cayman Islands a portion of the income of certain films, and would not have declared them to the French tax authorities. He is said to have appointed a law firm to contact Bercy’s regularization unit.
Indeed, the service of treatment of the corrective statements (STDR), set up in June 2013, allows the taxpayers to spontaneously make a request for regularization for the bank accounts abroad not declared.
Through this spontaneous approach, taxpayers can benefit from reduced penalties and a complete absence of criminal prosecution for tax evasion. However, the limitation periods are lengthened, the STDR being able to go up to the ten previous years.
More than 50,000 taxpayers have disclosed more than 30 billion euros of assets abroad and paid nearly 8 billion euros in taxes.
However, the STDR will close in a few weeks, on December 31, 2017.
The closure of the STDR is mainly justified by the implementation of data exchange between the tax administrations of the acceding countries.
This tax cooperation already concerns 50 countries since the beginning of the year, and should affect 90 in 2018. For those who have already filed a regularization file, the closure of the STDR will have no consequences.
Latecomers who have not yet regularized their situation, still have until December 31 to begin this process. But, beware, only complete files will be accepted, including correction statements and all necessary documents, and payments.
They will be able to benefit from the conditions of regularization currently in force, even if the treatment of their file intervenes after January 1st, 2018.
After December 31, 2017, it will be too late: the reduction of penalties will be eliminated, the extension of the limitation period will be maintained, and the Tax Administration will have more means to reveal the undeclared bank accounts.
Cabinet Roche & Cie, Chartered english speaking accountant in Lyon, France.
Specialist in Real estate and non-résidents taxation.