The finance ministers Michel Sapin and Budget Christian Eckert were all delighted, this Thursday, March 3, 2015 to reveal the results of the tax audit. After visiting the offices of large companies audit Directorate in Pantin, where bloodhounds tax authorities have dissected in public the intricacies of some fiscal sleight tricks that made the field day the press, used by Google or Mac Donald’s, it was the hour digits. And they are good or even record: tax officials have ended the year with 21.2 billion reassessments and penalties (approximately 11.5 billion for businesses, 9, 7 billion for individuals), more than 19 3 billion in 2014, 18 billion in 2013, and especially more than 15-16 billion which were usual before 2012.
tax repented, a windfall that will not last
in the central bankers of Bercy, this is great news, they were quick to value. First, because in these tight fiscal times obliged hunt tax evaders is the most consensual way to get money into the boxes: it is much less to take in tax increases or decrease public spending. But because these figures prove that resolute action from the government to beef up the fight against tax fraud finally bearing fruit. Ministers stood there the opportunity to shut up at the Court of Auditors, in its annual report published on 10 February, while acknowledging the efforts undertaken, worried, based on 2014 figures, the performance still disappointing fiscal control.
the Sages deplored while the displayed upward adjustments -in 2014- comes “only” from the windfall of $ 1.9 billion in revenue came processing Service corrective statements ( PADS), the famous cell created in June 2013 where the tax repented hurry driven by Switzerland and Luxembourg. But the report said the Court, these “exceptional revenues are not sustainable since they consist of tax and penalties on reminders of past years will end when the adjustments are completed. The efficiency of tax audits could then regain its previous level in the creation of PADS or a lower level, as is the case in 2014 excluding revenues PADS. “
The 2015 results belie this concern: while last year, the processing of tax records repented again helped well to recover 2.6 billion (700 million compared to 2014), but contributed only a third the total increase in fiscal performance monitoring. For 2016 years, Bercy also provides that the revenue of the cell regulation will start to decrease, with a target of 2.4 billion; and 2017 will probably be the last year when the reckoning PADS will still significant.
An arsenal of anti-fraud measures expanded
To compensate for the end ahead of this windfall, the Ministry of Finance relies on the arsenal he has consistently strengthened to improve the efficiency of tax control. Indeed, in the era of François Hollande, the fight against fraud taxes was erected first. The subject has the advantage of being labeled left, and made popular since the crisis. “It is unbearable to our fellow citizens in times of budgetary scarcity, to see the great fortunes and multinationals to overcome the tax that weighs heavier on everyone,” repeated Michel Sapin. Not a budget law without new measures.
particular side, the tax police investigation powers have been boosted, the obligations of some internédiaires (banks, e-retailers, …) to inform the expanded tax, administrative fines and criminal sanctions tightened. business side, arrangements were made to require better justify their optimization schemes, to counter some frauds organized to VAT, ban offending box software … “We took no less than 70 new anti-fraud measures since the beginning of the term “boasts Sapin. Efforts also focused on better coordination of services (taxes, customs, URSSAF, Tracfin …), equipment and computer training officers, while the numbers of auditors have been preserved (but not those of all tax audit).
Finally, the French tax authorities benefit from the clear improvement of international cooperation on tax matters. The crisis has pushed large countries, through the G20 and the OECD, to whistle the end of recess for the most abusive practices tax optimization that siphon their tax revenues: Europe has finally decided to bring order in the fierce competition between countries and prohibit agreements opaque measure that allowed companies to obtain an ultra-discount tax and the OECD, with the help of the United States, pushed a sixty countries some tax havens (Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong …) to move to automatic exchange of information between fiscs. Sign of the improved collaboration, the responses from Switzerland to French requests jumped from 3,400 in 2011 to over 6,500 in 2015.
Two areas for improvement, VAT and e -commerce
still, Eckert acknowledged that he still had to carry two large sites, “where there is good potential for improvement.” First, the fight against scams VAT: controls reported there under 4 billion while the European Commission estimates the shortfall in VAT in France to 14 billion. Despite past ten measures into law three years to counter this scourge is particularly tough. Budget Minister setting out the progress of the data screening programs (data mining) automatically detecting suspicious situations in company accounts. “700 venture firms were identified in 2015 through this program, which would not have been identified otherwise,” says he
Other difficult to counter tax evaporation. The boom of sites e-commerce between individuals (AirBnB, BlaBlaCar Le Bon corner …), which often do not report the income they receive. “Collaborative economy should not mean voluntary taxation” rumbles Eckert signaling that the last six months, these sites are obliged to communicate to the tax history of customer transactions on request. But it will surely develop specific legislation to align with commercial innovations from the Web
It remains a black spot. The effective debt recovery. In 2015, receipts (the money actually arrived in the funds) totaled 12.2 billion, certainly a marked increase from 2014 (10.4 billion), but the money actually recovered will therefore only half the sums claimed (21.2 billion)! The Court of Auditors pointed this “very unsatisfactory level” … figure far less publicized than the remedies.