France Presents National Tax Evasion Action Plan
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The French Finance Ministry has published its national Action Plan for enhancing tax transparency
and preventing the misuse of companies and other vehicles, including trusts, as
part of its commitments to the G8 group of industrialized nations.
Underlining the importance of combating tax evasion and tax fraud, as well
as money laundering and terrorism financing, France unveiled details of its
firm commitments to ensuring the transparency of the beneficial ownership of companies,
other vehicles and trusts, which involves identifying who effectively controls
and takes profit from a company or a legal arrangement.
To this end, the French Government aims to issue France's new National
Risk Assessment on Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, in accordance with
the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendation, by the end of 2014. This
includes assessing the proper risks associated with different types of legal
persons and other vehicles established in France.
It intends to assess France's central public registry for companies (Registre
du Commerce et des Sociétés – RCS), in terms of its efficiency at providing adequate, accurate, and current information, and propose and implement
means to improve the situation if necessary, including other means to ensure
access to beneficial ownership for the administrative authorities.
The Government also undertakes to continue to ensure comprehensive and effective
legislation regarding trusts and other similar legal arrangements. France's
legislation and regulation regarding the identification and taxation of the
beneficial owners of trusts is provided for under Article 14 of the July 2011
supplementary finance law, and completed by the decree from September 14, 2012.
Furthermore, France pledges to evaluate mechanisms to ensure that competent
authorities have access to information regarding other corporate vehicles and
financial instruments and to improve them if appropriate.
The Government commits to reviewing the consistency of the application of the
current anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing obligations imposed
on both financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions,
including trusts and company service providers, to identify and verify the beneficial
ownership of their customers, and to assess the need to extend or improve the
In addition, the Government aims to strengthen the legal framework and sanctions
regarding the fight against corruption, tax evasion, and tax fraud, for instance
in the case of the misuse of foreign entities and legal arrangements. To this end,
two bills are currently being debated in parliament under an expedited procedure,
namely the Government's anti-tax evasion bill and the organic bill relating
to the special financial prosecutor (projet de loi relatif à la lutte
contre la fraude fiscale et la grande délinquance économique et
financière and projet de loi organique relatif au procureur de la République
Finally, the Government stresses its commitment to promoting international cooperation on
and comprehensive obligations for an effective exchange of basic and
beneficial ownership information on companies, trusts and other legal entities.
During the latest G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, leaders signed a document
setting out "core principles that are fundamental to the transparency of
ownership and control of companies and legal arrangements." Its aim is
to ensure that companies and trusts obtain and hold information on their beneficial
ownership. It also calls for the establishment of central registries containing
these details, at either national or state level, and for the robust enforcement
of sanctions in cases of non-compliance.
Each G8 jurisdiction pledged to produce a national Action Plan, based on these
principles and to publish updates on the progress made.