Minister outlines French measures against tax avoidance
Tax evasion – Reply by M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister Delegate for the Budget, to a question in the National Assembly (excerpts)
Paris, 5 June 2013
You ask me about stepping up the fight against tax avoidance. And you’re right to do so: we’re in a period of restoring our public finances to a sound footing, and this requires the state administration, public funds and all French people to contribute. In such a context, we can’t accept French people paying their taxes to enable public services to function while, at the same time, tax avoidance goes unpunished when it’s estimated at €1,000 billion in the European Union and €70 billion in France, according to union organizations.
That’s why our country has increased the number of initiatives within the EU, and it will be presenting a bill to the Assembly with a view to combating tax avoidance more effectively. The Finance Minister, Pierre Moscovici, has initiated procedures at EU level to ensure a list of non-cooperative countries and territories is drawn up, in order for agreements on automatic information exchange to be put in place to make the fight against evaders more effective, so that agreements similar to FATCA [Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act] can be negotiated with countries outside the EU to exchange information to the full.
At the same time, we want to improve our police’s tax investigation capabilities: when there are bogus companies and overseas accounts, we’ve got to be able to have stricter punishment. We’re calling on all tax evaders, whose only prospect now will be to see tougher penalties imposed on them, to abide by the law and go to the tax authorities. (...) Under the terms of the law to be put to Parliament, we will be uncompromising with tax evaders, because fraud can’t enjoy any incentives, rewards or leniency./.