• France's news in English

France mulls tax law to encourage 'snitching'

Malcolm Curtis · 17 Sep 2013, 15:20

Published: 17 Sep 2013 15:20 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A much-hyped law against tax fraud and financial wrongdoing was given a second reading on Tuesday in the French lower house National Assembly, after Socialist MP Sandrine Mazetier proposed an amendment to encourage convicted tax evaders to turn others over to the "tax police".

The lawmaker has justified the measure by noting that tax fraud in France amounts to “between €60 billion and €80 billion annually”, France's BFM TV reported.

Under the proposal the legislation would cut sentences in half if a convicted tax fraudster provides an administrative or judicial authority with information that allows “other tax dodgers or accomplices to be identified”.

Mazetier said the amendment only applies to a reduction in jail time and cooperative tax evaders “would not be exonerated from tax penalties, fines and damages”. 

The Socialist government's new tax fraud legislation aims to crack down on offenders and does away with a scheme under former president Nicolas Sarkozy labelled by left-wingers as a “gift for the wealthy”.

The scheme allowed citizens with undeclared assets outside the country to declare them and negotiate a penalty without admitting to fraudulent intent, BFMTV noted.

Among other things, the new legislation calls for the creation of a “tax police” with special investigative powers, including surveillance and infiltration.

The law would empower the force to confiscate fortunes and authorize all sources of information.

Currently, the maximum penalty for tax fraud in an organized gang is five years in jail.

In addition to raising the prison term to seven years, the legislation would boost the maximum fine to €2 million from the current €500,000.

The law distinguishes between “active” and “passive” tax dodgers, with lower penalties for the latter group.

An example of a passive evader would be a French citizen who has inherited undeclared assets in a Swiss bank account.

The law regards an active tax dodger as someone who personally takes steps to escape paying the taxman.

The bill's reading comes just two days after it was reported two Swiss banks were making efforts to weed out French tax evaders by asking them for proof that they were not dodging any charges.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available