Monday, July 22, 2019
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The tax gamble to reconnect with companies

Bercy is putting the finishing touches to his new "relationship of trust" with companies. By the end of the month, the Minister of Action and Public Accounts, Gérald Darmanin, should present to the economic actors new tax audit procedures, issued from the law for a State in the service of a trustworthy company , better known as the "right to error".

The main novelty lies in the creation of a "fiscal partnership", inspired by the British or Dutch approach. Open to large groups and SMEs, this approach is based on a logic where the company is transparent by exposing itself its tax topics, following which the administration validates its positions.

This project is the result of several months of consultations with business circles, but also an experiment, conducted for five years, with thirty companies. On the side of the administration as taxpayers, the returns of this experimentation were positive. But the approach was time-consuming for the tax department and sometimes resembled a permanent tax audit.

To perpetuate this "relationship of trust", the administration has preferred to refocus on certain topics proposed by the company. It will not be a tax clearance and the taxpayer can be rectified in other aspects.

Legal security

It is difficult to estimate at this stage the success of this new offer. As a first step, a first team of 25 to 30 people will be created within the Department of Large Enterprises (DGE) in Bercy, thus independent of the tax audit. It should be headed by one of the heads of DVNI (responsible for controlling large companies), and composed of profiles of auditors, known for their technical competence. "We will adapt the means to the appetite that we meet", says one to Bercy.

Several major groups have already expressed interest, including Total, which has experimented with similar procedures in Britain, the Netherlands and Australia. "We appreciate the legal certainty that this brings, explains Nathalie Mognetti, tax director of the oil group. We settle the issues when they arise, rather than returning to them three years later. We save time because we do not have to re-explain the topics to the auditor every year. "

Among the topics that could be addressed are the new deductibility rules for loan interest, which have become much more complex since the last budget law.

Regulatory unit

This new approach will be supplemented by a regulation unit to which companies will be able to comply, with a reduction in penalties. Companies could, for example, regularize fraudulent editing after an acquisition or clarify the existence or not of a permanent establishment.

Taxpayers could find an interest in opening the lock Bercy. Since the passing of the law on fraud, companies can be subject to criminal prosecution if they are subject twice to penalties of 40% for "willful failure".

Finally, an ordinance should create a new mission of tax certification for the auditors. SMEs could get their accounts certified by a trusted third party. In the event of recovery, they would ask for the reimbursement of mission expenses and would be exempted from default interest.

Ingrid Feuerstein

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