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France: Measures to Fight Tax Evasion in Connection with Tax Havens

(Oct. 9, 2009) The French government has proposed inserting in the Finance Amendment Law 2009, scheduled for adoption by Parliament at the end of the year, several measures to reinforce its fight against tax evasion in uncooperative tax haven jurisdictions. These measures would apply to countries that at the beginning of 2010 would still be on the tax haven “grey list” set forth by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and to countries that have not signed a tax information exchange agreement with France. (Paradis Fiscaux: la France prendra des “mesures de rétorsion” début 2010, LESECHOS.FR, Sept. 30, 2009, available at

The government is considering the following measures:

· increasing the withholding tax on dividends and other sums paid in these jurisdictions;

· taxing dividends received from these jurisdictions;

· tightening controlled foreign corporation rules;

· prohibiting companies from deducting investments made in uncooperative jurisdictions;

· requiring the uncooperative jurisdictions to permanently maintain transfer pricing documentation; and

· imposing wealth and inheritance taxes on trusts, as these structures may hide the true identity of the real economic beneficiaries.

(Id, & Anne Michel, La France durcit le ton à l'égard des paradis fiscaux non-coopératifs, LE MONDE.FR, Sept. 30, 2009, available at

It has also been reported that France's banks will close their branches and subsidiaries in countries that remain on the “grey list” at the end of March 2010. (French Banks to Shut Branches in Tax Havens, Associated Press, Oct. 1, 2009, LexisNexis, News Library, Most Recent 90 Days File.)