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France to use spies and wire-tapping to track down tax evaders

Minister announces crackdown and who should be worried about new ‘elite agents’

The goal is to train 100 ‘elite agents’ by 2027 Pic: Maksim Shmeljov / Shutterstock

France plans to create a fiscal intelligence service to root out tax evasion.

Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal, announcing the policy, said: “Our priority is to make the ultra-rich and the multinationals who commit fraud pay what they owe.”

Includes use of tax reduction consultants

The intelligence service at the Finance Ministry will “recruit human sources working for financial institutions and pay them for their information”.

Agents will use intelligence techniques, including wire-tapping, to gain information.

The service will focus on “situations where the current tax auditing tools are impeded, notably funds hidden abroad in tax havens and opaque entities such as trusts, the use of tax reduction consultants and abusive optimisation by large multinationals,” Mr Attal’s office said in a press release.

Read more: How must I declare family trust in England under French law?

Tax audits to increase by 25%

The goal is to train 100 ‘elite agents’ by 2027, some of whom might come from existing intelligence services, with the first operating from 2025.

The number of tax audits, meanwhile, will increase by 25% between now and 2027, with a focus on the largest estates.

There are also plans to create an offence for incitement to tax fraud. 

People who share or sell tips for evading tax would risk up to three years in prison.

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