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France: New important compliance burden for companies in France



Hélène Rives

Yves Tuleau

At the moment, companies in France may present computerised or paper accounting records for the purposes of a tax audit, at their own discretion. Under the third amended Finance Act for 2012, companies will be required to keep their accounting records in computerised form and to provide them to the tax authorities in the same format, under the technical norms and with the mandatory information as requested by tax provisions. Printed records will no longer be accepted.

Taxpayers failing to comply with this new rule will be liable for penalties as high as five per 1000 of the declared or reassessed gross revenue, that is as high as €500,000 ($658,000) penalties for a € 100 million company.

More importantly, a company's failure to present computerised accounting records could be considered willful opposition to the French tax authorities (FTA), which then could determine the taxable basis of the company unilaterally.

This new provision will apply to tax audits for which an audit notification is sent to the company after January 1 2014. Because tax audits launched in 2014 will cover previous financial years (in particular 2011 and 2012), this measure is effectively retroactive and requires that companies get prepared to provide appropriate accounting files upon the first visit of the tax inspector in case of tax audit.

Hélène Rives ( and Yves Tuleau (
Landwell & Associés – member of the PwC network, Paris

Tel: +33 (0) 1 56 57 42 20 and +33 (0) 1 56 57 40 31


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