Tuesday, February 05, 2013

French updates: Hollande supports full country-by-country reporting, plus, data on information exchange

Guest blog by Mathilde Dupré of CCFD-Terre Solidaire.
We had two big successes this past year in our tax haven campaign which we want to share widely.

Here is the exact answer made by French President François Hollande to CCFD-Terre Solidaire (and to ONE) during the campaign, in April 2012, on full country-by-country reporting:
“I am in favour of country-by-country accounting disclosure by quoted companies in France, whatever their sector of activity and not only in extractives ... If I am elected, I will make issues of regulation, transparency, and fight against tax avoidance and evasion major topics for the next G8 and G20.”
(See more on President Hollande's response here)

We also want to share an amazing tool to challenge current standards of information exchange on request: Annual Report of the Government on the Network of Agreements on Exchange of Information.

The report said, among other things, that in 2011 France made 1922 information requests of its partners, including 308 requests to jurisdictions with which France has some kind of information exchange agreement. Of these 308, only 195 responses had been received by the end of the year, and 113 had not replied - 84 of which concerned Switzerland and Luxembourg. The less transparent countries include Belgium, and Antigua and Barbuda (0% responses); Luxembourg (45%); Cayman Islands and Switzerland (55% each) and BVI (75%).

According to national law defining France's list of non-cooperative jurisdictions and countries, those secrecy jurisdictions should be introduced in the list. (Unfortunately, Luxembourg and Belgium would be exempted because of a specific clause related to European countries).

In 2010 we proposed an amendment to the French Finance Law of 2011 requiring an annual report from the government to the parliament about:
  • the number of requests sent, received and answered
  • the number of controls made on other anti abuse rules
  • the amount of money collected based on the above.
In 2011, the government only produced a report about the number of Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) signed.

In 2012, we had a public report with a table of data by countries about the number of requests sent by France and the number of answers, which is very interesting indeed. The report is in French, but in the table you can see the date of ratification, the number of requests sent by France and the number of answers received for each country. Plus we have data about the number of controls and the amount of money collected via other tools.

As I doubt the OECD Global Forum might one day publish such data between countries, we are proposing that such reporting should be conducted within Europe at domestic and EU level this year.


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