Tax related non disclosure

A friend posted this on Facebook and I wondered if anyone else had encountered this.

A word of warning to all Facebook friends who are, for tax purposes, domiciled in France. We have been, as the tax authorities freely acknowledge, assiduous in declaring all our income, including that from bank accounts held overseas, in the UK. But we overlooked the need to attach to our returns a list of our overseas accounts including those that pay no interest (form 3916). Net result - a fine of 1500 euros per account, per year. A total of 6000 euros in our case. The lady in the tax office was very sympathetic but it was out of her hands. Word has come down from on high that the law must be enforced. A nice little earner for Mr Hollande’s government. We shan’t forget again!

Well good luck!I hope it all works out OK in the end. Pat

Hope it works out Michael.

Patricia, thank you for your sympathy. I am happy to own up to being a bit slapdash in dealing with forms but we really thought we had it sorted with the help of our friendly local tax office. I have been waiting to update this thread with the end of the story but we are not there yet. Our appeal for a remise gracieuse was dismissed out of hand. We have subsequently appealed to the tax ombudsman who is currently reviewing the papers. In the meantime we were summoned by the official who will eventually collect our fine. He was sympathetic and said that he had the authority to reduce the fine substantially but that we needed now to wait for the ombudsman's ruling. So the story continues. Michael

Thanks for posting Patricia and please feel free to comment in the new SFN Suggestion Tin - completely anonymous and we will be taking all feedback on board. Thanks! x

Yes Catherine, I was wondering the Same thing!You certainly have ‘Holier than thou’ off pat Simon!
This thread started with someone sharing a dreadful situation where a friend got fined a ridiculous and unwarranted amount of money for omitting to attach a list of accounts even though he had previously declared them and was equally clearly not intending to perpetrate fraud as a warning for others to not get into the same situation equally unwittingly!
This person has since by various people been denounced as a fraudster, idiot for not knowing what to do, person who has loads of money ‘sloshing’ around in foreign accounts who deserves to have it taken off him and finally a potential money launderer or even a drug dealer!
I for one have had enough! This network is supposed to be supportive and informative but the way this poor man has been vilified is neither helpful nor fair. I for one am grateful that Michael’s friend put his situation on her for the very reason it was I believe intended, as a warning.
I don’t want to feel that this network is not helpful as it is in a lot of cases a life saver for people like me who are still finding their feet here in France. Insufferable know-alls who judge everyone else to be be stupid aren’t helpful and just make you stop reading what might be useful.
Helpful input is always welcome but I really wish there was some monitoring of the site to e clued people who are verging on troll like posts.
I’m sure said people will post their troll like replies to this but personally I’m not going to give anymore time to it.
Michael I’m sorry that you have had to have such an awful slap on the wrist but thanks to your friend who warned us all!

I have to agree with Jane about your ‘opinions’. My husband works and pays tax in UK and he transfers money into an English account that I retained (which is all legal and above board) to upkeep our house in France. I have retired and have my pension going into my English account too. The bank know that I live in France and I am not doing anything illegal but it is a minefield not knowing exactly what you are supposed to do to declare everything in a way that keeps French bureaucracy happy and it is easy to put a step wrong if you don’t know what they want you to do. This does not mean that people who have been fined are trying to cheat or that they should be vilified by people with your ‘opinions’.

I thought that statement was thoughtless as well. I am American. I have family in the US. I like to give my grandchildren gifts. I need a US bank account. A French check would do them little good. We also have family in the UK. Again, the need for a foreign bank account, but we have always included these accounts in our tax return.

No strictly to do with Tax, ut I’ve just seen this message on my HSBC bank account given we have previously had discussions on scam phone calls!
Your security is our priority

Keep your finances and personal data safe.

Be alert for suspicious phone calls, texts and emails purporting to be from your bank, utility or telecoms companies - or even the police. At HSBC we are doing everything we can to keep your money and information safe, but we need you to be wary as well.

Fraudsters may contact you claiming that a fraud has already taken place on your account, insisting that immediate action must be taken to safeguard your finances. Don’t be pressured into revealing sensitive details such as personal and financial information, or passwords and Online Banking codes.

Forward suspicious emails to

To learn more about keeping yourself safe from financial crime and fraud, visit the security section of the HSBC website.

Thanks again. I shall keep all of that info to hand - and introduce myself to the Mairie asap! :-)

The best thing to do when you arrive is to let the local Marie know that you are now resident. It’s probably worth talking to the local tax office to check that they know that your postal address is the house in France. All local tax demands will then be sent there. Your first tax return is a bit different. You are responsible for making your first return in the May of the year after your arrival. Don’t worry all the online forums will be full of people asking for advice. A first time tax return has to be done on paper, after that you have the option of online returns instead. You will be able to pick up the paper forms from your tax office in April/May or they will also be available to download and print off then as well.

Thank you for that info. May I impose upon you further and ask if we have to go to a Tax Office to declare our domicility, or is this something that the Notaire would have done when we purchased our house (beginning of July)? If the latter, does that mean that we will receive the appropriate form(s) in due course? I am also in the dark with regards to the Taxe Fonciere. Do I have to present myself at the Mairie, or will they have been informed of our presence in the village?

Many thanks.

Your position is perfectly normal for many people. When you fill in your first French tax return you will need to ensure that your various pension incomes are noted in the correct place. The important thing being highlighted by the OP is to ensure that you complete a Form 3196 listing all your open, or recently closed overseas accounts. Failure to do so can be expensive whether you’re an international financial genius or a small person.

We are currently only in the process of domiciling ourselves in France. However, I have been assured that, since both of us were, for a short time, "government employees", then those modest occupational pensions must be paid into a UK bank account. Our state pensions may be sent directly to the French account that we have just opened, but that is not at the top of our current list of priorities.

As Jane has suggested, it is wise not to judge everyone by one's own circumstances and situation. We are certainly of the "little people", but consider ourselves to be blessed because we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and some food (albeit, mostly Leclerc Eco) on the table.

Kind regards.

Norman did you know that apparently the UK Gov has recently issued a directive to banks there that they must allow people without a UK address to open a bank account!

Hear hear! I agree with Jane.

I have been saying that for months but people 'over there' who are informed by the Mail, Express, Sun and Telegraph all say that the UK is the most successful economy in Europe (they might concede the Germans are better, but just), even one of the best in the world at present, albeit on proportional scale both Argentina is doing as well and Uruguay far better, Korea is still pretty good, Viet Nam improving, Indonesia close to the UK and improving fast but dear Gideon has assembled one of the biggest national debts anywhere, so in real terms...

From the Daily Telegraph last week:
For starters, France’s growth figures for the first quarter of this year were twice as good as ours. It’s true they do have signficantly higher unemployment, but they also have extremely high productivity. In fact, as The Economist recently noted, “The French could take Friday off and still produce more than Britons do in a week.” This is not something you hear very often from our chancellor. They also have a rather better balanced economy and a considerably lower Gini Coefficient, the preferred measure of inequality. While we’re at it, they beat us on GDP per capita, earn roughly the same and have a lower cost of living.
Doesn’t sound that bad to me!

Yep - you have indeed missed a couple of things Anthony . Firstly, a Paypal vendors account most certainly does have it's own unique number (I have one) and secondly, if you read on to around page 8 of this thread - I've covered off the 10€k turnover issue.

Seemingly not so, Simon. a PayPal account does not have a number and this useful link tells us that we do NOT have to declare our PayPal account (unless activitiy in it was +10K euros). Mine wasn't.

If I have missed something, pls let me know.