The deadline for filing tax claims—including refund claims—with the French administrative courts may be at risk in instances when taxpayers have filed claims with the French tax authorities, but have not yet received an explicit negative reply.
Under provisions of the French rules for tax procedures (LPF), claims are considered as tacitly rejected after a period of six months from the date when the claim was filed. There is no deadline for filing an appeal against such tacit rejections with the administrative tax court (tribunal administratif). However, when the claim has been explicitly rejected by the tax authorities, the taxpayer / claimant must file an appeal with the tribunal administratif within a two-month period (extended to four-month for non-resident taxpayers).
Pursuant to a decree (2 November 2016), certain tax professionals have expressed doubts that these due-date rules no longer apply and have recommended that taxpayers that have filed claims before 30 April 2016, but have not yet been answered by the French tax authorities, need to file an appeal with the relevant tribunal administratif before 31 December 2016. The November 2016 decree modified article R421-3 of the Administrative Justice Code (Code de Justice Administrative) so that the two-month period within which a judicial appeal must be filed with the relevant tribunal administratif also applies when the claim is considered to be tacitly rejected. The decree further sets out that this modification applies to appeals filed with the French administrative courts on or after 1 January 2017.
Tax professionals with Fidal* do not have the same interpretation of the November 2016 decree, but take the position that the decree does not apply to tax claims because tax claims are subject to the specific provisions of the French LPF—and not to the provisions of the Code de Justice Administrative. Tax professionals with Fidal (as well as other professionals and associations of major French companies) have contacted the French tax authorities who (verbally) expressed an opinion sharing this view. However, in view of the amounts at stake and the reactions of the French marketplace, tax professionals with Fidal are attempting to obtain an official clarification from the author of the decree, clarifying that the decree does not apply to tax claims.
Meanwhile—and in order to protect tax claims if the decree were to be found to apply to tax claims—taxpayers need to consider filing judicial appeals with the tax court prior to 31 December 2016.
For more information, contact a tax professional with Fidal* in France or with KPMG in the United States:
Gilles Galinier-Warrain | +33 1 55 68 16 54 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Olivier Ferrari | +33 1 55 68 18 14 | email@example.com
Laurent Leclercq | +33 1 55 68 16 42 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Seroin | +1 (212) 954-2523 | email@example.com
* Fidal is a French law firm that is independent from KPMG and its member firms.
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