Overseas Chambers of Peter Harris

Maison de la Boucterie
Rue de la Boucterie
Saint Saviour
Jersey, JE2 7ZW

The French changes in Trust Declarations in 2019

June 19th 2019

The change in the French impôt de solidarité sur la fortune (ISF) to the impôt sur la fortune immobilère (IFI)  led to a temporary hiatus in information flows as to movable assets held for or by French residents in trust abroad.

Without actualy announcing this in the Parliamentary dicussions  on the projet de the loi de finances pour 2019, the French Parliament have rectified this anomaly, from the perspective of the new data age, and reintroduced the 2181 Trusts 2 obligation for movable assets by a sleight of hand in the loi de finances pour 2019 followed yb a decree ublished on 13th June, 1 workiung day beofre the annual 2181 Trust 2 deadline of 15th June.

I am not going to address the implications in detail, saving to say that the aim is to ensure that the trustal and fiduciary peregrinations of French resident constituants (assimilated settlors) and trustees remain documented. There are a number of Life Insurance policies held in trust waiting to attract penalties of €20.000 after CRS starts to make is presence felt. There are ways out, but I will not go into these here.

The decree of 13th June has just been published, one working day before the 2181 Trust2 Declaration date of Saturday 15th June. However, as it merely retransposes the régime prior to 2018, Those Trustees who had the foresight to file a 2181 Trust2 prior to 15th June on the old parameters will have escaped penalties of €20.000. One can always argue that the European Commission has just held Spanish such penalties disproportionate, and that that may have overridden the French Conseil Constutionnel's prior decision that such amounts were designed to ensure that these evasive anglo-saxon or rather Norman perversions of fiscal logic and property were correctly declared according to cartesian, now OECD principles. See http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2774_en.htm

The decree reinstates the 2181 Trust 1 event declaration (déclaration événementielle) required on the constitution, the modification and the termination of a trust over French situs movable assets or in the case of a French resident constituant or beneficiary any foreign movables held in trust. A Trustee failing to declare an event within one month will, again,  be faced with a penalty of €20.000, for which the French resident will be severally liable.

Those still advocating the use of will trusts under the 650/2012 EU Succession Regulation might wish to review their position and take tax advice on the matter. The fiscal implications of so doing in France are now extreme.

Please note that English Trusts of Land can in fact benefit from the status of pure immovables after the abolition of the doctrine of conversion in 1996. These in my opinion can escape declaration under 2181 Trust 1, and the position under the annual declaration 2181 Trust 2 can also be mitigated provided that the French resident includes a suitable valuation in any IFI declaration to which they may be subject.

Peter Harris