Everything you need to know about tax controls in France

French tax controls

In France, tax and accounting isn’t just paperwork, but actually a legal obligation. As such, tax controls can be very stressful if you don’t really know about them.

Why am I being controlled? Did I do something wrong?

There are really two reasons why tax authorities would perform a tax control:

  • It’s a random check
  • They’ve grown suspicious of your tax returns

There are a couple of differences between the two. In the first case, you’ll generally be warned 15 days before they actually do the tax control, but in the second case, if they think you’re committing fraud, they may come without notice. It’s really less a tax control, and more a police control. So don’t worry, if you’re panicking because tax authorities told you they’d control you, you should be in the clear.

After coming once, the tax authorities will usually ask you to prepare documents for next time, and come a couple times a week for a little while.

Is there anything I should do for these tax controls?

You should probably have your accounting expert by your side during these checks. They’re more used to answering these types of questions, and if you’re alone, you might get in trouble for saying more than you need to and thus giving incomplete information.

As an expat, you might find that the tax authorities are being unusually tough on you. Generally, this is because of misconceptions foreigners have when setting up in France. Again, here, accounting is part of the law, so it could cause some problems if you did it in the same way as in your home country, without checking the French system first. That’s another reason why hiring an accountant is important for your activity.