If the case of "the Paradise Papers" has shed light on the tax practices of large groups, the small bosses are not left out.
The recent scandal of "the Paradise Papers" has unveiled some of the mechanisms used by large groups of stars at the world-famous to escape the tax. But in the case of tax evasion, the profile type does not exist.
"When we talk about tax evasion, we think of multinational corporations. But the problem also affects the smaller companies," stresses Manon Aubry, a spokesman for Oxfam France, who recalls that several leaders of SMES have been pinned in recent years.
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"They only use the tools at their disposal"
"These are practices that tend to generalize", is full of Christian Chavagneux, columnist at Alternatives économiques, and author of the book "tax Havens". "There is a form of democratisation of the tax optimization", he adds, citing the scandal of Luxleaks, in 2014, where the majority of the companies in question were "companies of intermediate size".
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Not easy, however, to assess with precision the extent of the phenomenon, in the case of a domain that is opaque by definition. "There are probably few SMES involved, but it is far from being a common practice," says the secretary general of the CPME, Jean-Eudes du Mesnil du Buisson.
"small businesses have nothing to envy to the multinational companies", ensures that the reverse Paul Duvaux, a tax lawyer in Paris, who is said to see a "frequent recourse" to the tax arrangements in the small bosses. "These are legal practices: they only make use of the tools at their disposal," he insists.
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An offshore account to bill for his services to the foreign
a marginal Phenomenon or a general trend? For Manon Aubry, the truth lies probably between the two. "The issues in financial terms are much more important in multinational companies. But the cost of access to these devices is low enough that the SMES are interested in it also", says the spokesperson for Oxfam, which calls into question the specialized firms.
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On the Internet, many companies offer their services to business leaders, in the image of bethelfinance.com, which offers on its website a wide choice of tax optimization: "a subsidiary in Luxembourg", "european headquarters irish" or "creation of offshore companies". "All of these techniques are used by large groups, and are therefore perfectly legal. Our goal is to offer to SMES," explains the firm, which promises its customers "privacy" and "security".
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This service offering, and sometimes goes until the canvassing proactive. "When I created my company, the first letter I received was an email offering me to open a offshore account to charge for my services abroad," says, under the cloak of anonymity, a computer expert in paris.
According to this forty-something woman, which explains will be offered then by his accountant to work in the umbrella company with a service company in computer engineering (SSII) based in Ireland, "it is a common practice": "in the lot, some accept, of course".
legality of any related
All sectors are cependantpas in the same boat. "The use of tax havens mainly concerns the professions that can be done at a distance and that do not require a physical work place, such as the activities of the council and the sale by correspondence," says Paul Duvaux.
"It is easier to do tax evasion when you work on the Internet that when one is a PMU by example", grant Manon Aubry, who is concerned about the consequences of the dematerialisation of the economy. Oxfam calls for "more transparency and more regulation, particularly in the control of intermediaries".
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beginning Sign of change? In July, the head of a firm, "France offshore", has been sentenced to five years in prison with three suspended. In the media, this company, which operated between 2008 and 2012, was dangling the "tax paradise for all", with mounts of paperwork passing through Latvia.
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"there is still progress to be made, but things are progressing," insists Christian Chavagneux, that believes that it is important not to take for granted the arguments advanced by the proponents of the tax optimization. "Their defense is to say "it is legal". But often, this legality has not been tested before the courts. So it is all relative".