The tax authorities may use information collected on online platforms

18 March 2021

The decree defining the terms of application of  the use, for tax control purposes, of data published by online platforms has been published.

Article 154 of Law 2019-1479 of December 28, 2019 authorized, on an experimental basis, the tax administration and the customs administration, each insofar as it is concerned, to collect and exploit by means of computerized and automated processing the content freely accessible on the websites of operators of online platforms, obviously made public by their users, in order to detect certain offenses. In tax matters, the authorities will search for concealed activities and false domiciliation.

The collection of content using assumed identities or accounts specially used for this purpose by the administration is prohibited.

Only content that relates to the person who deliberately disclosed it and that does not require a password or registration on the site in question can be collected and used.

The evidence collected cannot be used as a direct basis for an adjustment i.e. in accordance with the law, the information collected in this way can only be used against the taxpayer in the context of an audit (tax or customs audit).

In order to search for concealed activities, the administration will automatically collect the contents of natural and legal persons likely to carry out concealed economic activities, based on the indicators of professional activities and the identification elements of accounts and publications containing these indicators.

In order to search for breaches of tax domicile rules, the administration will collect the contents of the pages owned by these persons and will identify the location in France as well as the identification of the accounts and publications related to them.

The information collected constitutes an indication of a breach of the tax domicile rules if it reveals a significant presence in France or the existence of professional and personal ties with France.