What are the penalties for tax evasion?
Verified 01 January 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)
Tax evasion is the avoidance or attempt to evade taxes by any means. Tax evasion is punished by tax and criminal sanctions.
You commit tax fraud if you use deliberately certain methods of avoiding or attempting to avoid taxation.
This is the case if you make the following choices:
- Do not report on time
- Hiding taxable property or income
- Surrender insolvent
You risk fiscal sanctions if you conceal taxable income or property.
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You didn't report your income on time
If the tax administration discovers the existence of hidden (i.e. undeclared) activity, your tax will be increased by 80%.
Your return is intentionally incomplete
You risk an increase if your return is voluntarily incomplete.
For example, if you have not declared property or taxable income, or if you have undervalued the value of your wealth.
Depending on your situation, this increase will be one of the following:
- 40% in case of voluntary forgetfulness
- 80% in case abuse of rights, reduced to 40% if you are not the initiator or primary beneficiary of the initiative
- 80% in case of fraud
You may also be charged interest on late payment.
They amount to 0.20% by month of delay (either 2.4% over 1 year).
If the tax administration detects fraud, it can engage criminal proceedings after obtaining the opinion of the Tax Offenses Commission.
In addition to tax penalties, you may face the following 2 penalties:
- €500,000 fine
- 5 years imprisonment
The penalties shall be increased in the following cases:
- Acts committed in an organized band
- Opening accounts or signing contracts with organizations established abroad
- Interposition of screen persons or bodies established abroad
- Use of false identity or documents (or any other falsification)
- Domiciliation or fictitious or artificial act abroad
In case of an aggravated penalty, you risk the following 2 penalties:
- €3 000 000 fine
- 7 years imprisonment
in the event of tax fraud, criminal proceedings may be instituted during 6 years from the year following the infringement.
Prison sentences are reduced by half if the perpetrator or accomplice of the crime participates in the identification of other perpetrators or accomplices.
if you acknowledge the facts, the public prosecutor may propose a appearance on prior conviction (sometimes called the procedure for plead guilty).
Who can help me?
Find who can answer your questions in your region
- General Tax Code: Articles 1729 and 1729-0 AInsufficient reporting: tax sanctions
- General Tax Code: Articles 1741 to 1753a BCriminal sanctions
- Tax procedures book: Article L64Abuse of rights
- Book of tax procedures: Articles L227 to L233Limitation period for prosecution
- Bofip-Taxes n°BOI-CF-INF-40-10-10 relating to criminal offenses and sanctions
- Circular of 23 January 2014 on combating tax fraud and serious economic and financial crime (PDF - 378.0 KB)
- Law n°2016-1917 of 29 December 2016 on finance for 2017: article 109International tax evasion: compensation for whistleblowers