The secret department has 20 Hebrew-speaking employees, and is hiring five more to investigate tax evasion.
The only "department" ostensibly close in character to this secret is a new department established in the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for dealing with cases of Israelis, American-Israelis, and Americans with assets and money in Israel. This US Department, however, is a result of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) signed by Israel and the US, in which large amounts of information are passed by the countries about their taxpayers, and who has to handle that information. This was not the purpose for which the department was set up in the French tax authority.
The French department was established to handle Jewish tax evaders, and to have a strong understanding of the law. The tax evaders using Israel as a tax shelter.
Examining real estate deals
An international lawyer specializing in taxation who is familiar with the secret department says, "It is very, very irregular to hire 20 Hebrew-speaking employees, or any other language, in a foreign tax authority. Most tax authorities have one or two Hebrew speakers, and there are English or French-speaking employees in Israel for the purpose of signing conventions and conducting relations with the tax authorities of other countries. Everybody speaks English, but hiring 20 or more Hebrew-speaking investigators is very irregular. "
The lawyer adds that he learned from his acquaintance with the department and its employees that he worked in Israel. "They hired Hebrew-speaking French people, some of whom had previously lived in Israel and moved back to France," he told "Globes."
According to information obtained by "Globes," as part of the department 's activities, its employees take out Land Registry extracts for Israel. The investigators have mapped the streets in various cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Ra'anana, Netanya, and Jerusalem, in which many purchases by Jewish residents of France take place. They have been granted Land Registry extracts and examined the details of a deal in order to detect foreign passport numbers. The investigators cross-referenced with information in their databases and the reports by those Jews on their assets and income. In cases in which it was found that the person did not report the properties he bought in Israel, he was also summoned for questioning.
Informed sources "Globes" that a French Jew recently went to the secret department for an "audit" without knowing exactly what was discussed. For safety's sake, he took his lawyer with him - a fact that proved extremely important for him. During the discussion about his statements of his assets and funds, the questioners very quickly presented a Land Registry extract of all the French Jewish client's housing units in Israel. The discussion took place, and at the end, the lawyer wondered in what framework the new investigation was taking place. A seemingly innocent casual conversation in the corridor with one of the investigators revealed the fact that a special department for dealing with French Jews and their tax evasion was involved.
Targeting immigrants to Israel from France
Through the special division, in France, the tax authority in France has begun direct interrogation of the Jewish residents of France who are in the midst of immigrating to Israel, and they have not previously declared, and they are the reason why they have decided to immigrate to Israel.
According to figures from the Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, immigration from France has dramatically increased in recent years. 1,211 new immigrants arrived in Israel from France in the first half of 2017. A study conducted at Bar-Ilan University showed that the economic benefit for the Israeli economy from the absorption of Jews from France would reach $ 65 billion. The study assumes that 100,000 immigrants will arrive from France by 2026.
These figures are surprising to no one. Massive purchases of properties in Israel by French people in the United States of America and the United States in Israel through real estate purchases. These developments apparently attracted the attention of the French tax authority, which decided to target French Jews.
The sources also told "Globes" that the tax rate is so high that Israel Tax Authority in the United States are rejected. "They call the Israel Tax Authority almost every day, but many of the requests are rejected, because they do not meet the conditions of the conventions on exchange of information. They are just fishing, "says a source in information exchanges between the two countries.
The French embassy in Israel said in response, "In the framework of the campaign against tax evasion, the authorities in France conduct investigations concerning individual cases, in accordance with the international agreements. The authorities in France deny the existence of a special department. It is extremely important that the things that were written are false.
"Taxes in France are calculated according to risk considerations. There is therefore no connection whatsoever to the national affiliation or ethnic origin of taxpayers. Next year, automatic exchanges of information are scheduled between OECD member countries. "
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on December 28, 2017
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017
Source: Exclusive: France sets up tax