Declaring foreign bank accounts and life insurance policies held abroad

Who must declare ?

This obligation applies to individuals domiciled in France within the meaning of Article 4 B of the General Tax Code (CGI), whether they are account holders, joint holders, economic beneficiaries or beneficial owners.

France consists of mainland France, Monaco (for French residents established there since 14 October 1957), the overseas départements as well as the islands of Saint Bartholomew and Saint Martin, whether individuals hold an individual account or one with a co-signer, or benefit from power of attorney over a foreign bank account.

The taxpayer can also be a legal representative of a minor or a protected adult member of a tax household.

Which accounts are concerned ?

All bank accounts, life insurance policies and digital assets contract opened, held, used or closed abroad during the year.

This includes accounts opened with banks, investment service providers, public administrations or individuals such as notaries or money changers that receive deposits in securities, shares or cash on a regular basis.

It also includes life insurance policies taken out with insurance companies and similar institutions.

It does not, however, concern accounts used to make payments for online purchases or deposits concerning sales of goods that total less than €10,000 a year for all accounts taken together, where such accounts that were used for transactions are backed by one or more accounts opened in France.

 

How to file your return ?

You must file at the same time as you file returns concerning all of your earnings during the year.

Use appendix form no. 3916 (bank accounts, life insurance policies) or no. 3916bis (digital assets contract), which you can select when you file online. If you are filing a paper return, you can download the form from the impots.gouv.fr website. You can also note down all of the elements required to identify the account or life insurance policy on a piece of paper.

You must declare every account that was opened, held, used at least once, or closed during the year. The same is true for life insurance policies.

You should file one single return for an account or policy for a couple, whether both are account- or policy-holders, or one or the other has a power of attorney to act for the main account holder.

When the taxpayer is acting on behalf of a third party who is not a member of the tax household, he or she must file a paper return with the Individual Tax Department with jurisdiction over the holder of the account or policy.

Penalties

Penalties shall apply :

  • In the case of an incomplete or missing information in a return ; the fine is stipulated in paragraph 2 of Article 1729 B of the French General Tax Code.

  • In the case of non-filing (Article 1736 of the CGI) ; the fine is set at €1,500 for each undeclared account. Where the filing requirement concerns a country or territory that has not concluded a tax treaty with France for the purposes of combating tax evasion, the fine is raised to €10,000.

Taxation of presumed earnings, under the provisions of Article 1649A of the CGI, with a surcharge of 40%.

 

UPDATED DINR PART – APRIL 26, 2021