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French govt. plan to scan social media for tax avoidance causes huge alarm

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Contractors working in France are urged to ensure that their financial and tax affairs are in order after the French government recently announced plans to monitor individuals’ spending habits by keeping an eye on tax residents social media accounts.

This controversial plan, which is currently being debated by the French parliament, would allow the government to collect information from social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as to monitor activity on bidding sites, such as eBay. If the motion were to be passed in parliament, data monitoring and compilation would be allowed for three years on a trial basis.

In defence of the monitoring plans, public action and accounts minister Gerald Darmanin, who put forward the proposal initially, has explained that the purpose of monitoring freelancers’ and contractors’ activity on social media would be to help identify any potential gaps between one’s declared income and their current lifestyle. In addition, the system could also show whether contract workers were trying to evade tax by claiming to live and work abroad, while in fact continuing to reside in France.

However, the data watchdog la Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL (which translates into the National Commission on Informatics and Liberties) has written to the French government expressing their concerns over these proposals, and has warned that the plans will raise “unprecedented questions over data protection”. CNIL, which is responsible for ensuring the protection of sensitive data in France, has also questioned the need for mass data collection, as opposed to adopting a more targeted approach to potential tax evaders. In addition, CNIL believes that the implementation of the monitoring plans will deter people from posting as freely on social media as they might have done previously.

Regardless of whether you feel threatened by the prospect of constant government surveillance – whether you are employed in France or elsewhere across Europe – it makes good sense to ensure that you are fully compliant with employment and taxation laws. If in doubt, 3C Global are always ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have in relation to tax, compliance and much more.


APSco SIA CM Member