1 July 2014 – In July 2013, thanks to civil society’s strong involvement and to the determination of some Members of the French Parliament, French banks have now the obligation to publish information on the activities carried out in the various countries where they are established. They had until 1 July 2014 to disclose the following data: the list of their subsidiaries and their activities and, country by country, the net banking income and the number of employees. All of them have now complied with this obligation. An example that European banks should follow.
Introducing an obligation for French banks to publish information on the activities carried out in the various countries where they operate was a great victory for civil society and Members of the French Parliament in the battle on the French Banking Act of July 2013. This transparency measure, which civil society has been demanding for 10 years for all MNCs, aims at fighting tax dodging by allowing to identify abuses of artificial profit shifting.
In accordance with the law which set the 1 July 2014 as time limit for them to report on their activities, French banks have published today the first part of the required information: the names of their subsidiaries and the nature of their activities, their turnovers and the number of employees country by country (1).
According to the Tax and Legal Haven Platform (Plateforme Paradis fiscaux et judiciaires), this first step is very important as it proves that getting more transparency is possible, even though it is still too early to know whether the provided information are good quality, exhaustive and sincere (2). France is sending a strong signal to the European Commission, at the time when the institution seems reluctant to demand the disclosure of this reporting model, which has been compulsory for European banks since August 2013. How else can we interpret the fact that the European Commission has appointed Pricewaterhousecoopers (3), an audit and consulting firm known to be opposed to the disclosure of these information, to assess the economic impact of the reporting model?
Today, the Tax and Legal Haven Platform along with more than 30 European civil society organisations involved in social justice have sent a letter to the European Commission to denounce the use of an audit firm which has a biased position on the matter. It further warns French government, asking to put forward French banks’ transparency in the European debate.
Véronique de la Martinière | CCFD-Terre Solidaire |+33 (0)1 44 82 80 64|
Jean Merckaert | Sherpa | +33 (0)6 81 84 30 64
Harold Heuzé | Anticor | +33 (0)6 64 62 06 15
Note to editors
(1) From 1 July 2015, they will also have to disclose paid taxes, profits, and country by country payments to governments.
(2) The platform will soon issue an analysis of the first data disclosed by French banks.
(3) On 24 February 2014, in the framework of the OECD’s BEPS (Base erosion and profit shifting) process, PwC advocated for a reporting model that would be strictly reserved for tax administrations.Last modified: 17 December 2019