The Pensioneer Trustee Company (Guernsey) Limited
T +44 (0) 1481 743760
A new French law that appears to require pension fund trustees to report to France’s tax authority on UK personal pensions that have French tax-resident beneficiaries is causing confusion among financial advisers and pension fund administrators.
Frustratingly for those advisers and trustees with clients living in France who have UK personal pensions, the French authorities have consistently failed to clarify the matter, advisers and trustees have told International Adviser.
Efforts to obtain answers by this publication were also unsuccessful.
As of yesterday evening, questions emailed and followed-up over the phone to the French Embassy in London’s press office went unanswered.
The Loi de Finances Rectificative pour 2011, which took effect on 31 July 2011, introduced a range of measures that oblige trustees to report on the trust’s French assets, their French beneficiaries, and/or any French settlors.
It has been described as a French “FATCA for trusts”, because it aims to collect information for the purposes of ensuring the payment of taxes.
As reported, under the new law, all trustees of foreign trusts whose beneficiaries (or the “beneficiary deemed settlor”, in cases in which the original settlor has died) have until 17 June to declare the market value of the assets, rights or capitalised income of all trusts that were in existence as of 1 Jan 2013.
The deadline in situations in which the settlor or the beneficiary is a non-French tax resident, but the trust includes assets situated in France, is 2 September.
Advisers and tax experts note that one of the problems with the new law is that trusts are an Anglo-Saxon, common law concept, and thus unfamiliar to the French way of legal thinking, which is based on civil law.
The confusion for pension trustees and advisers arises from the text of the law, which can be read as granting an exemption from the reporting requirements to employer-sponsored pension schemes – but, say pension experts and advisers – makes no mention of personal pension plans.