Clarifications have recently been provided, through decrees and an order, on the conditions for accessing and consulting data contained in the registers of trusts and “fiducies” (French-style trusts) kept by the French General Directorate of Public Finances (Direction Générale des Finances Publiques, DGFiP).
Unlike certain authorities – judicial, police or administrative – authorized by law to have unlimited access to the information contained in the registers of trusts and fiducies, certain other persons, exhaustively listed by law, have a right of access limited solely to the information relating to the beneficial owners.
The various bodies, institutions and operators subject to anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CFT) requirements can thus access information on the identity of beneficial owners of trusts (name, name used, pseudonym, first names, month and year of birth, country of residence, nationality) and on the type and extent of the beneficial interests held (French Tax Procedure Code, Art. L 167, II).
In this regard, a decree issued on 2 April 2021 specifies that the information relating to the beneficial owners of trusts is accessible for a period of 10 years after the reasons for its registration have ceased to exist (French Tax Procedure Code, Art. R*167 derived from Decree no. 2021-387 of 2 April 2021).
It should also be noted that, as an exception to the obligation of professional secrecy in tax matters, the French national institute of intellectual property (Institut national de la propriété intellectuelle, INPI) has the right, under an order of 4 November 2020, to receive certain information on the beneficial owners of a trust or fiducie (French Tax Procedure Code, Art. L 167, III derived from Order no. 2020-1342 of 4 November 2020).
The information referred to, however, is limited solely to the data held on the beneficial owners of a trust or fiducie by the tax administration pursuant to Articles 1649 AB of the General Tax Code and 2020 of the Civil Code for purposes of keeping a national beneficial ownership register intended for an interconnection through a European central platform.
More recently, a decree of 27 August 2021 has re-established a provision of the General Tax Code providing for the implementation by the DGFiP of an automated personal data processing named “Register of trusts.”
The decree also provides a list of the information items processed in the framework of the register as well as their storage period, which is set at 10 years after the extinction of the trust (French General Tax Code, annex 2, Art. re-established by Decree no. 2021-1127 of 27 August 2021).
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