Report: French tax authority targets Jews; France denies allegation

‘Globes Israel’ claims that a secret department was set up in France’s tax authority specifically to investigate French Jews for tax evasion.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The French have set up a secret department within their tax authority that employs 20 Hebrew speakers in order to find out if Jews are trying to evade taxes, Globes Israel reported.

According to the report, it is even looking to enlarge the division by 25 percent. The purpose is to catch Jews who are improperly using Israel as a tax shelter.

One of the most common ways of hiding assets – and even laundering money – is to buy real estate. The article states that the investigators look closely at real estate purchases in Israeli cities that are popular among French immigrants, such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Herzliya. They search for foreign passport numbers and cross reference them with the asset and income reports that the owners had filed in France to see if the properties bought in Israel are listed. If not, they are asked to come in for questioning.

Globes’ sources said that the French tax authorities call their Israeli counterparts “almost every day with requests for information about some person or other, but many of the requests are rejected because they do not meet the conditions of the conventions on exchanges of information. They are just fishing.”

According to the article, the French have also begun interrogating Jewish residents who have just begun their Aliyah process to see whether they declared all their income and assets and if tax evasion could be their reason for wanting to emigrate. Over 10 percent of the French Jewish community has moved to Israel between 2000 and 2017, with 1,211 new immigrants coming in the first half of this year alone, according to figures from the Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption. While some have fled the country because of the rise in Islamic terror and anti-Semitism, many immigrate to the Jewish state for ideological reasons.

On Friday, the French government issued a press release in which it firmly denied the story.

“The General Directorate of Public Finances denies in the most categorical way the unfounded affirmations published today in the Globes newspaper on the ‘creation within the French tax administration of a department specializing in French Jews.’ There is no such structure in the French tax administration. French tax legislation prohibits any distinction made between people on the basis of their origins, place of residence or membership of a particular nation or religion,” the release stated.