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Cabinet d'avocats fiscalistes

Tax audit, adjustement and litigation

Maître SION assists you and defends your rights against the tax authorities at all stages of the tax audit, whether you are a company or an individual.

Tax audit

Maître SION, an expert in tax law, puts his expertise at your service to advise you in your best interests and defend your rights against the tax authorities, whatever the stage of progress of your tax audits. We will inform you of the subtleties and delays impacting your entire tax procedure, and we will take care of your defense. We outline here the tax audit in three main successive stages and detail our way of intervening at your side, whatever the stage of progress of the tax procedure.

Step n° 1: Our advice and assistance to companies and taxpayers during the tax audit procedure

Your tax litigation expert will assist and advise you during the entire tax audit process, whether it is an accounting audit for a company or a personal tax examination for a taxpayer. We explain to you all the technical aspects of the tax audit procedure in a clear and efficient manner, drawing your attention in particular to certain important points, such as the deadlines to which we are subject to respond to or the compulsory formal requirements to which your exchanges with the auditor are subject, and the possible appropriateness of a response.

We also advise you on the attitude to adopt towards the auditor in charge of the audit of your company or your personal assets. We elaborate together the answers to be presented during the course of the tax audit, by holding one or several meetings at our office, or by telephone and videoconference, at your convenience, by submitting our draft answers to you before sending them, so that you can read them and we can validate them together. Anticipation and management of deadlines are key strategic points in every legal procedure and every area of law, and this is even truer in tax law : we will therefore anticipate and inform you of any possible points of contention that may arise or be put forward by the tax authorities, and we will adapt our legal arguments according to these recommendations that we give you. We will take care of controlling the time limits for action by informing you regularly.

Step n°2: Support from Maître SION and intervention during the administrative phase of the tax audit

At this stage of the tax procedure, the administration has not yet proceeded to the recovery of the sums that it considers that you or your company owe. Many subtleties that you must master will arise at this stage. Any notification sent to you will be subject to a complete analysis by us, both on the form, which is a fundamental element of the tax procedure, and on the substance.

Analysis of the form:

The analysis of the form and the alert made on the possible defects of form met in your file and your means of action Litigation notification, and more generally the litigation procedure as a whole, must comply with a strict, clearly defined formalism.

This means that many format rules must imperatively be respected, in order to ensure the respect of the taxpayer's rights, many of which are constitutionally recognized and protected. The national judge, whether it is the administrative judge before the Administrative Court, or the Administrative Court of Appeal, as well as the European or international judge sitting at the European Court of Human Rights or the Court of Justice of the European Communities, remain particularly vigilant on the respect of these format rules that the tax administration must implement when it addresses you. We make sure that this formalism is strictly respected and alert you immediately in case of non-compliance with these rules, in order to protect you and to constitute a line of defense based on these formal defects, which can sometimes lead to the cancellation of the notification or the entire tax procedure of which you have been the subject for non-compliance with this formalism (non-compliance with a certain number of mentions, missed deadlines, etc.)

  • Analysis of the content of your case: relevance and probity of the arguments of the tax authorities and of our own
  • Concerning the content: we analyze each notification and calculation of possible tax increases made by the tax authorities, comparing them to our own projections and estimates.

At this point, we place ourselves from the auditor's point of view in order to understand all of his arguments that led to the indicated adjustments and we indicate our recommendations, our arguments in response, and defend you point by point, on the appropriate elements. We debrief together on these points, during a meeting, in order to prepare our legal strategy for litigation, by highlighting the strong and weak points of your case, and indicate the different legal possibilities available to us at this stage, their advantages and disadvantages, and the methods of implementation.

Step n°3: The non-contentious procedures that Maître SION proposes to the tax authorities

In addition to the contentious procedures, there is also the possibility for the taxpayer to benefit from "non-contentious procedures" dispensed at the discretion of the tax administration. Here we leave the contentious dimension to add a new possibility which is offered to you: to ask the administration for a "favor" by putting forward the difficult, even unfair, situation in which your company or yourself may find yourself, and this, even if the tax administration is right in its application of the law and the calculations of the adjustment it has made in your file.

The presence of your tax lawyer is very desirable here, because it is necessary to be able to detail point by point and to explain to the administration the fact that the question it is now being asked is no longer whether it is right or not, in law and in fact, but whether it can take into account the specific, often difficult, asset and financial situation in which the taxpayer finds himself. This situation will be studied by the administration at the date of the request, and it may, depending on the case, decide to cancel either part of the tax assessment, or all of it in certain cases, or to set up a moratorium on the payment of the debts due for the tax assessment.

Step n°4: protecting your rights and defending your interests during the tax litigation phase

At this point, we enter a new stage of tax litigation, which means that your company or you, as a taxpayer, have been subject to an audit procedure and then a tax adjustment and recovery procedure. At this stage, you are in possession of a letter called a contentious notification informing you that the tax authorities consider that you owe them certain sums with regard to your taxation and are sending you a formal notice of collection.

Opportunity and elaboration together of a tax litigation strategy

Based on all the documents provided, and on our analysis of the form and substance of your case, we propose a meeting at our office, by telephone or videoconference, to give you a simplified and detailed account of the arguments put forward by our adversary and of your possibilities of defense in return. During this meeting, we will define the strategy of the tax litigation and our position on the arguments put forward, and we will share with you our observations and the advantages and disadvantages of the different possible lines of defense. In order to optimize this meeting, Ms. SION will have previously prepared different lines of argumentation, researched the laws and regulations from which you can benefit, as well as the jurisprudence that will be most favorable to you, in order to prepare a complete and detailed response.

Drafting of documents and legal acts by us

After validation of the answer you wish to provide to the administration, Maître SION personally takes care of the drafting of the answer to the notification of the contentious claim that she sends on your behalf to the DGI (“(US) IRS Internal Revenue Service / (UK) HMRC Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs”), the French tax authority equivalent to the IRS in US or the HMRC in UK. Maître SION also drafts at this stage, and at your request, a request for suspension of payments and explains its functioning and implementation. The firm also intervenes to draft an opposition to constraint in the case where you would have been the recipient of a commandment to pay, or of an ATD, notice to the third holder. Finally, the Cabinet SION AVOCAT intervenes to seize the competent Administrative Court, after having informed you of its remarks on the interest or not of a legal procedure, in the case where the answer of the tax administration seems unsatisfactory to you or is absent. She can also refer you to the Departmental Conciliation Commission if you wish to obtain an amicable solution with the tax authorities on the payment of the sums due and defend your case on this occasion.

Step n°5: Referral to the competent Administrative Court, the Administrative Court of Appeal or the Council of State

If the attempt to win your case or to reduce your tax assessment seems unsatisfactory, or if the tax authorities simply refuse to accept it, you can take your case to the competent administrative court to ask it to judge the validity of the tax assessment in terms of its amount and the form of the exchanges you have had with the tax authorities. We are therefore filing an application with the Administrative Court on your behalf and will develop our defense at this stage, on the form, which is sometimes very subtle, and on the substance of the elements that will allow us to request either the cancellation of the tax adjustment or a reduction in the amount of the tax.

We remain in regular contact throughout this procedure, which lasts an average of one to one and a half years and during which we provide you with a detailed follow-up of its progress, of any conclusions in response made by the tax authorities and send you our draft responses to the conclusions, in order to validate them together. If you are not satisfied with the order issued by the Administrative Court, we will study together the opportunity to appeal this order before the competent Administrative Court of Appeal, and then before the Council of State, after having explained the advantages and disadvantages and having given you our opinion on the chances of success of this approach. 

Step n°6: Referral to the European Courts: European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice

We are able to refer, at any time of the procedure, if the case requires it, to the Constitutional Council by asking any QPC (priority question of constitutionality) useful to the protection of your rights and the clarification of legal concepts, or any other authority protecting your rights, whether it is the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) or the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) which allow to enforce, for example, the right to privacy of the taxpayer. These authorities intervene regularly in tax law and study seriously the questions submitted to them, thus allowing to specify the application of the law and to incite the State to respect, for example, the taxpayer's right to professional secrecy or the right to privacy.

Precisions on URSSAF control

Maître SION also intervenes in case of URSSAF control, in order to defend your rights against the tax authorities according to the same modalities and the same technicality by explaining to you point by point all the stages of her intervention as laid out above.

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