The French tax authority denied an Israeli business daily’s claim that it has a unit dedicated to targeting Jews.
The revenue service, known locally as DGFiP, issued its denial of the claim last week made by the Globes newspaper in a statement last Friday.
In a December 29 press release, the French government 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.”
One of the unnamed officials quoted in the Globes article reportedly said that French tax authorities set up the unit because they “call the Israel Tax Authority almost every day with requests for information about some person or other, but many of the requests are rejected.”
The DGFiP said this was false and that only a few dozen requests for information are relayed to Israel annually.
The Globes article, which contains neither a reaction from the DGFiP nor an indication as to whether the paper had tried to obtain one, said that the unit targeting French Jews is located on the 13th floor of the Paris headquarters of the DGFiP on Bercy Street.
In its statement, DGFiP noted the building only has nine floors, adding that its spokespeople would have gladly told Globes this had DGFiP been approached ahead of the article’s publication.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the special department that has been designated for “dealing” with French Jews currently has 20 Hebrew-speaking employees, and is in the process of hiring five more. Many are experts in the field of taxes and Israeli law, it said. They pore over Israeli Land Registry contracts in an effort to find French Jews who purchased property in Israel without declaring these assets in France, according to the report.
The JPost report has indicated that “tax authorities do not usually establish departments targeting a specific nationality or religion.” The report added that “tax authorities around the world do establish teams to deal with sectors whose tax reporting is questionable.”
The report added that they target a specific market when there is concern that it contains a large amount of unreported capital, such as the real estate market or the diamond market. Setting up a specific department dealing with a designated nationality or religion, however, is not an accepted practice.
Edited by: JV Staff