France: Tax Alert - Les Holdings Dans Le Viseur Du FISC

L'article 29 de la Loi de finances rectificative pour 2015, passé relativement inaperçu, modifie pourtant sèvèrement les articles 119 ter et 145 du Code général des impôts. Ainsi,il remet en cause les exonérations fiscales d'impôts sur les sociétés des holdings françaises et de retenues à la source sur des distributions aux holdings étrangères. Cette mesure est entrée en vigueur pour les exercices ouverts à compter du 1er janvier 2016.

1°) Menace sur les holdings ayant leur siège dans l'Espace Economique Européen

L'article 119 ter du CGI dispose qu'une filiale française n'a pas à effectuer de retenue à la source (RAS) sur les dividendes distribués à une société mère résidente d'un autre Etat membre de l'Espace Economique Européen1 sous conditions notamment, qu'elle soit détenue à hauteur de 5% au moins et qu'elle soit passible de l'impôt sur les sociétés dans son pays d'implantation. La Loi de finances rectificative pour 2015 transpose la directive 2015/121 du 27 janvier 2015 qui introduit une clause anti-abus dans la législation française. Sont désormais exclus de l'exonération de retenue à la source, les produits « distribués dans le cadre d'un montage ou d'une série de montages qui, ayant été mis en place pour obtenir, à titre d'objectif principal ou au titre d'un des objectifs principaux, un avantage fiscal allant à l'encontre de l'objet ou de la finalité du (texte), n'est pas authentique compte tenu de l'ensemble des faits et circonstances pertinents ». Le caractère authentique du montage devra être apprécié « in concreto » et au regard des « motifs commerciaux valables qui reflètent la réalité économique ».

2°) Menace sur les holdings françaises

L'article 145 du CGI prévoit quant à lui une exonération d'impôt sur les sociétés (IS) à 95% pour les holdings, dites sociétés mères, à raison des dividendes reçus de filiales françaises ou étrangères sous conditions, notamment qu'elles détiennent notamment au moins 5% des titres desdites filiales. La loi de finances rectificative introduit là encore une clause anti-abus. Le régime fiscal favorable des sociétés mères français ne sera plus applicable « aux produits des titres de participation distribués dans le cadre d'un montage ou d'une série de montages définis au 3 de l'article 119 ter du CGI ». Là encore, l'exonération d'IS à 95% des dividendes reçus par une holding pourrait être remise en cause par la même clause anti-abus dès lors que la situation n'aurait pas « in concreto » des « motifs commerciaux valables qui reflètent la réalité économique » ou encore que le montage de holding aurait été mis en place avec l'objectif notamment de bénéficier du régime mère et filiale (par exemple différer l'appréhension de dividendes à l'IRPP en interposant une holding) ne serait pas « authentique, compte tenu de l'ensemble des faits et circonstances particulières ».

3°) D'un point de vue pratique le risque...

... d'une telle formulation fait que cette clause anti-abus peut frapper (i) toutes les holdings françaises qui détiennent des filiales françaises ou étrangères, surtout les holdings patrimoniales françaises des groupes ou professionnels français (taxation du dividendes à 100% à l'IS), mais aussi (ii) toutes les multinationales, voire les familles et entrepreneurs français qui comme les groupes étrangers délocalisent leurs dividendes de source française vers des holdings étrangères, luxembourgeoises par exemple (en droit interne, RAS de 21% à 75% sauf application d'une convention internationale).

4°) Il devient donc urgent de réagir car...

...pour les personnes qui perçoivent indirectement des dividendes au sein de leurs holdings françaises ou étrangères, il faut éviter une future remise en cause par l'administration fiscale de l'exonération de retenue à la source ou d'IS sur les dividendes reçus ou versés. Or, l'Administration distingue traditionnellement entre: « les sociétés dont l'actif est principalement composé de participations financières dans d'autres entreprises », savoir celles « qui ne font qu'exercer les prérogatives usuelles d'un actionnaire (exercice du droit de vote et droits financiers » et celles « qui sont les animatrices effectives de leur groupe, participent activement à la conduite de sa politique et au contrôle des filiales et rendent, le cas échéant et à titre purement interne au groupe, des services spécifiques administratifs, juridiques, comptables, financiers ou immobilier », seules ces dernières ayant une vocation commerciale ou économique.

Cette doctrine de l'administrationconfirme que ces animatrices « utilisent ainsi leur participation dans le cadre d'une activité industrielle ou commerciale qui mobilise des moyens spécifiques ». Ainsi, pour présenter un motif commercial et économique valable, la holding animatrice est censée définir de manière effective la politique d'ensemble du groupe, en exerçant une réelle influence sur ses filiales. Dans ce cadre, il peut être utile de mettre en oeuvre un certain nombre de mesures pour consolider le rôle d'animatrice de votre holding.

5°) D'abord, par exemple, créer au sein de la holding un comité stratégique...

...ayant notamment pour mission, selon les cas, de définir avec la direction générale de chaque filiale la stratégie commerciale, l'organisation des services administratifs et d'assurer leur fonctionnement ainsi que leur coordination, et/ou, de conseiller la ou les filiales sur les décisions de gestion financière ou comptable, d' assister les filiales dans leur gestion des ressources humaines, de contribuer à l'élaboration de tous documents, d'exercer la direction ou de forunir des services commerciaux, comptables, financiers, de gestion etc...

6°) Puis, renforcer les liens contractuels qui unissent la holding et ses filiales...

...grâce à une convention de « services groupe » ou « d'animation » ou « de conseil en stratégie » conclue entre la holding et chacune de ses filiales imposant aux filiales l'accord de la holding sur les principaux investissements, acquisition de participations, politique commerciale, développement à l'international... Seront aussi formalisés des échanges écrits confirmant l'exécution des missions incombant à la holding ainsi que des comptes rendus internes au groupe démontrant que les filiales exécutent la politique définie par la holding et, le cas échéant, les statuts de la société holding formalisant l'activité d'animatrice du groupe (Cass. com., 23 nov. 2010, no 09-70.465, Gratzmuller). Enfin, pour les holdings étrangères plus particulièrement, on veillera de disposer de substance locale suffisante (locaux, personnel) de nature à conforter ce rôle d'animatrice en s'assurant que des prestations commerciales reflétant la réalité économique soient rendues aux filiales françaises. Des conseils à des tiers même minoritaires pourront aussi renforcer la nature économique et commercial de la holding.

7°) Face à un texte aussi subjectif...

...nos ancêtres romains nous enseignaient que dans l'interprétaion d'une loi fiscale le doute profite toujours au contribuable (« In dubio contra fiscum »). Redoutons celle du juge, qui, face à la vraisemblance des contribuables, confrontée à la vraisemblance de l'Administration, tranchera entre la vraisemblance la plus vraisemblable. Selon l'adage poulaire, deux précautions valent mieux qu'une et Charles de Bovelles, philosophe français (1479-1566) enseignait aussi : « Il faut toujours deux cordes à son arc ».

Footnote

 1 L'EEE (Espace Economique européen) rassemble 31 Etats européens : les 28 Etats membres de l'Union Européenne (UE), et trois des quatre Etats membres de l'Association européenne de libre-échange (Islande, Norvège et Liechtenstein).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions