France: Verrou de Bercy : le Sénat adopte en première lecture le projet de loi relatif à la lutte contre la fraude

Last Updated: 12 July 2018
Article by Philippe Lorentz and Jean-Baptiste Boué-Diacquenod
Most Read Contributor in France, August 2018

Dans l'épisode précédent1, nous vous présentions les différentes propositions formulées dans le rapport établi par la commission parlementaire d'information sur les procédures de poursuite des infractions fiscales. Reprenant à son compte certaines de ces propositions, le Sénat a adopté en première lecture le 3 juillet dernier le projet de loi relatif à la lutte contre la fraude2, entérinant ainsi un premier pas vers une éventuelle suppression du « verrou de Bercy ».

Selon ce projet de loi, l'administration fiscale serait désormais tenue de déposer une plainte auprès du procureur de la République afin d'engager des poursuites dès lors que les faits qu'elle a examinés dans le cadre de son pouvoir de contrôle remplissent les deux critères cumulatifs suivants :

1- Les droits rappelés font l'objet d'une pénalité d'au moins 80%3 pour un montant supérieur à un seuil fixé par décret en Conseil d'Etat4 ;

2- Soit (i) le contribuable est soumis à l'obligation de déclaration en raison de ses fonctions ou mandats électifs ou a déjà été sanctionné pour des faits identiques ayant fait l'objet d'une pénalité d'au moins 80% pendant deux des quatre années précédentes, soit (ii) les faits sont susceptibles de revêtir la qualification de fraude fiscale aggravée5.

Le Sénat reprend ainsi la préconisation de la commission d'information sur les procédures de poursuite des infractions fiscales pour qui l'introduction de critères légaux permet de constituer de manière objective un ensemble de dossiers pouvant faire l'objet de poursuites pénales par le parquet.

Cependant, les sénateurs ont choisi d'instaurer des critères cumulatifs, et non alternatifs comme le proposait le rapport. Pour mémoire, ce dernier proposait les critères alternatifs suivants : (1) les droits rappelés sont supérieurs à un certain seuil et ont fait l'objet d'une pénalité révélant l'intention de se soustraire à l'impôt, (2) la qualification de fraude fiscale aggravée est retenue, indépendamment du montant soustrait et (3) le contribuable est en récidive de fraude fiscale.

En l'état, ce projet de loi impose donc le dépôt d'une plainte entre les mains du procureur de la République dans l'hypothèse où les critères seraient remplis et laisse à l'appréciation de l'administration fiscale la saisine de la commission des infractions fiscales (CIF) dans le cas contraire.

En outre, le Sénat propose que l'administration fiscale puisse toutefois considérer, pour des motifs propres aux faits concernés, qu'il n'y a pas lieu de déposer plainte, alors même que les critères sont remplis. Elle doit cependant en informer le parquet compétent qui, disposant de la possibilité de demander à l'administration fiscale des informations relatives aux faits concernés, se réserve le droit de mettre en Suvre l'action publique.

S'agissant plus précisément de la survivance de la CIF, les sénateurs n'envisagent pas sa suppression, ainsi que le proposait le rapport.

L'actuelle procédure d'étude des dossiers prévue à l'article L. 228 du Livre des procédures fiscales serait maintenue, soit une saisine de la CIF après la sélection des dossiers, laquelle émettrait un avis préalable au dépôt d'une plainte par l'administration fiscale auprès du parquet compétent. La proposition d'un examen conjoint entre l'administration fiscale et le parquet est donc écartée.

Par ailleurs, le projet de loi adopté par le Sénat en première lecture fait évoluer la chaîne pénale en matière fiscale.

Ainsi, l'article 9 du projet de loi propose d'étendre la procédure de comparution sur reconnaissance préalable de culpabilité (CRPC)6 et la convention judiciaire d'intérêt public (CJIP) à la fraude fiscale7, comme le préconisait le rapport

Ces apports permettront ainsi une réponse pénale plus rapide et plus efficace, dans le cadre de la CRPC, concernant les cas de fraudes fiscales simples et reconnues. S'agissant de la CJIP, son extension à la fraude fiscale peut inciter les personnes morales, sensibles aux risques réputationnels d'une action publique, à envisager le versement d'une amende d'intérêt public. Ces deux mesures semblent donc adaptées afin de permettre une meilleure efficacité des procédures de lutte contre la fraude fiscale.

Ce projet de loi, adopté en première lecture au Sénat, a été transmis à l'Assemblé nationale. Les députés en débattront fin juillet et, si désaccord avec le texte voté par les sénateurs, une commission mixte paritaire se chargera de trouver un compromis. A suivre, donc.

Footnotes

1 https://www.august-debouzy.com/fr/blog/1185-lassem...

2 http://www.senat.fr/dossier-legislatif/pjl17-385.h...

3 Majorations prévues au c du 1 de l'article 1728, au b ou du c de l'article 1729, ou de l'article 1729‑0 A

4 Le seuil de 100.000 euros de droits notifiés est évoqué.

5 Cf. al. 2 et 7 de l'article 1741 du Code général des impôts.

6 Cette modalité de poursuite permet d'éviter un procès à une personne qui reconnaît les faits qui lui sont reprochés. La peine proposée par le parquet doit cependant être homologuée par un juge (cf. art. 495-7 à 495-16 du Code de procédure pénale)

7 La CJIP, créée par la loi Sapin II, est une transaction conclue entre le Procureur de la République et les seules personnes morales mises en cause pour certaines infractions à la probité. Elle peut prévoir le versement d'une amende d'intérêt public, la mise en place d'un programme de mise en conformité et/ou l'obligation d'indemniser le préjudice causé aux éventuelles victimes en contrepartie de l'extinction de l'action publique (cf. art. 41-1-2 du Code de procédure pénale).

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