In France, the tax authorities can scrutinize social networks and online classifieds to find out if a taxpayer is cheating taxes. A practice confirmed by the Council of State.
Be careful what you post on Facebook or Twitter: these posts could be used against you for tax purposes! Since 2020 and the finance law, the tax administration has been experimenting with the monitoring of social networks and online classified ads (Le Bon Coin, in short) in order to fight against fraud.
Watch out for the Facebook post by the pool
Photos of the swimming pool (undeclared), the sale of tobacco or drugs (it’s illegal, of course), or even fictitious addresses posted on the internet can turn against taxpayers. A potentially very powerful tool in the hands of the tax authorities, which Quadrature du Net challenged before the Council of State, judging the device disproportionate.
The organization asked the highest French court in 2021 to cancel the implementing decree. A waste of time: the Council of State validated this surveillance in its decision of July 22. ” Authorized data collection can only relate to content that is freely accessible “, explains the Council, which also considers that the person has ” deliberately disclosed ” these informations. In this case, the tax authorities need neither the password for the account nor even to be registered on the site to obtain this data.
Furthermore, the Council of State rejects the argument of La Quadrature du Net that this measure allows a collection ” widespread and undifferentiated personal data “. The organization for the defense of freedoms objects to the publication Euroactiv that ” we cannot, just by the presence of a web page, of online content, know if it has been clearly made public “.
Either way, social media users who are also taxpayers should know that the tax authorities now have full rights to scrutinize their online activities.