(Article 46 of the 2015 Amending Finance Act)
As a conclusion of the announcements made during the National Committee Against the Fraud on May 22, 2014, and repeated in April 2015 as part of the measures to improve the relations between companies and the French Tax Authorities, the Amending Finance Act for 2015 creates an advisory committee to rule on disputes arising between the French Tax Authorities and the taxpayers with respect to the R&D Tax Credit and Innovative Tax Credit.
This committee functions in a way very similar to the departmental and national commissions of direct taxes and turnover taxes, with few notable exceptions justified by the technicality of the matters and the necessity to preserve the commercial confidentiality of the issues raised.
Indeed, the committee does not render decisions on legal issues, but only on factual questions, i.e. whether a particular expenditure was actually allocated to research or innovation.
Moreover, a request before the committee can be introduced either by the French Tax Authorities on its own initiative, or by the taxpayers through a demand to the French Tax Authorities to do so.
The Committee is chaired by a member of the French supreme administrative court, and composed of an agent of the French Tax Authorities and, depending on the nature of the expenditures reviewed, an agent from the ministry in charge of the research and / or agent from the ministry in charge of the innovation. These agents may be assisted by expert on the technical difficulties raised by the qualification of the expenditures.
In addition to the reports and documents of the French Tax Authorities, the Committee can receive useful information from the ministries in charge of the research and the innovation, which will be privileged information.
The opinion rendered by the Committee does not bind the French Tax Authorities. In case of a subsequent tax claim introduced by the taxpayer after the receipt of the tax collection notice, the French Tax Authorities will bear the burden of proof regardless of the opinion issued by the Committee.
These provisions shall apply to reassessment proposals received as of July 1, 2016.