Last September 17th, 2015, the Constitutional Council declared that the fines relating to bank accounts opened or closed abroad were constitutional.

Tax payers who reside in France are required to declare in their annual income tax declaration all those accounts opened or closed abroad (CGI art. 1649 A). Otherwise, they will incur a fine of 1500€ per undeclared account. This amount will be increased by 10.000€ if the account is in a State or territory with which France has not signed a convention on administrative assistance to combat tax fraud (CGI art. IV 1736).

Last June 18th 2015 the Constitutional Council, under the request of the Council of State, declared this as a priority issue of constitutionality, in connection with the observance of the rights and freedoms that the Constitution guarantees on Chapter IV of Article 1736 of the CGI. According to the applicants, the fine violates the principle of proportionality and individualization of sentences.

The Constitutional Council held that the legislature has introduced sanctions which nature is tied to that of the infringement and that although the accumulation of fines is allowed, these sanctions are not manifestly disproportionate to the seriousness of the facts wanted to be suppressed. He also said that the law ensures the modulation of penalties depending on the gravity of the conduct repressed providing two lump sums separately, depending on whether the State or Territory in which the account has been opened has signed or not an administrative assistance agreement in the fight against fraud and tax evasion, which allows access to banking information.