Order 2020-306 of 25 March 2020, published in the Official Journal of 26 March 2020, lays down the principle, in Article 10 of Title II, of a freeze on procedural deadlines, which runs from 12 March to 24 June 2020.
This order includes specific measures for tax audits, which have been commented on by the French tax authorities in its BOFIP documentation (BOI-DJC-COVID19-20-20200403).
Suspension of recovery periods
are concerned the recovery deadlines expiring on December 31, 2020, in particular for :
- the six-year statute of limitations provided for in Article L.186 of the French Tax Procedure Act (LPF);
- the three-year statute of limitations provided for in the first paragraph of Article L.169 of the LPF and Article L.176 of the LPF and Article L.180 of the LPF;
- the ten-year statute of limitations provided for in the second and fifth paragraphs of article L. 169 of the LPF, the second paragraph of article L. 176 of the LPF and article L. 181-0 A of the LPF.
This suspension applies not only to corrections but also to interest on late payments, surcharges and fines.
For example, in order to validly interrupt the statute of limitations for the year 2017, the proposal for rectification must reach the taxpayer no later than April 14, 2021 (December 31, 2020 + 104 days).
The administration emphasizes that recovery periods expiring after December 31, 2020 are not affected by the suspension, even though the current audit would cover several years, including one for which the recovery period would expire on December 31, 2020.
Suspension of other procedural deadlines
All deadlines granted to both the administration and the taxpayer to act are suspended until June 24, 2020.
Are thus likely to be concerned, as long as they are in progress on March 12, 2020 or begin to run during the legally protected period, the deadlines related to :
- a procedure for requesting information, clarification or justification,
- to a formal notice,
- to the duration of the control,
- proposals for rectification (time limit open to the taxpayer to respond to the proposal as a time limit open to the administration to respond to the taxpayer's comments), - proposals for rectification (time limit open to the taxpayer to respond to the proposal as a time limit open to the administration to respond to the taxpayer's comments, -)
to the referral to the commission for direct taxes and turnover taxes, the departmental conciliation commission or the committee for the abuse of tax law),
- to the rescripts...
- to applications for refunds of value added tax (VAT) credits.
The periods that started to run before March 12, 2020 and have not expired by that date will therefore only be counted for the period ending on March 11, 2020, and will only start running again after June 25, 2020.
Periods that should have commenced during the period of suspension will not commence until after June 25, 2020.
Finally, the time limits provided for in Article 32 of Law 2018-727 of August 10, 2018 are suspended under the same conditions and for the same duration in the context of the experimentation of a limitation of the overall duration of all SME controls (Ord. 2020-306 art. 10, I-3°).