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Copyrights in the crosshairs of the taxman - Finance

Copyrights in the crosshairs of the taxman – Finance

Targeted checks, requests for information: the tax authorities are showing increased severity against users of the copyright system.

Bad news for taxpayers who use the special copyright tax regime. The administration has obviously decided to intensify its checks in this area. An offensive which results in targeted checks and a multiplication of requests for information.

Bad news for taxpayers who use the special copyright tax regime. The administration has obviously decided to intensify its checks in this area. An offensive which results in targeted checks and a multiplication of requests for information. “Clearly, copyright is the subject of a targeted control action in 2022 (for the tax years 2020 and 2021, income 2019 and 2020, Editor’s note), testifies Sébastien Watelet, lawyer specializing in the taxation of copyright law at LawTax. During the month of March, I saw almost one client a day arrive with a request for information from the tax authorities, which is a lot and unusual.” Objective of the administration: to verify that the attribution of copyright mentioned in the tax declaration is justified. Clearly, verify that the taxpayers who use the system have created a work protected by copyright. Allowing the creators of an artistic or literary work to benefit from a separate tax rate of 15% on the net income linked to the subsequent exploitation which results from this work, the copyright tax system has in fact known since its creation in 2008 a considerable boom. So much so that a lot of professions have come to take advantage of this favorable regime. Journalists, architects, but also photographers, consultants and other software developers are indeed more and more numerous to value their intellectual property to reduce their taxes. Sometimes with some abuse. Abuses that the administration therefore intends to counter and which often result from a “misunderstanding of what copyright is”, observes Sébastien Watelet, speaking of “taxpayers sometimes badly advised” through “turnkey solutions “. What risk then do these taxpayers who have “abused” the system? “The administration generally considers that these are not copyrights but professional income, notes the LawTax specialist. It therefore aims to requalify these copyrights as professional income to subject them to the marginal rate of personal income tax, which can quickly reach 50%. A requalification in professional income to which is added an increase and potentially a correction in the calculation of social security contributions for the self-employed.” That is to say if the addition is likely to be salty. Especially since the administration seems to show little flexibility. “She has obviously done a lot of preparatory work to assert her position and does not hesitate to go to court: she even risks in certain situations winning by default insofar as the cost of defending herself in court will be higher. to the financial stakes for the taxpayer”, concludes Sébastien Watelet.

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