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"Accidental Americans" file lawsuit against France


The Accidental Americans Association has just lodged a complaint against France with the European Commission for violation of European Union law. French banks could close the accounts of 40,000 "accidental Americans" French by the end of the year.
Accidental Americans in front of the European Commission
The Association alleges that the French-American Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) of 14 November 2013, which allows the application in France of the United States Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) of 2010, violates Community law. forcing financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, to transmit the financial data of all their US clients to the US tax authorities. The Association brings the case to the Commission following the rejection of his complaint by the French Council of State on 19 July.
The Association considers that IGA violates the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (RGPD) by authorizing the mass storage and transmission in the United States of personal data of many persons identified as "American people". The mechanism does not take into account the fact that most of these people have no connection with the United States. It does not provide for any measure of protection of personal data and does not allow data subjects to access the data they have transmitted or to correct any errors that may occur.
"This lack of safeguards, coupled with the disproportionate nature of the information transmitted to the IRS, clearly violates European legislation on the protection of personal data," says Patrice Spinosi, the association's lawyer. "In addition, as the Court of Justice of the European Communities has ruled, the United States does not give adequate protection to the fundamental rights of individuals in the processing of their data".
40,000 closed bank accounts
The European Commission has a period of twelve months from 3 October to examine the case and decide whether to initiate a formal infringement procedure against France.
"I regret that the French government has done nothing to remedy this problem," says Fabien Lehagre, president of the association. "The government is fully aware that banks in France could close the accounts of 40 000" accidental Americans "French by the end of the year. Indeed, these individuals are unable to comply with FATCA's requirement to provide a US taxpayer identification number. But the government has not started negotiating a solution to this problem either. "
The European Parliament has understood the urgency of the problem and will hold a public hearing on 12 November on the theme "FATCA and its extraterritorial impact on European citizens".
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