The Rennes Court of Appeal dismissed a wealthy septuagenarian from the island of Groix (Morbihan) who refused to pay the €330,000 he owed to the Parisian law firm which had allowed him to avoid a tax adjustment in 2019 ten times greater.
The Rennes Court of Appeal dismissed a rich septuagenarian from the island of Groix (Morbihan) who refused to pay the €330,000 he owed to the Parisian law firm. The latter had enabled him to avoid a tax adjustment ten times higher in 2019.
Dominique X. had in fact signed on February 18, 2019 an “assistance mission letter” with SELARL Bensaïd Avocats, a tax law firm installed avenue de Wagram, in the 17th arrondissement of Paris. This provided for a “package fee”, but also and above all an “additional fee” of 10% of the “savings obtained by the client” compared to the “proposal of rectification” of the tax administration.
However, Dominique X. was at the time under the threat of “automatic taxation” if he failed to “prove the origin, the nature and the non-taxable character” of the 2.1 million euros in his possession, had warned the French tax authorities. And again, this did not take into account income tax for the years 2014, 2015 and 2017, nor wealth tax (ISF).
The administration had finally given up its prosecution six months later: the intervention of the Parisian law firm had enabled this man, born in Denver (Colorado) and his wife Véronique to conclude a simple “transaction” of 22,884 €.
The savings thus achieved being 3.3 million euros, SELARL Bensaïd Avocats had therefore sent a bill of fees of €332,433 excluding taxes to its clients… i.e. nearly €400,000 with value added tax (VAT) of 20%.
The note not having been settled, the law firm had seized the president of the order of lawyers of the Paris bar. In August 2020, the latter considered that he had “perfectly fulfilled his duty to advise”: the firm had indeed “encouraged MX, despite his reluctance, to provide (…) the document from the American authorities making it possible to the distinction between capital and income”.
On the strength of this order from the president of the Paris Bar Association, the tax firm had therefore seized the execution judge of Lorient (Morbihan) to make seizures on the bank accounts of the Breton couple.
Accounts opened at Crédit Mutuel and the Postal Bank had thus been emptied in October 2020, for a total amount of nearly €415,000. Dominique and Véronique X. had had the Paris firm summoned the following month before the same enforcement judge in Lorient, but the latter dismissed them on March 25, 2021, a decision which they contested before the Rennes Court of Appeal. .
The couple demanded €20,000 from SELARL Bensaïd Avocats for “abusive seizures”.
But, in a judgment dated March 11, 2022, the Rennes Court of Appeal confirms first of all that the Parisian firm “demonstrates” indeed that its claim was threatened “with regard to foreignness [caractère étranger, ndlr] part of Mr. X.’s assets which may enable him, by reorganizing assets, to render himself insolvent”.
“It is clear from the documents produced that Mr. X. has been the beneficiary of a trust in the United States since the death of his father”, note the Rennes judges in their judgment. “He has bank accounts in the United States and a life insurance policy in Luxembourg.”
The Rennes Court of Appeal simply authorized the couple to recover the €16,000 which had been seized from an account at the Postal Bank: this seizure was “not strictly necessary for the preservation of the rights” of his law firm. .
Dominique and Véronique XXX will be able to use it to pay the €1,500 in legal fees they owe SELARL Bensaïd for this appeal.