Bulletin 43

Autumn 2012

  1. The Word of the President
  2. Editorial
  3. ESO Activities
  4. GAC-EPA presence at the PFGB
  5. Committee Activities
  6. Joint Letter March 2012
  7. Open Letter August 2012
  8. The Pension Fund
  9. Civil Status - Obituaries
  10. Free Speech Corner
  11. The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)
  12. Presence on the Internet
  13. About Taxes
  14. Information Sessions (permanences)

The Word of the President

Original: French

Gertjan Bossen

The time has come round for the second bulletin this year to inform you about what has happened during the last six months and what might interest you as a CERN or ESO pensioner. Internet fans and readers of the Staff Association’s "Echo" will no doubt realise that they are already aware of some of the news.

These days,  it is not easy to come across positive news, but as far as the CERN community is concerned, the announcement this summer that a particle very much resembling the Higgs boson had been found was greeted with great joy, and put CERN in the limelight with an impressive media coverage.  Congratulations to all active staff!  Please do not forget that the best guarantee for our social protection is the scientific and technological successes of our laboratory.  Our ESO colleagues also had something special to celebrate this year since it is the 50th anniversary of their organisation.

Many pensioners in Europe have seen their income decrease and, in general, their social protection reduced.  As far as we are concerned, we have been affected by the measures decided in 2010 (increase in the health insurance contributions and loss of purchasing power up to 8% of our pensions) but at least this Is taking place in an orderly and predictable manner.  It goes without saying that we should remain on our guard and be pro-active, in defending our interests with innovative proposals.

I am happy to say that each and all of our Committee members, with their different personalities and sensibilities, go about their tasks with the same enthusiasm.  My thanks go to all of them for the work completed this year.

Autumn is upon us now and we are heading towards the year-end.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all happy holidays and an excellent 2013, and hope to see a large number of you raising your glasses at our end-of-year drink.

Editorial

Original French)

Bernard Ducret

It is with pleasure that I am addressing you for the first time in this Bulletin.

As I was former chief editor of the Staff Association’s ECHO and then elected on to the GAC-EPA Committee, it seemed natural to offer my services to the Committee to take over from Jean-Marie Thomas, our chief editor during the years 2000. Jean-Marie informed you in the last Bulletin that he was going to hand over the torch and this has been done.

I would like to acknowledge his devotion and congratulate him on his work. You must certainly appreciate this link which keeps you in touch with « La Grande Maison ». He has been the master for many years and this publication is, in a way, his « baby »; congratulations, well done Jean-Marie and thank you again.

This year 2012, you will notice that our bulletin is bi-annual. Today I count on it being like that for many years, at least as many as I can assume.

You probably do not realise it, but many things happen between two Bulletins and it is necessary to keep you informed. The work of the Committee deserves to be put in the lime light and you need to be informed of unexpected or urgent developments as quickly as possible. It is the same for modifications of the Rules which need to be publicized. The pensioners expect that everyone concerned is informed. Well, you have understood, we need to react and for that two issues per year are necessary.

As you will notice, the Bulletin is going to contain new chapters. We are starting this issue with a « forum » which will give the opportunity for one or several members of the Committee to express themselves; today, François Wittgenstein. In the future we could give you the right to express yourself in « A Word from the Pensioners » or attract your attention with a Focus on… ». Other ideas are being chewed over and it will be good if you could also make suggestions since this Bulletin is also yours.

To conclude, I would like to convey to you my best wishes and look forward to seeing you at the end of year drink on 23rd November 2012.

What about ESO?

 

Martin Cullum

As has already been mentioned by Gertjan Bossen, ESO has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the ESO Convention which took place in Paris on 5th October 1962. Some of the ESO ‘oldies’ also have fond memories of the years ESO spent at CERN in the 1970s. The influence and assistance of CERN helped considerably to transform ESO from a small unknown organisation to the world’s most successful organisation for ground-based astronomy that it is today. A variety of events have taken place, or will take place, in Munich and in some of the Member States to commemorate this anniversary. A special reception is also planned in Garching for ESO Pensioners who contributed in no small way to the success of the Organisation.

Since the Spring Bulletin was published, several discussions have taken place with the ESO Administration. These have led to the issuing of a new policy on-site access to the ESO Headquarters in Garching. For the first time, this specifically includes site-access by ESO Pensioners and the issuing of ESO identity cards to pensioners. Although access to the Santiago offices by ESO pensioners living in Chile was also discussed, this has not yet been specifically covered by the new policy but should be included in a later version. In the meantime, pensioners in Chile who would like an access card should make a personal request to the ESO administration in Chile.

Discussions have also taken place with the ESO Staff association on the possibility of membership by ESO GAC-EPA members. These discussions coincided with on-going work by the Staff Association on the preparation of new statues for the association. The current statutes have not been changed for very many years and hardly mention pensioners at all. Due to other priorities of the ESO staff working on this, progress on the new statues has been rather slow.

The ESO Health Working Group was set up at the end of 2011 under the auspices of the ESO Staff Association to replace the earlier Vanbreda health insurance Working Group. The new Working Group has a somewhat broader mandate than its predecessor and, for the first time, now includes direct representation by ESO Pensioners. This is a welcome addition as previously pensioners had no voice in the running of the health insurance scheme. One issue that is currently of particular concern to pensioners relates to the so-called ‘stop-loss’ insurance premiums. Because of the relatively small size of ESO, the health insurance scheme is split internally into two parts: one covering normal medical expenses (referred to as ‘in-kind’ expenses), and a second separate insurance, the stop-loss insurance, that covers all cases above a certain threshold. Although this split is not noticeable to beneficiaries, for some historic reason ESO does not contribute towards the stop-loss premiums for pensioners as is does for active staff and the premiums for in-kind benefits for both pensioners and staff.

GAC-EPA participation in the PFGB

Original French)

Gertjan Bossen

As you know, the GAC (which has now become GAC-EPA) has been participating in the meetings of the Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB), represented by François Wittengenstein, formerly as observer and since the introduction of the new Governance of the Fund from 2007 onwards, a fully fledged member. According to current rules, his mandate cannot go beyond autumn 2013. At the end of 2011, your Committee drew up a plan to ensure a lengthy transition period between the departure of François and the nomination of his successor. As the first part of this plan, Claude Genier was designated this role by the Committee.

As I explained to you at the Ordinary General Assembly in March 2012, the plan foresaw that François and Claude would work together during this transition period by attending the PFGB meetings where only one of the two would have the right to vote, with the transfer of this right from François to Claude at the beginning of 2013. It was the procedure requested by the Committee and for which the agreement of the PFGB was necessary. The establishment of the procedure took some time but the new internal working rule of the PFGB will, on the invitation of the Chairman, permit the designated successor to be present at the meetings before taking up his duties as a member. We can be proud of the fact that our Association has been at the root of this new rule which will no doubt contribute to a better functioning of the PFGB.

Unfortunately, during the year, discussions within the Committee revealed a growing divergence between the majority of Committee members and François concerning his role within the PFGB and the points needed to be defended. This divergence culminated in François taking a different stand in the PFGB meetings from the declarations communicated officially from the Committee, in particular concerning two letters sent to the PFGB Chairman (see further on in this bulletin).

Taking all these points into account, the Committee finally decided, after a secret ballot:

The Committee hopes to ensure a harmonious transition of tasks as well as coherence in the positions taken by our Committee which are necessary for our credibility, especially towards the PFGB. Despite the recent difficulties, I congratulate François on his investment and devotion on behalf of the pensioners during many years and I respect his experience from which Claude can profit during the next six months. I encourage Claude in his new functions and I am convinced that he will devote all his energy and competence to them.

News in brief and Activities of the Committee

Original French)

Mario Danesin

As announced we are now publishing the 2nd bulletin of the year, that is to say the autumn bulletin; taking into account the information published in the previous bulletin (no. 42) and in the minutes of the Ordinary General Assembly, we are limiting ourselves here to some additional news.

The Committee is composed at present of 22 members, of which 21 members were elected (20 for CERN and 1 for ESO) and 1 is a permanently invited member (a computer expert). 

We regretfully have to announce the death of our dear colleague and friend Jean-Paul Diss, invited member (medical expert) who left us suddenly on 7 June 2012.  We were deeply affected.

1.   2012 Elections

The call for candidates for the renewal of 8 Committee members for the 2013-2014 exercise was launched on 7 September 2012; by 5 October 10 members had announced their candidature, of whom 7 were outgoing candidates and 3 new candidates; elections are taking place and ballot papers have to be returned by 22 November 2012.

Two auditors were elected during the 2011 elections for the period 2012-2013, and therefore there is no election for auditors this year.

Ordinary General Assembly of the GAC/EPA

The minutes of the OGA of 23 March 2012 were sent to you by post on 14 May 2012, together with the spring bulletin.  Please do not hesitate to consult these minutes to find out about the work performed by your Committee and for any information on social security protection (the Pension Fund and Health Insurance Scheme). Please keep these minutes since you will be asked to approve them at the next OGA that will take place end March 2013 (date not yet fixed).

Relations with the Staff Association

In the spring bulletin we summed up our participation in the different bodies set up by the Staff Association.  Should the need arise we encourage you to consult the bulletin.

We have 9 delegates on the Staff Council, one of whom, Jean-Claude Vialis, who was finding it impossible to regularly attend Council meetings, was replaced beginning May 2012 by Jean-François Michaud.

Our two representatives, Michel Baboulaz and David Jacobs, continue to participate on the CHIS Board, where they are very active.

J-C. Vialis was also replaced by Gunilla Santiard on the Mutual Aid Fund.

On the pension guarantee issue, Michel Vitasse has taken over the task from Edith Deluermoz, outgoing committee member at the end of 2011, who did not stand for re-election:  Edith, like all of us, regretted the lack of enthusiasm of the parties concerned to advance on this matter; please be patient though, there seems to be a wind of change looming on the horizon…

We made an error in our announcement in the last bulletin of the conditions prevailing on the pension front for staff recruited since 1 January 2012, where we indicated the pension age as 67 years and 10 months instead of 67 years.  Please excuse this error and note that in the minutes of the Ordinary General Assembly the information was correct.

The GAC-EPA members who would like to receive a Staff Association membership card in 2013 should request this by e-mail to secretariat@gac-epa.org (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service), or by letter to the GAC-EPA secretary, c/o Staff Association, CERN.

Relations with CERN management and the Governing board of the Pension Fund

After agreement with the Director of Administration, we assigned Carlo Vandoni in March 2012 as liaison officer for questions concerning organisation, and Jean-François Michaud as his deputy.

Our concerns regarding the Pension Fund led to our President G. Bossen getting in contact with the Director of Administration, but also the President of the Pension Fund Governing Board : two letters (see pages 12,13) were sent to the latter, the first jointly with the Staff Association on 21 March 2012, in which we asked that the audit of the Pension Fund be entrusted to the CERN internal audit as recommended by the outside auditors (General audit office) rather than to a private audit company contracted by the Pension Fund; the second, dated 21 August 2012.(see pages 14,15), concerned the reference yields and basis for comparison which we did not find pertinent since they are not made in comparison with similar Pension Funds as ours.

The PFGB and its President seem to be immune to our arguments since concerning the audit, they are issuing a new call for tender to chose a private external auditor; nevertheless, the CERN internal audit will participate in drafting this call for tender. Our approach requesting comparisons is judged to be inappropriate. Not withstanding there is a positive development concerning future members of the PFGB; the new rules of this body will contain the notion “designated inheritant” as we suggested to our future Pension Fund representative.

At our last OGA, we informed you about appointing a successor to François Wittgenstein, Member of the PFGB, nominated by GAC/EPA; it was decided on 5 October 2012 that his successor will be Claude Genier and that he will take up his office as of 5 April 2013; we made a request to the President of the Pension Fund that he may be permitted as of now to participate as an observer in the work of the Pension Fund (see the article “Our Pension Fund Governing Board Member”).

Relation with future and present Retirees

We do our utmost to keep you informed about what is happening in CERN and about retirees and especially their social protection.

The General Assembly which normally takes place end March is an important moment where we inform you about the activities of the year gone by as well as predictions for the coming year; we also ask you to approve the minutes of the previous Ordinaryl General Assembly and thus the activities of our Committee.

The group bulletin that we now publish twice yearly is also an important source of information.

Our Permanences, manned by three Committee members, are held on the first Tuesday of each month, except in January, July and August. They are always much appreciated and help to answer, as far as possible, your personal problems. As already communicated, we are also called upon to inform you via the post, the twice monthly bulletin ECHO of the Staff Association or also by e-mail. For the latter case we need to know your electronic address, which you can send to us at treasurer@gac-epa.org (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service) .

This year we did not feel it necessary to hold an informal end-of-year meeting, but we are counting on your presence at our end-of-year drink that will take place on 23 November 2012 as of 16.30 in CERN restaurant no. 1.

Please note that our site contains a lot of general information, but also what it is necessary to know in the case of new social protection matters. You will also find announcements regarding conferences given in CERN or elsewhere.

Letter of March 2012 from both
the President of Staff Assiociation and
the President of GAC-EPA Committee
to the President of the PFGB

To: Professor Dan-Olof RISKA
President of the Pension Fund Governing Board
Finnish Society of Science and Letters
Hallituskatu 2
FIN-00170 HELSINKI 17
Finland

Geneva, 21 March 2012

Mr. President,

The CERN Pension Fund, despite the measures taken in recent years, has seen its performance deteriorate yet again in 2011. This is likely to increase even further the anxiety felt by the members and beneficiaries concerning the situation of our Pension Fund.  In 2008 the auditors already observed that:  having a goal of 5% return on investment [as stated by the CERN Council], under volatile market situations, makes a "minimum risk policy" not applicable, and therefore, the risks of significant Asset loss, although mitigated, remain.1

In addition, the Fund, which acquired a new governance in 2007, has since gained considerable autonomy, while continuing to be an integral part of the Organization.  Also, in this worrying situation, the way in which the operation of the Fund is monitored seems critical to us.

The Austrian Court of Audit wrote in 2008:  The External Auditors are of the opinion that due to the fact that CERN and its Pension Fund form one legal entity the internal audit should be entitled to perform audits in all areas of CERN including its Pension Fund.2  However, the Pension Fund Governing Board has chosen to entrust the internal audit function to a private company, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a firm to which it simultaneously assigned the task of certifying the accounts. The sheer fact of entrusting these two functions to a single entity can only raise deep concerns and serious reservations on our part.

As to the addressee of the audit reports, here also we share the view expressed by the Austrian Auditors in 2008, supported three years later by their Italian successors:  While internal audit reports to the Director General on audits performed on CERN core activities, internal audit should report to equivalent executive bodies of the Pension Fund on audits performed on the Pension Fund.3  This is also what we think.

Therefore, on behalf of the members and beneficiaries of the Pension Fund, we invite you to follow the advice of the Auditors of the Organization to ensure that CERN's Internal Audit Service also carries out the Internal Audit of the Fund for the reasons mentioned previously.

Members and beneficiaries of the Fund need to have full confidence in the independence of the unit that controls the operation of the Fund.  They simply ask you to follow the repeated and insistent advice of the Auditors.  We are convinced that such a measure would bring some relief in the current climate of concern.

Yours sincerely,

Michel Goossens, President of the Staff Association,
Gertjan Bossen, President of the GAC-EPA Association.

1: Report by the External Auditors on the Financial Statements of the CERN Pension Fund for the Financial Year 2010 (CERN/2968), p. 17.;
2: Idem p. 11.;
3: Ibidem

Open Letter of August 2012 from
the President of the GAC-EPA to the President of the PFGB

2012-08-21

Mr. President,

As I had the opportunity to tell you last June, we are satisfied that, at your initiative, better communication has been put into place towards the members and beneficiaries of the Pension Fund who, I am sure, appreciate your decision to publish regularly articles in the CERN Bulletin.

In your article in No. 30+31 dated 25 July 2012, you mention that the Fund continues the implementation of the capital preservation approach and you announce a return on investments by the Fund of 2.0% as of 31 May 2012. You compare this number to a change by -8.5% in the Eurostoxx50 index.

The Fund’s return is certainly more favourable than the one obtained in 2011, but we should not forget that an evaluation of the Fund’s performance has to take into account two elements:  its return objective fixed at 3% above inflation1, and the result of a comparison with other providence schemes. A direct estimate of the quality of the management of our Fund is possible by making comparisons with institutions having the same vocation; this does not allow, in our opinion, a comparison with changes in stock exchange indices like Eurostoxx50. In the past, comparisons have been made with the performance of Swiss funds. Well then, according to the latest Swisscanto monitor cited by the "Le Temps" newspaper in its 17 July 2012 edition their performances 2 as of 30 June 2012 stand at +2.8 % (an other index mentioned, Pictet LPP40, displaying +4.18 %). These results provoke two comments:

Hence, seen the result of the above comparison as well as the remark made earlier concerning the return objective of our Fund, we continue to believe that its management remains worrying. We believe also that the request made by the GAC-EPA and the CERN Staff Association (cf. our letter dated 21 March 2012) to imply the Internal Audit Service of the Organisation in the internal audit of the Fund is fully justified. Here we note that this concern is shared by the External Auditors of the Organisation, members of the Italian Court of Audit, expressed many times and once more this year in their report to Council.

To finish, I should like to mention my satisfaction to learn that an evaluation of the new governance will take place in 2013, as foreseen at the time of its introduction in June 2007.

Yours sincerely,

Gerrit Bossen,
President of the CERN-ESO Pensioners’ Association
(GAC-EPA)
21 August 2012

1. Cf also article by the Staff Association in Echo No. 26+27 of 25 June 2012

2. These figures rely on data obtained from 340 Swiss provident institutions totalling 437 billion CHF of assets value

What about Pensions?

Original French

François Wittgenstein

Since our last report, the Governing Board (PFGB) has met on 26 April, 10 May, 28 and 29 June and 27 September 2012. The 2013 General Assembly will most likely take place on 11 September (morning).

You can view the Pension Fund site.

You can find on there the financial statements and the usual statistics as well as the presentation (English only) made to the General Assemblies at ESO and CERN on 11 and 12 September. The numbers of the CERN weekly bulletins which contain information on the Fund are also listed there.

The telephone number for the Fund administration is +41 22 767 8798.

Briefly the main subjects treated have been :

A few quantitative results:

Compared with the 31 December 2012 results, the funding ratio has improved to reach 66.4% on 30 June 2012 taking into account the under-indexation mechanism. Given the excellent returns on investment during the summer and the fact that the Geneva cost-of-living index for 2013 (August 2012/2011) has been settled at -0.2%, these results may have improved by a further 2 points at the time of writing. This is of course not brilliant but the trend is excellent and justifies the management strategy that has been adopted — investment with the aim of risk control. On 30 June 2012 the Fund membership comprised 3367 active members (average age 42.3 years) and 3478 beneficiaries (average age 72.5 years) The financial liabilities were 5596 MCHF (taking the under-indexation procedure into account) and the maximum loss of buying power taken into account (pensions prior to 1 January 2005) of -2.6%. With the parameters adopted, the Fund will not reach 100% funding ratio within the foreseen timescale. In order to do so it would be necessary either to increase the contributions of the Organisations by 40 MCHF or to increase the contributions by 17 points !

That apart, how does the economic and financial situation look ?

(Ref. Finanz und Wirtschaft and Le Temps)

Surprising as it may seem, the trend of the general economic situation is somewhat negative while at the same time the trend of the stock exchanges is positive :

 

 

 

[diagrams taken from the site http://www.onvista.de/]

 

…but not in the same way, as may be seen from the two graphs.

Growth perspectives are better in the USA than in Europe but trading is going at full speed, with of course the attendant risk of inflation. In China the yuan is up at its highest level ever against the dollar since the establishment of a market in 1994. Growth has been 14% since 2010 and 45% since 2005, not enough to upset the trade balance unless China succeeds in reducing its industrial investment while massively increasing its domestic demand, a path that risks becoming politically necessary.

Western countries are increasing their debts massively in an effort to reduce their unemployment levels but all are encountering the same difficulty:  how to channel these credits in the best way!

 

Evolution of the US debt as percent of GNP (2011)

 

Some private and state debts of selected states (2011)

[two diagrams from an issue of Finanz und Wirtschaft]

The continuation of my contribution is in the Free speech corner column.

Civil Status — Obituaries

David Jacobs

For the list of deceased beneficiairies of the Pension Fund consult the list of deaths.

If you wish to write a word of sympathy to the bereaved family you can send it via the CERN Pension Fund, which has the address but is not authorised to give it to third parties.

A tribute has been written for Jean-Paul Diss.

The following families thank the GAC-EPA and its members for the expression of their condolences at the passing away of their beloved:

Family Götschmann for Louis René Götschmann.
Family Moehl for Dieter Moehl.
Family Diss for Jean-Paul Diss.

Free Speech Corner

Message from François Wittgenstein:

It only remains for me to give my position regarding a decision taken by the majority of the Committee, that is to end prematurely my second mandate on the Governing Board of the Pension Fund which finishes on 31 October 2013. This decision must yet be backed by the President of the CERN Council who was the person who set the limit to my mandate at this date of 31 October 2013.

Montesquieu wrote in «The Spirit of the Laws»:

«So that power may not be abused there must be a mechanism whereby power stops power.»

The President of Council, on the recommendation of the Administrative Director of CERN, has planned to meet me and I shall ask him to apply the Statutes and Rules of the Pension Fund as allowed for in Article I 2.06.3 :

The members of the Governing Board shall be appointed for their competence in the matters falling within the remit of the Governing Board. They shall accept standard terms of appointment by which they undertake in particular to act solely in the best interests of the Fund and not as representatives of their respective constituencies.

I think that I have faithfully followed the conditions on the code of conduct that I signed by agreeing to be a member of the Governing Board of the Pension Fund and the punitive decision envisaged is just an abusive application of this same article of the Statutes and Rules which foresees:

Any member may be dismissed from his office by the authority which appointed him at any time by a procedure similar to that followed for his appointment.

My election at the top of the list with 92% of the votes at the last ballot shows that my position within the Administration Council was understood and supported by the members of our Association, and my priorities have not changed since :

To defend the interests of the Fund, which is strongly under-capitalised and right in the middle of restructuring.

François Wittgenstein

The CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)

Original French

Michel Baboulaz

The new rules which suppressed the yearly deductible on reimbursements and introduced different reimbursement levels are now mainly in force since they concern 2012 treatments.  We can already observe these different levels, from 80% to 100%, on our reimbursement notifications, depending on the country where the treatment took place and the individual year-to-date expenses to be met (FCA), which can be below or above the thresholds fixed in the rules.  The year-to-date expenses are now shown on the reimbursement recap, which UNIQA sends us.

All those insured who are over 50 years of age have received a letter from UNIQA inviting them to perform screening tests which according to the new rules are reimbursed 100%.

An audit of UNIQA SA in Geneva has just taken place.   A call for tenders to administer CHIS will thus be relaunched and we aim to present Finance Committee with a tender for this contract in June or September 2013.  Whatever the result of the call for tenders, the contract with UNIQA will last until end 2013.

The Supervisory Committee of the Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS Board) is continuing to study modifications still to be made to the rules.  In particular specific cover, which offers a voluntary insurance to associate staff members, is under question and alternative options are being sought.

Some statistics at end June 2012 :

An increase in the total number of people insured has been recorded : +4.2% in 6 months, i.e. total of 14,014.  For pensioners the increase is +1.5%, i.e. total of  5,138.

The reserve funds of CHIS have evolved as foreseen.  End July 2012 they amounted to 139 MCHF and the sums placed in two banks produced an average yield of 4.39%.

Presence on the internet

 

Robert Cailliau

Except for one point, everything progresses well.

We hope to put the new version of the public site on-line early 2013, as planned. The members database works well too, small improvements are made as needed.

The worrying point is translation of content: we have not received a single proposal to volunteer! We remind you that timely dissemination of our information in both official languages of CERN is important: help us by volunteering for translation tasks (French to English, but also English to French). The task is light if you are many, it's about translating a few pages per year. You should preferably be of mother tongue of the language into which you translate. There is no need for text processing skills (but an internet connection is required). Please come forward! Contact : webmaster@gac-epa.org (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service)

A propos de fiscalité

 

Jean François Michaud.

Dear retired colleagues who live in France,

Every year the time comes round to fill in the income tax return. A question that arose during a meeting of the GAC Committee : “Must you declare every year that you have a bank account in Switzerland?” Most of us thought not. On asking the tax authorities, however, we got the reply that this procedure is obligatory every year.

Below you will find several articles that set out the obligation to make this declaration.

THE LAW FIRST OF ALL

Article 1649 A As amended by Law 89-935 1989-12-29,-art. 98 I 2 Finance for 1990 JORF, 30 December 1989. The public services, the establishments or organisations subject to control by the administrative authority and all persons who regularly receive on deposit stocks, shares or cash must declare to the tax authorities the opening and closure of accounts of all kinds…

Individuals, associations, not-for-profit societies, domiciled or established in France, must declare, at the same time as their declaration of income or profit/loss, the details of all foreign accounts, whether open, in use or closed. The methods of application of this clause are established by decree…

A TAX ACCOUNTANT’S REPLY TO A WEB QUESTION:

Yes, you must declare all foreign bank accounts irrespective of whether they are open, in use or closed. This is an element of the obligations related to fiscal oversight. You must declare, at the same time as making your income tax return, the details of these accounts. Each account must be declared separately, either on a form 3916 (Cerfa n°11916*05 or 50869#05) or on a blank sheet with the same headings as the printed form.You can download the form from http://www.impots.gouv.fr. This obligation concerns individuals, associations and societies that are not commercial in character, with place of residence in France.

PROCEDURES FOR AN ACCOUNT ABROAD

The holders of foreign bank accounts must respect certain procedures in their declaration.

Explanations:

Holders of foreign bank accounts must tick the box 8UU on page 4 of their income tax returns. They must also make a declaration n°3916 (downloadable from http://www.impots.gouv.fr) for each of these accounts and attach them to their tax declaration.

The penalty for omitting to declare a foreign account stands at 1'500€ for each undeclared account. The fine increases to 10'000€ when the account is held in a so-called «uncooperative» state or territory, i.e. one that has not signed an administrative-aid agreement with France allowing access to banking information. Since 16 March 2012, whenever the total of the positive balances of the undeclared foreign account(s) is equal to or greater than 50'000€ on the 31 December of the year for which the declaration should have been made, the fine applied is 5% of the positive balance of each account but in any event not less than the 1'500€ previously mentioned (10'000€ in the case of an «uncooperative» state). This 5% fine thus applies already to declarations that had to be made by 31 May 2012 at the latest.

Owners of foreign accounts must also keep in mind that the income tax authorities can demand payment as much as 10 years in arrears, no matter the country in which the account is held, unless the taxpayer can prove that the total of the positive balances of his/her foreign accounts was less than 50'000€ on 31 December of the year for which the declaration should have been made.

This information should allow you, dear colleagues, to judge for yourselves and take your decisions accordingly.

For most of us this Swiss account is a salary account that serves only a transitional function. According to the lady to whom I spoke on the phone, you should not run the risk of any sanctions if you put things right by setting out the name, address and number of this account (without however indicating its balance) on a sheet of paper along with your next tax declaration.

More news will follow regarding the CSG, CRDS and CMU in Bulletin 44, in March 2013

Information Sessions (permanences)

 

Gunilla Santiard, René Barthélémy, Jean François Michaud.

The Information Sessions (permanences) are run by Gunilla Santiard, René Barthélémy and Jean François Michaud.

They take place every first Tuesday of the month except in January, July and August, in the small Staff Association conference room (Main Building), between 13:30 and 16:00. See the dates, which are also announced in the Echo, the Staff Association bulletin.

Any pensioner having a problem or query can seek help or support from this Commission. In general most of the problems raised concern taxes, health insurance or the PRP programme, rights following divorce or remarriage, authorization to enter the CERN site, car parks and access to different gates, etc.

If the Commission is not able to give the answer to the person during the interview, it will do its utmost to find out from the relevant services and will contact the person in question, if he/she has left an address or telephone number.

Most of the time, the requests are completely justified but occasionally some requests are not warranted and a previous personal effort on behalf of the person concerned could often resolve the problem. The Commission should be regarded as the last resort, once the person has looked into all the possible solutions. It should be remembered that the CERN services are also there to help and have most of the necessary information.

The GAC-EPA Committee is considering the creation of a «Forum» accessible to the pensioners, where it will be possible to find answers to the most frequently asked questions. Internet access is of course necessary.

This team of young pensioners which makes up the «Permanences» Commission will do its utmost to find the solutions to the requests it receives and sometimes the meetings are also an opportunity to reminisce about CERN’s history.