France has overhauled some of its domestic tax law in a move that will secure the country’s place as one of the world’s centres for Islamic finance. The French government has made good on a pledge made in the summer of 2008 and has brought in a series of detailed tax changes that will allow the rules of Islamic finance to be followed without attracting tax penalties, in comparison with other transactions. Now France has made a large number of specific changes so that Islamic finance vehicles are viewed by the tax authorities in the same way as their western counterparts.
One of the first companies to benefit from France’s radical reform to its stance on Islamic banking is Islamic Finance Advisory and Assurance Services (IFAAS). IFAAS is a UK-based consultancy specialising in providing advisory & training services to financial institutions in Shariah compliance. The business was incorporated in 2007 with the vision of supporting the development and growth of Islamic financial industry in the UK and Europe. Currently experiencing a significant rate of growth, the company recently opened its second office in Paris to serve the French and other international markets, in anticipation of the French law change.
According to IFAAS managing director Mohammad Farrukh Raza, “We consider IFAAS’ first mainland European office in Paris as a significant development for the French Islamic Finance industry. This is because we have received huge interest from local and international financial organisations wishing to explore the opportunities Islamic Finance offers them in France– a clear sign that the industry is set for growth, even at this early stage. Our deep experience in the Islamic finance sector is in demand and we expect that over the course of the next 12 months, as the market expands, some exciting developments will emerge.”
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