French president Francois Hollande wants to set the top tax rate in France at 75%, for those who make over €1,000,000 a year.
As a result "Les Riches" Have Tax Indigestion and are looking to move outside France.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,” said Mr. Grandil, a partner at Altexis, which specializes in tax matters for corporations and the wealthy. “Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.”
Because there are relatively few people in France whose income would incur such a tax — perhaps no more than 30,000 in a country of 65 million — the gains might contribute but a small fraction of the 33 billion euros in new revenue the government wants to raise next year to help balance the budget.
There is no question Mr. Hollande is under fiscal pressure. He has pledged to reduce France’s budget deficit, currently 4.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, to 3 percent by next year, to meet euro zone rules.
The matter of how best to hit that target, though, is as much a political question as a fiscal one. Mr. Hollande was elected in May on a wave of resentment against “les riches” — company executives, bankers, sports stars and celebrities whose paychecks tend to be seen as scandalous in a country where the growing divide between rich and poor touches a cultural nerve whose roots predate Robespierre.
Half the nation’s households earn less than 19,000 euros a year; only about 10 percent of households earn more than 60,000 euros annually, according to the French statistics agency, Insee.
There is currently no plan to change the tax rates for most people, which is 14 percent for the poorest and 30 percent for the next rung. For higher earners — people with incomes above 70,830 euros a year — the tax rate will soon rise to 44 percent, up from 41, in a change that was already set before Mr. Hollande’s election.
Taxes are high in France for a reason: they pay for one of Europe’s most generous social welfare systems and a large government. As Mr. Hollande has described it, the tax plan is about “justice,” and “sending out a signal, a message of social cohesion.”
France has a 33 percent corporate tax rate — the euro zone’s second-highest, after Malta’s 35 percent. That contrasts with the 12.5 percent rate in Ireland, which has deliberately kept a lid on corporate taxes as a lure to businesses.
“It is a ridiculous proposal, but it’s great for us,” said Jean Dekerchove, the manager of Immobilièr Le Lion, a high-end real estate agency based in Brussels. Calls to his office have picked up in recent months, he said, as wealthy French citizens look to invest or simply move across the border amid worries about the latest tax.
“It’s a huge loss for France because people and businesses come to Belgium and bring their wealth with them,” Mr. Dekerchove said. “But we’re thrilled because they create jobs, they buy houses and spend money — and it’s our economy that profits.”