France's 75% Tax Could Push Rich Into Mass Exodus

Rich thinking of leaving if 75% tax rate is passed

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 8, 2012 11:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – France's new Socialist president wants to tax any income above €1 million ($1.24 million) per year at 75%—but if the plan is passed, France could see a mass exodus of its wealthiest residents. Rich residents are calling lawyers, asking if they should consider leaving the country over fears about François Hollande's plan, which Parliament will consider in September. Hollande says the 75% tax would help "get the country back on its feet," but the New York Times notes that just 7,000 to 30,000 of France's 65 million people would be paying the tax—so it may not even help the country, which is aiming to raise €33 billion next year, all that much.

Rather, the tax may be largely symbolic—Hollande will almost certainly need to make cuts to social and welfare programs, which will not be popular with the average citizen; imposing such a harsh tax on the rich could ease the bitterness a little. Already, companies are coming up with plans to get executives out of France, and other companies are delaying plans to invest or expand in the country. Some have already left, including a model, restaurateur, and singer who caused a stir when they all moved just across the border. Indeed, "It is a ridiculous proposal, but it’s great for us," says the manager of a high-end real estate agency in nearby Brussels. "People and businesses come to Belgium and bring their wealth with them."

French president Francois Hollande greets spectators on the finish line of the 18th stage of the Tour de France cycling race July 20, 2012.
French president Francois Hollande greets spectators on the finish line of the 18th stage of the Tour de France cycling race July 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours)
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French people have an uncomfortable relationship with money. Here, someone who is a self-made man, creating jobs and ending up as a millionaire, is viewed with suspicion. - Vincent Grandil, tax lawyer for the wealthy

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