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Wealthy Are Fleeing France's Wealth Tax in France

July 17, 2006

Tags Taxes and Spending

Interesting article in the Washington Post: Old Money, New Money Flee France and Its Wealth Tax, by Molly Moore:

[A] sizable community of rich expatriate French [are being] driven out by the world's highest tax bills on wealthy citizens. The exodus continues: On average, at least one millionaire leaves France every day to take up residence in more wealth-friendly nations, according to a government study. At a time when France is struggling to stay competitive in an increasingly integrated world, business leaders say the country can't afford to make refugees of some of its most established business families. They include members of the Taittinger champagne empire, the Peugeot auto magnates and leading shareholders of dominant retailers Carrefour and Darty. Also going are members of a new generation of high-tech entrepreneurs....The wealth tax — officially called the solidarity tax — is collected on top of income, capital gains, inheritance and social security taxes. It's part of the reason France consistently ranks at the top of Forbes magazine's annual Tax Misery Index — a global listing of the most heavily taxed nations. Wealthy citizens' tax bills can be higher than their incomes, according to tax analysts. President Jacques Chirac's government attempted to rectify that disparity last year with changes intended to guarantee that no one would pay more than 60 percent of income in taxes. But many businesspeople say actual maximum tax rates still hover at around 72 percent.

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