‚ÄėLes Riches‚Äô in France Vow to Leave if 75% Tax Rate Is Passed
The call to Vincent Grandil‚Äôs Paris law firm began like many others that have rolled in recently. On the line was the well-paid chief executive of one of France‚Äôs most profitable companies, and he was feeling nervous.
President Fran√ßois Hollande is vowing to impose a 75 percent tax on the portion of anyone‚Äôs income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year. ‚ÄúShould I be preparing to leave the country?‚ÄĚ the executive asked Mr. Grandil.
The lawyer‚Äôs counsel: Wait and see. For now, at least.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,‚ÄĚ said Mr. Grandil, a partner at Altexis, which specializes in tax matters for corporations and the wealthy. ‚ÄúEven 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.‚ÄĚ
A chill is wafting over France‚Äôs business class as Mr. Hollande, the country‚Äôs first Socialist president since Fran√ßois Mitterrand in the 1980s, presses a manifesto of patriotism to ‚Äúpay extra tax to get the country back on its feet again.‚ÄĚ The 75 percent tax proposal, which Parliament plans to take up in September, is ostensibly aimed at bolstering French finances as Europe‚Äôs long-running debt crisis intensifies.
But because there are relatively few people in France whose income would incur such a tax ‚ÄĒ perhaps no more than 30,000 in a country of 65 million ‚ÄĒ 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.