Rich French Flee Country to Escape New Tax Hikes

Apparently, when you suddenly jack up taxes on your wealthiest citizens (a proposed 75 percent rate on every Euro earned over 1 million, and an increase in the highest tax bracket from 41 percent to 45 percent), your wealthiest citizens look for friendlier countries to park and earn their money. Reports The Telegraph (UK): "Looming tax hikes by France's new socialist government have triggered an exodus of the Gallic super-rich to 'wealth-friendly' nations like Britain and Switzerland." Details:

Alexander Kraft, head of Sotheby's Realty, France, said: "The result of the presidential election has had a real impact on our sales. "Now a large number of wealthy French families are leaving the country as a direct result of the proposals of the new government." [...]

Gilles Martin, a Swiss tax consultant, reported the same trend. "Since the socialists came to power in France, I have been deluged with inquiries from rich French people who would rather pay their tax in Switzerland," he told Switzerland's 20 Minutes newspaper.

This squares with my anecdotal experience in France a couple of weeks back, when notary publics were reportedly swamped with French changing their wills and other financial contracts. Meanwhile, les rosbif are all, bienvenue!

Prime minister David Cameron angered the French last month when he said he would "roll out the red carpet" to wealthy French citizens and firms who wanted move out and pay their taxes in Britain.

He told the B20 business summit in Mexico in June: "I think it's wrong to have a completely uncompetitive top rate of tax.

"If the French go ahead with a 75 per cent top rate of tax we will roll out the red carpet and welcome more French businesses to Britain and they can pay tax in Britain and pay for our health service and schools and everything else."

Link via the Twitter feed of "Old Whig."

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  • Joe R.||

    That's un-American!

  • Restoras||

    Gee, what a shock.

  • fish||

    People attempt to find alternatives.....?

    That's unpossible!

  • Romulus Augustus||

    "they can pay tax in Britain and pay for our health service and schools and everything else."

    In other words, our gang of thieves will take a bit less of your wealth than your gang of thieves. (At least for now.)

  • tarran||

    You laugh, but that idea has done more to reduce tyranny than anything else. The tyrant who doesn't give a tinker's cuss about ideas will loosen his hands if it means more money pours into his coffers.

  • Tulpa the White||

    It's not exactly free, but it is a market.

  • affenkopf||

    France could do the same as the US and tax their expatriates.

  • DaveAnthony||

    I think the EU treaty prevents them from doing this now... it would be more like Maryland trying to tax citizens that flee to Virginia.

  • asdfg||

    Believe it or not, Sarkozy already campaigned on that, with the following argument : "The US do it, and they are not leftists, are they ?"

  • Sevo||

    Well, are they? Uh....

  • Tulpa the White||

    US citizenship carries benefits regardless of where you are in the world.

  • ant1sthenes||

    I didn't realize being on the shit list of every radical group in the world was a "benefit".

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Is that just a random statement of fact, or an attempt at apologizing for the evil, barbaric fucking tax policy of taxing expatriates like they are fucking serfs?

  • ||

    US citizenship carries benefits regardless of where you are in the world.

    I believe the guy who ended his US citizenship to avoid taxes on Facebook IPO proceeds would beg to disagree.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    No.

    Speaking English carries benefits regardless of where you are in the world. Being an American means dick.

  • ||

    Maybe Chuck Schumer should go to France. And flush himself down the toilet.

  • carol||

    Shouldn't that be, "And flush himself down the bidet."?

  • Tim||

    The French Government is in full Fromage control mode...

  • Lord Humungus||

    that's why we need to go back to a 90% Eisenhower rate - or whatever it was. We will finally be free of the rich people not paying their fair share!

  • Spiny Norman||

    No, they'd still be ten percentage points short.

  • Tim||

    Nobody goes full Eisenhower.

  • sarcasmic||

    Screw that. What we need is a 100% tax rate on income above some arbitrary level. A "maximum wage" you could say. This way corporations will be forced to give the workers their fair share.
    /some people seriously believe that shit

  • robc||

    Why stop at 100%. Make it 105% and it will be a true max wage.

  • Tulpa the White||

    "I give 110% on every task Mr. Trump."

  • Drake||

    And make sure you don't index that level for inflation - that's how they cheat.

  • John Thacker||

    "Since the socialists came to power in France"

    Wait, surely aren't we going to have op-eds tut-tut about how unfair it is to call France's Socialist Party, members of the Party of European Socialists and the Socialist International, socialists?

    I mean, they're not Eastern European communists, so clearly calling them socialists is total right-wing propaganda.

  • sarcasmic||

    I wasn't aware that their goal was to have the state control all means of production, so they can't be socialists since technically that is what socialism means.

  • robc||

    Looks like they are moving in that direction.

    The more the state controls the more socialist you are...its not binary.

  • Tim||

    Social-ish?

  • Drake||

    When they are done, there will be no production.

  • Lord Humungus||

    socialism-lite? Now with no fat, no tobacco, no super-size sodas, or telling off-color jokes.

  • #||

    effectively though, what's the difference between the state owning all the means of production and the state just taking all the produce of the production via taxes? Different sides of the same coin.

  • Brutus||

    The difference is that when the patina of private ownership is retained, those in power can claim it was all the fault of those baddie capitalists business owners when the shit invariably hits the fan.

  • Tulpa the White||

    No, that's communism. You can be a socialist and still support a small role for private property.

  • sarcasmic||

    I never said anything about private property.

    Tulpa the Fallacious strikes again!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Yes, the socialist, in his magnamity, will allow you to own your own toothbrush, purchased from the designated market near your designated living area.

    You can even pick the color.

  • ant1sthenes||

    They want the state to control all means of production (laborers included), but they don't want to own it, since that would piss off the rich backers they need for their plans, and at any rate would mean that they could be blamed for the misuse of those means.

    Just standard issue fascist economics.

  • ||

    "Goals" may be different than "interim policies meant to move toward certain goals"

    If you feel comfortable with state ownership of most if not all means of production, you're a socialist, even if you feel you have to move gradually in that direction.

  • Rhywun||

    In the fantasy-land of soccer finance, this just balloons salaries even more. There's one dude moving to Paris next season, they're throwing like triple the number of millions at him just to cover the fact that most of it's going down the rat hole.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Considering the financial state of a lot of top teams, this is probably not going to be sustainable.

    I think the MLS may be getting a lot of top talent in the next few years.

  • Rhywun||

    I think it's a sign of the even more extreme than usual splurging that's going to take place right up to the moment the new "financial fair play" rules take effect in a year or two.

  • Ice Nine||

    Apparently Monsieur Hollande felt that dropping the French retirement age by two years wouldn't hurry the French economy down the shitter quite rapidly enough.

  • ||

    Easy solution: anyone making more than 100k Euros per year is not allowed to leave the country!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Even better - tax all foreigners living abroad.

  • ||

    Holy Christ, when the UK is comparatively "wealth friendly" you know you're in trouble. You know where has a 15% flat tax, whether on individual or corporate income, and appears to be a politically stable island paradise? Sure as fuck ain't the UK.

  • Mike M.||

    Yeah, remember when British rockers like the Rolling Stones used to flee England to come here to save money? Now it's the other freaking way around (see democratic party bagwoman Denise Rich).

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think one of the things you have to remember is that if you made yourself a lot of money?

    You didn't build that.

    If it wasn't for some fucking bridge the god damn president built? You wouldn't have any of it anyway.

    So stop complaining about them taking your money--becasue it isn't really yours anyway.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    So stop complaining about them taking your money--becasue it isn't really yours anyway.

    Amazing how we've doubled back to serfdom in so little a time.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, Mauritius looks nice. I know they're business friendly, I wonder about their social laws.

  • ||

    Depends which ones, I guess. According to this site privately owned firearms number 180,000 (14.7 per 100 people), and gov't owned firearms number 1,880.

  • ||

    Firearm Registration
    Civilian Gun Registration
    In Mauritius, the law requires16 that a record of the acquisition, possession and transfer of each privately held firearm be retained in an official register
    Gun Dealer Record Keeping
    In Mauritius, licensed firearm dealers are required16 to keep a record of each firearm or ammunition purchase, sale or transfer on behalf of a regulating authority
    State-Owned Firearm Records
    In Mauritius, State agencies are required16 to maintain records of the storage and movement of all firearms and ammunition under their control

    Fuck. It could still work, though, as long as it's one of those corrupt countries where you can bribe your way out of following the law. Is it?

  • BakedPenguin||

    If the Heritage ranks are correct, they're between Poland and South Korea in corruption. So, maybe, if you find the right guy.

    Also, according to a UK travel website, a 1/2 ounce of weed can land you a year in prison. I can't imagine any other substances have lighter sentences.

  • ||

    If it is anything like the rest of Africa, the answer is yes, yes it is.

    I like the Heritage link but I gotta question their high marks for Australia. They might be less awful in some areas but their tax rate sucks.

  • R C Dean||

    They're gonna have to whack the Aussies for their moronic carbon tax.

  • ||

    Dagny, 45% might sound high especially considering that there's a 10% GST as well.

    But when you consider that the no state levies either income or sales taxes (although they all have their own payroll taxes) the bite is not as bad. It doesn't matter what Canadian province you live in, your combined fed/prov rate is going to be close to or over 45% if you are in the top bracket.

  • mr simple||

    It's too bad people in this country aren't smart enough to take advantage of this by having a reasonable or *gasp* no income tax.

  • ||

    Or there are always our friends St. Kitts and Nevis where if you're an American and you actually need a new citizenship to escape your government's grasping tentacles, they are clever enough to allow you to purchase one of theirs. And to have no income or wealth tax.

    A quick Google of "citizenship by investment" or "high net worth expatriation" will tell you the French are not the only ones thinking seriously about bailing on...well, damn near all of the Northern Hemisphere at this point.

  • cw||

    This was an unforeseen event. How could we have possibly known?

  • Ken Shultz||

    My understanding is that the huge upsurge in Swiss banks was originally pumped up by wealthy French getting their money out of the country during the French Revolution.

    The effect of money leaving the country, by the way, is probably dwarfed by the amount of money that's been set idle. First, you make it so your money doesn't turn much of a profit--so you don't have to pay the higher rates. Then, when they start coming after everything you make over a certain number, that's when you get your money out of the country.

    It's a good thing stuff like that can't happen here in the United States.

    ...since we're so very precious.

  • Spiny Norman||

    Since all of this was entirely predictable, my main takeaway from the post is that "roast beef" seems to be a (probably derogatory) term for the British.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    A leftist acquaintance of mine has opened a restaurant in downtown Columbus. I plan on stopping by to ask him if he's paying his employees a living wage and full benefits. When he responds with uncomfortable and derisive laughter I'm going to ask him if I can speak to his employees briefly about unionizing. His head will explode like one of Galagher's watermelons.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    If he were a true leftist, he'd be paying himself nothing, and giving his meals away for free.

  • Brutus||

    Isn't hunger a pre-existing condition?

    QED

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Good point - I'll also ask him how much excess food he's donating to the local soup kitchen.

  • Brutus||

    My dad, a former Teamster, was like that. It was union this and union that...until he started his own business. It was a one-man affair, but when he went on vacay, he never called the hall to get a fine union man to step in to run the operation, he always got a non-union schlub. Don't think I didn't point it out to him.

  • ||

    It's funny how a diehard union man's attitude can change when he's the one who has to meet a payroll.

  • ||

    I would love to hear an update on this!!

  • Concerned Citizen||

    I'll keep you posted.

  • NotSure||

    There is another story about a French minister that wants to "make it so expensive for French companies to fire someone that they never will outsource their staff again", what could possibly go wrong ?

  • R C Dean||

    What's French for "hard to fire, hard to hire"?

  • Concerned Citizen||

    Well their unemployment rate has gone up to 10.1, but who could have seen that coming?

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés."

  • CZmacure||

    I know right?

    In Spain we approved a labor reform 6 months ago that made firing people much cheaper, and as you know our unemployment rates immediately dropped to practically zero.. oh wait...

  • Pro Libertate||

    Remember when the successful and/or brilliant would flee to the United States?

  • Rhywun||

    Remember when the United States wanted them?

  • ChrisO||

    On the bright side, after the inevitable crash, a nice vacation on the Riviera might become much more affordable. The only question may be whether the Greek Isles are even a better deal.

  • The Hammer||

    The only question is whether they will confiscate whatever is in your luggage and eat you.

  • ||

    Fuck that noise - a ski vacation in Chamonix. Then the Swiss hotels, restaurants, et al will panic that everyone is going to France to ski and lower their rates. Followed by the Austrians and Krauts. Cheap Alpine skiing for all!

  • The Hammer||

    Meh. Both the food and the skiing are better in Steamboat Springs or Vail.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Gilles Martin, a Swiss tax consultant, reported the same trend. "Since the socialists came to power in France, I have been deluged with inquiries from rich French people who would rather pay their tax in Switzerland," he told Switzerland's 20 Minutes newspaper.

    Obviously, someone needs to sit these greedy French bourgeosie and petty bourgeosie down and explain to them that in the Civil Religion of the 21st century, l'etat is your dieu, and your taxes, all 75% of them, are a holy and pleasing sacrifice to it, for which you are amply rewarded...with roads.

  • Brandybuck||

    I always comes down to the ROADZ

  • Gilbert Martin||

    So, people change their behavior in response to incentives (or disincitives).

    Who could have ever forseen such that thing?

  • GatorHeel||

    The plural of "anecdote" is not "fact."

  • The Hammer||

    "Data," not "Fact." Get your vacuous cliches straight.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    France is so socialist...

    "how socialist is it?"

    It's so socialist, the UK looks like a "wealth friendly" country.

    rim shot.

  • crazydaisy||

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