Gerard Depardieu cries Vous Arretez! on French Taxes, Plans Move to Belgium


Reuters reports that the latest tax refugee from France's dramatically hiked top tax rates is controversial actor Gerard Depardieu:

The "Cyrano de Bergerac" star has bought a house in the Belgian village of Nechin near the French border, local mayor Daniel Senesael told French media on Sunday, adding he had also enquired about procedures for acquiring Belgian residency.

Senesael said Depardieu would join some 2,800 French living in the same area a few minutes drive from the border, including the Mulliez family, owners of French hypermarket chain Auchan and Decathlon sports stores, who have lived there for years.

Belgian residents do not pay wealth tax, which in France is now slapped on individuals with assets over 1.3 million euros, nor do they pay capital gains tax on the sale of shares.

Depardieu thus joins other famous French tax refugees such as "French Elvis" Johnny Hallyday in leaving his homeland for countries with less punitive rates.

The Reuters story (read the whole thing here) about Depardieu raises various questions (such as whether the actor is in fact "best known" for playing Obelix in the Asterix films) and whether Paris may be safer without him (he was recently arrested for driving drunk after falling off a motor scooter he was piloting).

The income tax hikes are only one of a series of enacted or planned taxes under Socialist President Francois Hollande that spell trouble for the Gallic economy.

Hat Tip: Philippe Lacloude.

Back in 2009, Reason looked at France's economic model versus the United States:

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  1. Arthur Laffer is having a good laugh.

  2. So now he’s looking to get a green card in Belgium?

    1. Does Andie McDowell live there now?

      1. Living the exact same day, over and over again.

        1. Reading French poretry (sic)?

          Or Belgian poretry now, I assume.

  3. Raising taxes automatically means increased tax revenues. There is literally no downside.

    1. There is a downside FOE, unfortunately. It’s called tax-dodging and a lot of rich people engage in it. Tragic, but true. This is why a World government with a unified tax code and a large collective enforcement bureau is desperately needed. It’s for the best, and the children of course.

      1. France is just being stupid for allowing him to leave the country with his wealth in tact.

        He didn’t earn that, you know.

        1. Only tactless wealth for the rich!

        2. I thought his wealth was tactless.

        3. They should bring back the guillotine. Where are the great men like Robespierre when you really need them?

  4. I’m sure Warren Buffett is puzzled by this behavior. Maybe he thinks that only Americans don’t respond to incentives.

    1. Warren would explain it more clearly to us economic ignoramuses, but he’s too busy figuring out how to not pay his billion dollar tax bills to get into details. Later, perhaps.

      1. Hey, go easy on the guy – he can’t help it.

        That’s why he needs the government to raise his tax rates, he doesn’t have the strength of will to avoid tax avoidance.

  5. a motor scooter he was piloting

    That’s offensive. It’s called a Fiat and it’s called driving.

    1. Crap. Quick, someone save me by typing in a french car… like a Chrysler LeBaron.

      1. Everybody’s talkin’ at me…I can’t hear a word they’re sayin’…just drivin’ around in Jon Voight’s car…

        1. John Voight.

      2. A Simca 1000.

      3. The French make cars? Do they only come with a single gear, that being reverse?

      4. These were popular French vehicles in the early 40’s.

    2. “he was recently arrested for driving drunk after falling off a motor scooter he was piloting”

      Is not the prescribed penalty (in French law) for such an infraction to be pointed at and laughed at by all on the scene?

  6. I wouldn’t trust the Belgian government too much – I mean, look at their gay socialist prime minister:…..1203-1.jpg

    1. Alan Colmes is the prime minister of Belgia?

  7. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me dude. Wow.

  8. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Rich people and many corporations are becoming very good at tax avoidance. Income taxes are easy to avoid, if you have money. Tiny countries that produce little can survive as tax havens for the rich.

    I would think this will be a particular problem for Europe, with monetary union and low cross border friction, but without fiscal union.

  9. That’s crazy. Nobody in real life would ever fold his tent and relocate just because of a rise in marginal tax rates!

  10. Wonder how Robert Crumb is doing these days…

    Didn’t Alec Baldwin threaten to go to France? All leftist loud’ mouth’d shnooks want to go to France. Why I don’t know.

    I visit often enough – got family there. A friend of mine is even a foreign diplomat in France for the Canadian government.

    I got some anecdotal insights on France and Italy.

    What Depardieu is doing seems to correlate to what I see here in Quebec. According to a couple of my clients who are from France, the French are leaving more and more now. They cite the rise in violence and the taxes as the primary reasons for leaving.

    One of them, though, brags about French medicine and talks about how Canada is in the dark ages. A doctor friend of mine, on the other hand, thinks the French are medical quacks. Who to believe?

    I can’t really say what my friend thinks. His wife is happy and all…she’s from Bretagne.

    As for my cousins who own restaurants and food outlets in Paris, they tell me tax stories that make your hair raise – and we’re on that path without a doubt. As long as guys like Obama keep getting elected and all their BS rhetoric, expect the trend to go towards France.

    Then they wonder why there’s a massive black market economy in France and Italy – Italy in particular.

    1. As for my cousins who own restaurants and food outlets in Paris, they tell me tax stories that make your hair raise – and we’re on that path without a doubt.

      That’s no joke. My mother bought a small farm in Normandy when she was stationed in Britain back in the ’80s (real estate was stupid cheap anywhere outside of Paris). She retired there in 1998 and started raising heritage pigs as a diversion and for some extra retirement income. Regulations were slim for a very long time on small farms, but that changed a couple years ago and the government got real serious about enforcement.

      Then they wonder why there’s a massive black market economy in France and Italy – Italy in particular.

      And food prices are insane. Based on what my mom told me food prices are doing and the average household income in France, I figure the average Frog is spending as much as half their yearly income on food alone.

      1. Well, at least it keeps them thin you know.

  11. I’m sure Warren Buffett is puzzled by this behavior.

    Yeah, really. The only reason Warren chooses to live in Omaha instead of Manhattan is because of his sentimental attachment to the old family homestead.

  12. When you’ve lost Martin Guerre. . . .

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