Make us pay more taxes: France's super-rich

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Matthew Warren - [email protected]
Make us pay more taxes: France's super-rich
Philippe Delafosse

Sixteen of France's richest people have penned a letter to magazine Le Nouvel Observateur calling for an "exceptional contribution" to be made by the country's wealthiest taxpayers.


The letter, due to be published in Thursday's edition of the magazine, follows the recent call by American billionaire Warren Buffet to "stop coddling the super-rich."

"We are fully conscious of having benefited from a French system and a European environment to which we are very attached and that we would like to do our bit to preserve," the letter said, while adding that contributions should be "reasonable" and should not cause "undesirable economic effects."

Signatories to the letter include Europe's richest woman, L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, as well as Air France-KLM chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta (pictured) and the bosses of other major French companies including Total, Société Générale, and Danone

The boss of French advertising group, Maurice Lévy, was also one of the signatories. Last week, he penned his own article in newspaper Le Monde arguing for "an exceptional contribution from the most well-off."

The rush by the super-rich to start paying more taxes was sparked by Buffet's observation that while his employees paid an average tax rate of 36 percent in 2010, his own was just 17 percent.

France is facing continued strains on its public finances, with the current budget deficit at 5.7 percent. 

President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet his cabinet on Wednesday to discuss proposals to find around €10 billion of savings. There has been speculation in recent weeks that France could be the next country to lose its AAA rating unless it puts its finances in order.


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