French PM denies plan to ditch 75 percent tax

French PM denies plan to ditch 75 percent tax
Belgian Workers Party (PIB) militants hold boxes looking like laundry detergent, called "Millionaires Tax," during a protest in front Gerard Depardieu alleged new home. Photo: Philippe Huguen /AFP
The French Prime Minister denied media reports on Thursday that the government was about to scrap its controversial 75 percent top tax rate.

Jean-Marc Ayrault told AFP news agency that a by France's Europe1 radio suggesting the Socialist government had abandoned President François Hollande’s flagship pre-election pledge was untrue.

“We categorically deny this report,” Ayrault told AFP.

The French government was left red-faced last December when the country’s highest court ruled that the proposed levy on earnings over €1 million was ‘unconstitutional’.

The Constitutional Council ruled the tax was unlawful because it applied to individual income rather than household income, and therefore was not in line with France’s general approach to income tax.

An embarrassed Jean Marc-Ayrault had promised the tax would be re-drafted and put to parliament again, but Europe1 claimed it had information suggesting the party’s top brass has decided against putting the controversial tax back on the table.

Separately on Thursday the Minister of Parliamentary Relations Alain Vidalies confirmed the government were still working on a new draft of the law in line with the conclusions of the Constitutional Court.

A recent BVA poll for France’s i-TELE found that 61 percent of people supported in principle the idea of a separate tax on earnings over €1 million, but only 21 percent thought the rate should be at 75 percent or above.

Hollande’s proposed super tax had caused a stir at home and abroad and spread fears that France's wealthy would move abroad to avoid the charge. One of those who did leave was actor Gerard Depardieu, who is now the proud holder of a Russian passport.

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