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CEO of French hi-tech group considers tax exile

Bernard Charles, chief executive of the French hi-tech group Dassault Systemes, revealed on Monday that he is considering leaving his native France for tax reasons.

CEO of French hi-tech group considers tax exile
File photo

In an interview published in centre-left daily Le Monde, Charles said that although he was considering "in all its aspects" whether or not to go into tax exile, no decision had yet been taken.

"My concern is the heavy taxing on capital, stock options and free shares",  he was quoted as saying.

The comments come as several of Charles' compatriots, such as actor Gerard Depardieu, have left or are threatening to leave France owing to a proposed 75-percent tax rate on earnings of more than €1 million.

Charles said that several Dassault Systemes directors had already left the country, but emphasized that the proposed tax rate would not be the deciding factor in his case.

The business executive explained that he had been forced to sell Dassault Systemes shares in December to pay taxes stemming from other shareholdings, and said: "That illustrates well the weight of fiscal charges, which will increase further."

He said that if the situation reached the point where he could not distribute "plots of land," or packages of shares in the company as compensation, "then I'll leave."

Charles warned that government officials were not aware of the consequences their decisions could have on hi-tech French companies that compete for talent with foreign competitors.

"You must realise that in Munich, Germany is boosting start-ups, not to mention the United States or (South) Korea," he said.

In 2012, Dassault Systemes recorded a net profit of €334.8 million on sales of €2.02 billion. It employs more than 10,000 staff.

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LIVING IN FRANCE

France to roll out ID cards app

Technology is being rolled out to allow people to carry their French ID cards in an app form - and could be rolled out to other cards, including driving licences and cartes de séjour residency cards.

France to roll out ID cards app

Holders of French carte d’identité (ID cards) will soon be able to carry certified digital versions of them on their smartphone or other electronic devices, a decree published in the Journal Officiel has confirmed.

An official app is being developed for holders of the newer credit card-format ID cards that have information stored on a chip. A provisional test version of the app is expected at the end of May.

Users will be able to use the ID card app, when it becomes available, for a range of services “from checking in at the airport to renting a car”, according to Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market.

All French citizens have an ID card, which can be used for proving identity in a range of circumstances and for travel within the EU and Schengen zone – the new app will be in addition to the plastic card that holders already have.

Under the plans, after downloading the app, card holders will need merely to hold the card close to their phone to transfer the required information. According to officials, the holder then can decide what information is passed on – such as proof of age, or home address – according to the situation.

The government has not given any examples of situations in which the app would need to be used, but has set out the main principles and the ambition of the plan: to allow everyone to identify themselves and connect to certain public and private organisations, in particular those linked to the France Connect portal.

READ ALSO What is France Connect and how could it make your life simpler?

Cards will continue to be issued for the foreseeable future – this is merely an extension of the existing system.

Only French citizens have ID cards, but if successful the app is expected to be rolled out to include other cards, such as driving licences, cartes de séjour residency cards or even visas. A digital wallet is being developed at the European level – Member States have until September to agree what it could contain.

READ ALSO Eight smartphone apps that make life in France a bit easier

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