• France's news in English

France has 'third highest tax burden in EU'

Ben McPartland · 16 Jun 2014, 18:19

Published: 16 Jun 2014 18:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

New stats revealed that the ratio of France’s tax burden when compared to its GDP continues to grow and is now among the top three in Europe.

The ratio of tax revenues to GDP varies greatly among member states of the EU but in France it stood at 45 percent in 2012, a report from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union has revealed.

That ratio put it ahead of Scandinavian countries like Sweden (44.2 percent) and Norway (42.4 percent) both of which are renowned for their high taxes.

Only Denmark (48.1 percent) and Belgium (45.4 percent) have a higher tax-to-GDP ratio than France.

Across the EU, the overall sum of taxes as a percentage of GDP reached 39.4 percent in 2012, although it was 40.4 percent in the 18 countries using the euro currency.

The increase in France's tax-to-GDP ratio (from 43.7 percent to 45. Percent) was in stark contrast to the UK where the ratio fell from 33.2 percent to 32.4 percent.

Those figures may not surprise anyone who has been reading the French news in recent years. When socialist president François Hollande was elected in 2012, he immediately set about raising taxes at the same time the country’s beleaguered economy stuttered in an out of recession.

However, despite the furor over Hollande’s plan to levy a 75 percent tax rate on the rich and France’s long standing reputation for having a hungry taxman, when it comes to levies on labour, Eurostat’s figures may surprise a few.

While France, like most EU countries, raises most of its revenue through labour levies, the percentage it makes up of the total tax revenue is less than in other countries.

For France, 52.3 percent of its the overall tax revenue came from labour taxes – the same as in 2012 – in Sweden the equivalent figure was 58.6 percent, in Germany it was 56.6 percent and in Belgium it was 53.9 percent.

The Netherlands (57.5 percent) and Austria (57.4 percent) also raised more money of their overall revenue through labour taxes than France did.

Story continues below…

The French have long accepted the principle of paying high taxes in return for top quality public services but with a recent poll revealing more than seven out of ten French tax payers are of the view they are being hit too hard in the pocket, perhaps the traditional view is changing.

In an analysis article last year titled "Why do the French Tolerate Such high Taxes", The Economist magazine suggested "the social contract", between the French and the state, "could be on the verge of breaking down".

Earlier this year the French government appeared to respond to those fears when PM Manuel Valls announced that taxes would be cut for 1.8million of the country’s poorest households.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

France sees biggest drop in jobless rate for 20 years
Photo: AFP

Good news at last. But it's unlikely to keep President François Hollande in his job.

Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available