A Frenchwoman furious over what she considered an outrageous tax bill, settled the last €207 of her debt with 30 kilos in coins, even breaking open her pink piggy bank at the tax office counter to come up with a few last pennies.
"To pay my taxes on time, I had to sell my car," Audrey D., who didn't give her full name, told Sud-Ouest newspaper
Her impromptu protest began when she tried to pay her €1,107 tax bill in cash to authorities in the Alpine town of Sallanches, but was told she could only pay €300 euros per day in 'liquide'. She owed the sum on the average monthly salary of €1,400 she'd made in 2013.
For the fourth and final payment, the 28-year-old unemployed hotel worker turned up with €207 euros in rolls of one-, two- and five-centime coins, which a friend who works in a bank had helpfully supplied.
She also took along her piggy bank, which she smashed open at the counter to round up the sum.
It took officials more than two hours to count the coins. The tax centre workers initially gave her a frosty reception but soon saw the comic side of things and started taking photos of the counting operation.
"I'm not against paying taxes. But I don't think we should have to pay so much," said Audrey, echoing complaints from across France at the Socialist President François Hollande's high-tax policies.
She said she had written an open letter to the president to complain "about this government which takes us for idiots and also simply because I am French and I love to complain!"
France has a global reputation for its high taxes. A recent study by liberal minded Brussels-based think tank the Molinari Economic Institute study found that the real tax rate for an average worker in France in 2014 stands at 57.17%, well above the EU average of 45.27%
The French are also having to dedicate a larger portion of their earnings to paying off the taxes. The Molinari study found that the “day of fiscal liberation” for French workers – the day when they have earned enough to pay their tax bill for the year – fell on July 28th, two days later than the year before.
However some doubted the veracity of that study by an organisation that has been highly critical of France’s taxation policies.
A separate study by Eurostat in June revealed that France had the third highest tax burden in Europe behind Denmark and Belgium.
By : Rory Mulholland