The French Flee Higher Taxes

The French flee higher taxes and want to become Belgians this year; many well-known persons in France are publicly expressing their dissatisfaction. An estimate of 500 wealthy people in France wants to migrate as a result of the increase in tax.

It is not only the actor Gérard Depardieu and LVMH owner Bernard Arnault who wants to become Belgian. The entire 500 French people are queuing to get Belgian citizenship to avoid French taxes. But it is urgent now…

Criticism of wealthy Frenchmen who move abroad to avoid paying tax has gained new impetus after one of France’s most beloved actor, Gérard Depardieu, decided to settle in Belgium.

President François Hollandes decision to tax 75 percent of all income over 1 million in France has triggered an outrage in the country in the autumn. First up was Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man and owner of luxury group LVMH which among others owns fashion house Louis Vuitton. He announced that he would indeed move to Belgium, which made the leftwing newspaper “Libération” put Arnault (carrying a red suitcase) on its front page with a headline that read something like “Go ahead, idiot.”

Arnault himself responded by suing the newspaper which only continued to stoke the debate about solidarity in times of crisis on one side and whether the French Socialist government destroyed the investment climate or not on the other side (you are free to guess which political side did what).

The news that Gérard Depardieu, who is France’s second richest man after Arnault, has now decided to become Belgians have got the political establishment to go through the roof again. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called Depardieus decision “pathetic”, which in turn allowed the actor to counter with to publish how many millions he paid in taxes over the years.

Many southern European countries will see increases of tax next year as a result of the crisis. Sweden is going against the tide and is for example planning reductions of corporate tax in 2013. As a result of this, and in contrast to many other countries, the rich Swedes are moving home instead of migrating.

Sweden has become a favorable destination for corporate groups to use for tax planning purposes, safe and developed corporate infrastructure together with tax advantages has made Sweden a favorite among international tax planning experts.

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