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The bizarre blunder that scuppered Hollande's super-rich income tax

January 4, 2013 | By martine orange

The French government’s proposed top 75% income tax rate, applicable to individuals annually earning more than 1 million euros, was struck down by the country’s Constitutional Council last weekend after it ruled that it breached a fundamental principle of equality for taxpayers. This was the application of income tax per individual instead of the usual method of per household. How could the government, now accused of amateurism, and especially the budget and finance ministries, have ignored a technicality to which they had been previously alerted by the parliamentary finance commission? While President François Hollande has promised to redraft the terms of the tax, there is every indication that, if it is revived, it will return severely watered-down. Mediapart business and finance specialist Martine Orange analyses a fiasco that begs the question of whether the tax was scuppered from the inside.

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The French government’s proposed top 75% income tax rate, applicable to individuals annually earning more than 1 million euros, was struck down by the country’s Constitutional Council last weekend after it ruled that it breached a fundamental principle of equality for taxpayers. The super-tax for the super-rich had made headlines the world over, notably with the cases of high-profile individuals, latterly the actor Gérard Depardieu, who announced they were fleeing France for more fiscally clement climes. While President François Hollande has promised to redraft the terms of the tax, there is every indication that, if it is revived, it will return severely watered-down. Mediapart business and finance specialist Martine Orange analyses a fiasco that begs the question of whether the tax was scuppered from the inside.