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Politics

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Emmanuel Macron fait encore une fleur aux grandes fortunes

by Lionel Venturini

Emmanuel Macron Does Another Favour for the Rich

Translated Friday 4 May 2018, by Paula Smith

The President of France has announced in an American magazine his wish to end a tax implemented to limit foreign residence for the richest of the population. The tax was set up by Sarkozy, and accumulated 800 million euros in 2016.

Is it due to the fact that he communicates in English that Emmanuel Macron has become associated with ‘cash’? In an interview with the American business magazine Forbes, the President of the Republic announced his intention to end a tax on the very rich, ‘the exit tax’. This tax has been in place since Nicolas Sarkozy started it in March 2011, and is aimed at deterring the transfer from taxable residences to foreign addresses by taxing capital gains on financial debt for those tax payers leaving France. A tax which can disappear altogether, if a business owner becomes a resident in Belgium to avoid French taxation and waits eight years before selling the business.

MACRON IS PART OF THE ‘PAYING LESS TAX’ GAME

For Emmanuel Macron, this tax on capital gains sends ‘a negative message to entrepreneurs, more so than to investors’, as it signifies that ‘above a certain threshold you will be penalised if you leave France’. Capitalism without a taxable address is a delicate subject for Macron to defend, as he did in a European speech at the Sorbonne in 2017, when he recommended the creation of a Eurozone common fund financed by taxes gained by enterprises. He even initiated a tax on financial transactions, defending a regulation “With a European Prosecutor of commerce in charge of assuring that the rules are respected by our competitors and responding without any delay to any unfairness.” Finished is the idea of "encouraging unity within the whole union by adding criteria that progressively reflect our financial and social models”. Emmanuel Macron is part of the ‘paying less tax’ game, and considers that “It is a serious error for our ‘Start Ups’ because many of them will think of France as a less attractive option. They may then decide to start their projects from zero in a foreign country with the goal of avoiding this tax” added the President, specifying that it be put in place ‘the following year’. “The message which I would like to send to foreign investors is that we are lowering corporate tax, simplifying everything, bringing more flexibility to the working market, accelerating the transformation of the French economy” he adds, during the twenty minute interview. “I will not abandon or decrease my ambition for reform, because there is no other choice”, tosses out Macron, along the lines of Margaret Thatcher’s earlier “There is no alternative.”

“THE PRESIDENT OF THE VERY RICH”

The Exit tax ending in 2019 will not be “particularly beneficial for public finances” according to Macron. With a return of 803 million euros in 2016, according to the counsels figures of obligatory transactions. This evokes the words “an attractive regime”; even if less interesting than Great Britain’s for the highest inheritances, we are not far from one billion euros.

Macron acknowledges the idea of a ‘burden" of taxes weighing on the enterprises because of the ‘high cost of failure’ as “One of the principle problems of the country”. From now on, failing costs nothing, which is the best method to encourage entrepreneurs to launch and to succeed”. Forgetting that the cost of failure is shared with contributions from workers. While promoting his book, Francois Hollande, when asked if the expression ‘President of the rich’ applied to Macron, replied “No it is not true. He is the President of the very rich”. Duly noted.


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