France’s thuggish left-wing government generates another tax exile, and doesn’t seem to happy about it…
The Guardian reports:
Gérard Depardieu has said he is handing back his French passport and social security card, lambasting the French government for punishing "success, creation, talent" in his homeland.
A popular and colourful figure in France, the 63-year-old actor is the latest wealthy Frenchman to seek shelter outside his native country by buying a house just over the border in Belgium in response to tax increases by the Socialist president, François Hollande.
The prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, described Depardieu's behaviour as pathetic and unpatriotic at a time when the French are being asked to pay higher taxes to reduce a bloated national debt.
"Pathetic, you said pathetic? How pathetic is that?" Depardieu said in a letter to the weekly newspaper le Journal du Dimanche.
"I am leaving because you believe that success, creation, talent, anything different must be sanctioned," he said.
…He said he had paid €145m (£120m) in taxes since beginning work as a printer at the age of 14.
The actor's move comes three months after Bernard Arnault, chief executive of the luxury goods giant LVMH and France's richest man, caused uproar by seeking to establish residency in Belgium – a move he said was not for tax reasons.
Belgian residents do not pay wealth tax, which in France is now levied on those with assets over €1.3m. Nor do they pay capital gains tax on share sales.
"We no longer have the same homeland," Depardieu said. "I no longer have any reason to stay here. I will continue to love the French and this public that I have shared so much emotion with."
Hollande is pressing ahead too with plans to impose a 75% supertax on income over €1m.
"Who are you to judge me, I ask you Mr Ayrault, prime minister of Mr Hollande? Despite my excesses, my appetite and my love of life, I remain a free man," Depardieu wrote.
Indeed he does.
But before US readers feel too smug, note the fact that Depardieu, even as a French citizen, can reduce his tax burden by moving out of the country. American citizens—subject, almost uniquely, to worldwide taxation on their income wherever they are—have no such luxury…