Speed Reads

Death and taxes

France is killing its 75 percent 'super tax'

The tax is due to expire at the end of this month, and unsurprisingly, it will not be renewed. Reuters describes the French economy, which has an unemployment rate of over 10 percent, as "sickly," and the hope is that this and other moves will help jumpstart things.

The French tax burden became one of the highest in the world when, in 2012, President Francois Hollande imposed a 75 percent "super tax" on earnings over 1 million euros ($1.2 million).

It was not a particularly popular move. Actor Gerard Depardieu, who made headlines when he took up residency in Russia, was among the wealthy protesters who exiled themselves to more tax-friendly countries. Some fled abroad to Luxembourg, or the UK. Tax lawyer Jean-Philippe Delsol wrote a book on the experience, called Why I Am Going To Leave France. French soccer clubs threatened to strike.

As Reuters puts it, the tax, which Hollande used during his campaign to attract liberal voters and unseat Nicolas Sarkozy, "has been a thorn in his side" ever since its passage. And despite producing an estimated 260 million euros in its first year and 160 million in its second, the tax's proceeds have done little to offset France's 84.7 billion euro budget deficit.

Jorg Stegemann, head of an executive search firm based in France and Germany, told Reuters that the tax "clearly damaged France's reputation and competitiveness."