Taxing Times in Ligue 1
By Will Giles
When François Hollande won the French presidential election in May 2012, it marked the first time in 20 years that the increasingly right-leaning country had voted for a left-wing leader. However, for a president seeking to reduce the gap between the wealthy and the not-so wealthy, Hollande’s plans are certainly threatening to compound the economic inequality in France’s premier domestic league.
One of the key policies in the socialist’s manifesto was a 75% tax on annual earnings above one million euros (£850,000), and it was one that struck a chord with a public frustrated by Nicolas Sarkozy and his tax breaks for the rich.
Seven months after Hollande’s election, however, his flagship ‘supertax’ was deemed unconstitutional in court. Having championed it so fervently during campaigning, it came as no surprise that Hollande opted to revive the tax, reworking it as opposed to discarding it.
The restructured legislation will, if passed, take responsibility away from the individual and place it with the employer, making companies pay the 75% tax rate on their employees’ earnings. Despite retaining its popularity in public opinion polls, Hollande’s amended supertax has unsurprisingly drawn criticism from the larger corporations, with some of the strongest displeasure coming from France’s leading football clubs.