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France's 75 per cent tax rate on rich struck down

Published on Dec 30, 2012 6:06 AM
A file picture taken on Feb 21, 2012 shows the French Conseil Constitutionnel (Constitutional council) frontdoor in Paris. The Constitutional Council decided on Dec 29, 2012 to censor the 75 per cent tax in the Finance Bill 2013, following a press release sent by the institution. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France's top constitutional body on Saturday struck down a 75-per cent upper income tax rate, dealing a major blow to Socialist President Francois Hollande, who had made it his centrepiece tax measure.

The government vowed to push ahead with the tax rate, which would apply to incomes over a million euros (S$1.6 million) a year, and propose a new measure that would conform with the constitution.

The tax rate had angered business leaders and prompted some wealthy French citizens to seek tax exile abroad, including actor Gerard Depardieu who recently took up residency in Belgium.

The Constitutional Council said in its ruling that the temporary two-year tax rate, due to take effect next year, was unconstitutional because unlike other forms of income tax it applied to individuals instead of whole households. As a result, the council said, the tax rate "failed to recognise equality before public burdens".

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