This long-debated concept by policy makers and economists is coming back. That is because the Government believes that prosperity cannot be recovered without a strict “austerity policy”. But it actually means higher taxes only. Yet, the latest concerns of the French National Assembly on a substantial fall of tax revenues for 2013 raise the question again: has France reached the top of Laffer’s curve?
Advocates of redistribution often reckon that soaking the rich would eliminate poverty. Consider the following: the 10 largest fortunes in France amount to 14 per cent of GDP, or 272 billion euros. If we imagine a one-off redistribution of this wealth to the 8.2 officially poor, the sum awarded to each would be some 33,000 euros. Not bad, but certainly not enough to retire on.
The first of February marks another harsh date for French real estate owners. From this day there are new taxation rules on capital gains realized with the sale of a second home or a land. While previously the capital gains were exonerated if the real estate is owned since more than 15 years, now this delay has been increased to 30 years. The tax on capital gains thus reaches 19% if the property is sold during the five first years after acquisition and the rate is progressively decreasing the following 25 years. One has to add to those taxes the social contributions.