TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Sunday, December 30, 2012

French Court: 75% Tax Rate on Millionaires Is Unconstitutional

New York Times:  French Council Strikes Down 75% Tax Rate:

France’s Constitutional Council on Saturday struck down the Socialist government’s plan to impose a 75 percent marginal income tax rate on the wealthy, a measure that figured prominently among the campaign promises of President François Hollande and that had become a divisive emblem of his approach to cutting the budget deficit.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault quickly pledged that the government would reintroduce a revised version of the tax for next year to address the criticisms of the Constitutional Council, which ruled that the measure did not tax affected households equally.

The 75 percent rate was always a symbolic political gesture, as Mr. Hollande himself has acknowledged. It was to expire in two years and would have applied only to annual income above 1 million euros, or about $1.3 million, and so would have affected no more than a few thousand taxpayers.

Tax revenues from the measure would have reached just a few hundred million dollars, little more than a bucket of water in France’s deficit sea; the budget deficit is about $112 billion this year.

(Hat Tip: Mike Talbert.)

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Very interesting, especially as the Italian constitutional court held a tax that DID take a spouse's income into account unconstitutional as a violation of the right to be taxed on one's own ability to pay (capacita' contributiva). The conseil in France was supposed to have limited jurisdiction and concern itself primarily with boundary disputes between the branches of government. Obviously, it hasn't turned out that way.

Posted by: michael livingston | Dec 30, 2012 3:45:57 AM