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Good luck to Gerard Depardieu with his Russian Citizenship

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French (and now Russian) film star Gerard Depardieu seems more angry at being called pathetic by the government of Francois Hollande, than about the extortionate rate of income tax they sought to levy on him.

Depardieu says, “I was born in 1948. I started working aged 14, as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as an actor, and I’ve always paid my taxes.”  He has paid over €145million euros in total tax over the years, and employs 80 people. Last year he paid taxes at 85%. He adds, “I am neither worthy of pity nor admirable, but I shall not be called ‘pathetic”.

Movement across frontiers has long been a traditional way to escape oppression, and it is only the mobility of its citizens that restrains the rapacity of politicians. It is not yet known if Depardieu will choose to pay Russian taxes (at a flat rate of 13%), or maybe opt to pay them in Switzerland. But it looks increasing unlikely that he will pay them in France. Those who advocate higher taxation of high earners take note. It can only be a matter of time before one of the high tax lobby publishes a suggestion that high earners be prevented from leaving the country.  Maybe a wall…?

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