Wealthy French fleeing the country, new data suggests

by Ray Clancy on August 10, 2015

An increasing number of French people are leaving to work and live overseas, especially those who earn €100,000 or more a year, new data shows, with high taxes regarded as the main reason.

Data from the national tax office shows that 3,744 people earning over this figure left France in 2013, a 40% increase compared with the previous year and this has given rise to concern about a wealth drain.

Taxation and life in FranceCommentators are also expressing worries about the figures also showing that 659 people who earned €300,000 or more annually also left, a 46% rise on 2012. They say it is a concern at a time when France is still trying to revive its economy.

They point out that taxes and social security contributions accounted for 45% of GDP in 2013, the second highest rate among the OECD group of rich nations. Only Denmark has a higher rate at 48.6%.

President François Hollande has promised in his election campaign to introduce a new tax rate of 75% for those earning over €1 million but there was such an outcry that he backed down from this, but he has still increased taxes.

While the UK is popular with the French, indeed there are around 300,000 French expats living in the country, many in London where South Kensington is known as Little France and has a French Lycee and shops selling authentic baguettes and patisserie, it would seem that those seeking a better tax regime are looking at different countries.

Indeed, the figures show that the number of French moving to Portugal, for example, tripled between 2010 and 2013, which is believed to be down to the country’s fiscal advantages.

It is estimated that overall the number of French people living abroad is now 2.5 million. Lack of jobs and concerns about a tougher tax regime ahead are among the most often cited reasons given by expats and would-be expats.

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