France Poised To Levy World's Highest Income Tax, Exceeding The Following Nations' Rates

on September 28 2012 12:32 PM
    France's top income earners could see their income tax burden rise to 75 percent, which means as many as 30,000 French households could end up in the world's highest personal income tax rate. Photo of Paris / Creative Commons
    Aruba might be one of those Caribbean tax-haven countries that allows corporations to park themselves offshore, but the breaks it gives to corporations means it draws revenue largely from individual income tax. The tax rate kicks in on annual personal incomes above $171,149. Photo of Palm Beach, Aruba by Atilin / Creative Commons
    In a region of the world where many of the highest personal income tax rates are clustered (as well as some of the most generous social benefits) Sweden is the highest in this club. On top of this income tax there is a value-added consumption tax of 25 percent, with some exceptions, according to the country’s tax agency, known as Skatteverket. The top-tier income tax rate applies to annual income above $85,451. Photo of Port of Stockholm by Condor Patagonico / Creative Commons
    Like its neighbor across the narrow Katteget Sea, Denmark has a typically Nordic sensibility when it comes to a strong social safety net funded by hefty income and consumption taxes. Its top individual income tax rate applies to income lower than Sweden’s: $70,633. Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen by Celesteh / Creative Commons
    The land of windmills, bicycles and legal marijuana was ranked the fourth most expensive place to be rich in 2011, according to KPMG. While it has a high individual tax rate it’s known for having some of the most ideal corporate tax rates in the EU, along with Ireland. The top personal income tax bracket applies to annual income over $70,090. Dutch tulips / Creative Commons
    Belgium is surrounded by countries who levy the highest income tax rates in the world, so it should be no surprise that it’s also an expensive place to earn an income -- in return for lower burdens on corporations and generous social benefits. It shares fifth place with Austria, Japan and the UK, but out of the four its 50-percent tax rate kicks in at the lowest annual personal income rate: $45,037. Belgian waffle image by Ralph Daily / Creative Commons
    Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands . . . see a pattern here? Northern Europe is clearly the most income-taxed region in the world, ascribing to a general economic theory that personal income and consumption – rather than corporate activities – should bear the greatest burden for funding some of the most advanced infrastructure and generous social benefits. Finland’s top-tier income tax rate applies to income over $87,222. Cafe Regatta near Helsinki's Sibelius Park by Axilera / Creative Commons
    Prior to the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, Ireland was hailed as an economic miracle. Today, it’s reeling like the rest of Europe with high unemployment and a sluggish economy. Like The Netherlands, Ireland has some of the most attractive corporate tax policies in the EU, but the country has the tenth highest top income tax rate in the world. It applies to income above $40,696. Shamrock photo by graymalkn at / Creative Commons
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France’s recently elected socialist president, Francois Hollande, is pushing to raise France’s top income tax rate from 48 percent to 75 percent. If Parliament approves the measure, France’s proverbial one-percenters (estimated by the New York Times to be between 7,000 and 30,000 households) would be subjected to the world’s top income tax bracket. This would launch France from tenth place to first place, according to auditing firm KPMG, based on 2012 estimates. Here is a list of the other top taxers.Caveat: In much the same way Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney managed to avoid the 35 percent marginal income tax rate, whittling his burden down to 15.4 percent last year (and even lower in previous years) through legal accounting and wealth management practices, top income tax rates are rarely what the world’s richest actually pay.

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