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France plans to force heads of big firms to be tax resident

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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. Phloto: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. Phloto: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

REUTERS

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. Phloto: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The French government is planning to force the chairs and chief executives of big companies headquartered in the country to pay their personal taxes there, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said.

"We will reinforce the rules of fiscal residency, we will do it through a law," Mr Le Maire said in a radio interview with France Inter yesterday. "There will be an obligation to be a fiscal resident in France when you are at the head of a big French company."

In his interview, he said legislation he'll propose in "the coming months" will target large companies including those listed in the main Paris stock exchange and companies where the government holds stakes.

Whether France can introduce legislation barring residents of neighbouring European Union member states holding top jobs remains to be seen.

However, an anti-elite backlash by so-called Yellow Vest protesters against a proposed fuel tax has piled pressure on President Emmanuel Macron's government to prove it is not out of touch with ordinary voters.

The move also follows reports that Carlos Ghosn, controversial former CEO of French carmaker Renault, and ex-chairman of Nissan, has not been tax domicile in France since 2012.

Earlier this month French newspaper 'Liberation' reported that Mr Ghosn had been tax resident in the Netherlands, which - unlike France - has no wealth tax.

After his dramatic arrest last year Mr Ghosn has been charged in Japan with under-reporting income, which he denies.

French resident high earners pay PAYE at a rate of 45pc on worldwide earnings over €156,244.

They are also liable for wealth tax, which ranges from 0.5pc on global assets worth more than €800,000 to 1.5pc on assets over €10m.

Irish Independent