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Is Belgium the next tax haven?

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French actors have long been known for their vocal support of socialist policy, however it appears that the wind is changing.

Gérard Depardieu, already designated a French national treasure, has decided to vote with his esteemed feet and move to Belgium to avoid escalating French taxation.

Belgium residents do not pay taxes and this fact has apparently been noticed by many in the EU who are awaiting the latest financial assault from those who want to take their property after feigning “due process”.

We are reminded of Stalin's approach to this problem. When Soviet Russia needed capital they quickly turned to the landed middle class, Kulaks as they were known at the time. The bookmaker's son and his fellow Marxists reasoned that using “legal action” alone would require a long time to complete confiscation of middle class lands, so they quickly hit on extermination as a more expedient alternative. The actor in question is not exactly a Kulak, but perhaps you get the idea. It's the process of rapacious divestment that is important. Everything else falls into the category of details that can be worked out.

Stalin also imposed the Soviet system of land management known as collectivization. This resulted in the seizure of all privately owned farmlands and livestock, in a country where 80 percent of the people were traditional village farmers. Among those farmers, were a class of people called Kulaks by the Communists. They were formerly wealthy farmers that had owned 24 or more acres, or had employed farm workers. Stalin believed any future insurrection would be led by the Kulaks, thus he proclaimed a policy aimed at "liquidating the Kulaks as a class."

Declared "enemies of the people," the Kulaks were left homeless and without a single possession as everything was taken from them, even their pots and pans. It was also forbidden by law for anyone to aid dispossessed Kulak families. Some researchers estimate that ten million persons were thrown out of their homes, put on railroad box cars and deported to "special settlements" in the wilderness of Siberia during this era, with up to a third of them perishing amid the frigid living conditions. Men and older boys, along with childless women and unmarried girls, also became slave-workers in Soviet-run mines and big industrial projects.”

Our comparison is not intended to imply that France or any other otherwise benevolent EU state (actually they are now semi-states beneath the EU banner, aren't they?) would replay the old Soviet confiscation ploy, but perhaps our readers can draw their own conclusions.

If an individual slips through the taxation net he may or may not be noticed and hammered back into line, but if a class (wealthy) begins to exercise its mobility options, we can be sure that steps will be taken to close those exits. What steps those might be is yet to be determined, but we can already smell the smoke from outraged French bureaucrats who see their wealth transfer scheme wilting before their eyes.

We are confident that actors and celebrities of the world will rise up in righteous indignation to condemn M. Depardieu. Perhaps even now, a place in a reeducation camp is being prepared for him.

He will be converted soon, we are sure of it.

(PS - do any American actors have chateaus in that lovely land?)



Those darned Belgium loopholes

Belgian residents do not pay wealth tax, which in France is now slapped on individuals with assets over 1.3 million euros, nor do they pay capital gains tax on the sale of shares.

Depardieu thus joins other famous French tax refugees such as "French Elvis" Johnny Hallyday in leaving his homeland for countries with less punitive rates.


Thursday's incident was one of several encounters with the law for Depardieu. He grabbed headlines when he urinated in the aisle of a plane before takeoff on a Paris to Dublin flight. He was removed from the aircraft.

In 1998, he crashed his motorcycle when his blood-alcohol limit was five times over the legal level, escaping with leg and face injuries.

 Several French reactions

In reaction to the departure of France’s most famous and best-paid actor, Jean-François Copé, head of the conservative opposition UMP party, said he would not judge Depardieu, warning that France risked losing its fortunes “permanently” if it did not adopt tax rates on par with neighbouring European countries.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, a leading figure in the ruling Socialist Party, said he knew the actor personally and criticised him for failing to act with his customary generosity – toward the French state, at least.

Nathalie Arthaud, the spokeswoman for France’s far-left Worker’s Struggle party, said she thought it was fine for the super-wealthy like Depardieu to pay more. “We need a law against tax evasion to force the rich to pay their due,” she said.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 20:31

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