It turns out Gerard Depardieu, a man so French he has an actual baguette for a nose and sighs snails when he gets huffy, is no longer even a French resident. He now lives just across the border in Belgium, and even more surprising, he wasn’t lured there by a pretty lady cat who got some paint spilled on her. No, it was zee taxes. Or more accurately, zee lack zair of.
French star Gerard Depardieu has upped the ante in his tax battle with the government of French President Francois Hollande, threatening to hand back his French passport in protest.
In an open letter to President Hollande and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault published Sunday in Le Journal du Dimanche, the Oscar-nominated actor said he was “insulted” by government attacks on his decision to move to a town in Belgium just across the French border in an apparent attempt to avoid paying higher French taxes.
Depardieu’s move comes in response to a new 75 percent tax on the wealthy introduced by Hollande’s left-leaning government. The new tax rate, which comes in next year, will tax all income above $1.3 million (€1 million) at the new 75 percent rate. Across the border in Belgium, there is no wealth tax and capital gains on stock sales are also tax-free.
Depardieu’s move to the small Belgian town of Nechin, within walking distance of the French border, has been roundly criticized in the French media. Prime Minister Ayrault called his decision to move “shabby,” “pathetic” and unpatriotic at a time of austerity programs. [THR]
Unpatriotic? No, I think you just failed to find that perfect balance of “not quite enough to force people across the border” for which all taxes strive. In any case, this argument is much more interesting if you imagine them both as the French knights in Monty Python, making faces at each other across the street from different castles.