We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Thanks Sarko, but no thanks

Well, that appears to be the reaction so far of wealthy French ex-pats who have turned away from the land of Moliere and fine wine for other climes in order to flee the French taxman. New president Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to cut, or at least change, some of the more crushing taxes on wealthy people to lure them back to France. If he wants to revive the French economy, this has to make sense. An even more obvious policy would be a dramatic tax cut across the board, in a flat tax fashion, with the overall burden sharply reduced. (Waiting for hell to freeze over? Ed).

The effects of French hostility to the rich, or least les nouveaux riches, is pretty obvious here in Britain. The areas around Chelsea, South Kensington and Knightsbridge are full of young French people who work in the capital, such as in the Canary Wharf financial district. A number of big banks, with their fancy derivatives trading platforms, operate out of London and French education still churns out the sort of highly qualified maths graduates who work in sectors like hedge funds and futures markets. I don’t know the exact figures – who does? – but I have read that upwards of around 350,000 French people live in London today.

I remember a while back that the French model and occasional actress, Laetitia Casta, left France after shortly having been chosen as the model for the French revolutionary heroine, Marianne. She apparently quit the nation for tax reasons, although she also denied that as her reason, according to the Wikipedia entry linked to here.

Of course, there is no excuse whatever for Brits to guffaw about this. Lots of Britons quit these shores every year for nations like Canada and New Zealand, where the taxes are are sometimes lower and the opportunities for raising a family etc appear more easy. As one senior lawyer told me this morning, the best advice to any rich person these days is to try and head for Switzerland. Britain may be, temporarily, a haven for some City pros like the private equity bosses, but for how long?

15 comments to Thanks Sarko, but no thanks

  • tranio

    Come to Canada. We have no estate taxes. Your prime house is not taxed on its capital appreciation. Mind you second properties will be taxed on their increase in value. All shares are deemed sold on death except when they pass across to a spouse. 50% of any capital gains are added to taxable income.

    How does Britain tolerate the 300,000 pound estate limit for death duty?

  • WalterBoswell

    Bulgaria just introduced a flat tax of 10%, Bulgaria anyone, anyone?

  • Kim du Toit

    People going from France to Britain to escape high taxes is like people leaving New York for Johannesburg to escape the high murder rate.

  • guy herbert

    Depends on your circumstances, KdT. Britain’s tax regime is quite friendly to wealthy resident but non-domiciled individuals. It is brutal if you are poor and/or don’t have an accountant.

  • Dan

    All heavy tax systems, whether French or British, have their loopholes. The key is to find proper advice to find them. Good tax accountants are expensive but definitely worth it.

  • Frederick Davies


    Any recomendations?

  • nick g.

    Why not just have someone ghost-write a novel for you, and then move to Ireland? Don’t they still give writers zero taxes?

  • Nick M

    I think Oscar Schindler put it best – have a forgiving priest and a clever accountant. I’m agnostic so I only need the later.

    Bulgaria, eh? I dunno. I’d certainly consider Romania. I knew a load of Romanians at Leeds Uni and they were good lads and cracking mathematicians. They had their own 5-aside team – Steau Maths and they were bloody assassins.

    In fact I have my eye on a little medieval heap in Targoviste. I’d get a coupla Tesla coils in and an Igor and work on the laugh.

    Mad, mad! You call me mad when I alone know the secret of life!

    But I’ll probably stick with fixing computers in South Manchester. Bugger. I can’t even face black pudding let alone drinking the still warm blood of virgins.

  • Counting Cats

    let alone drinking the still warm blood of virgins

    Don’t know about drinking their blood, but nibbling on them sounds like fun.

  • WalterBoswell

    nick g. said: Why not just have someone ghost-write a novel for you, and then move to Ireland? Don’t they still give writers zero taxes?

    No sure, used to be, probably not so friendly towards writers now. I know Bono and clan have relocated to Holland due to the ending of the artist friendly tax system. If you design stamps and use oil as a medium you still can avail of zero tax but good luck raising a family on that income.

  • Nick M

    Counting Cats,
    That is pushing it way to far, even for an Australian and that’s spoken by a fellow in the northern Hemisphere (where we obey Corioli’s Force) who is currently listening to Kylie.

    In general, what is the thing with virgins? I like my sexual partners like I like my Whisky – at least 18 years old and somewhat experienced.

    But nibbling! Jesus Horatio Christ with a hybrid powered stealth jet-pack! Licking virgins I could put up with but nibbling!

    I have done many things to virgins but nibbling is beyond the pale.

    Lordy, I’m sounding just as flithy now! I sincerely hope Paul Marks doesn’t come across this thread because it would kill him stone-dead.

  • Counting Cats


    Ok, ok, I give up. You are right.

    I don’t see much value in virgins either. A bit (a lot?) of experience on both parties tends to make the evening a great deal more fun. I suppose I tend to associate a desire for virgin (read ignorant and inexperienced) females with men who otherwise would have to be satisfied with the family camel.

  • Paul Marks

    I believe that Ireland now taxes the income of writers (I wish it did not).

    As for some of the other parts of the thread, my attitude is much the same as when I come upon odd shows late at night on television “what are these strange looking young people doing?” – and then moving on.

    It all looks too much like hard work to me.

  • A.B.

    Why, what a coincidence I happen to be a young french guy working in a hedge fund with fancy derivatives and futures. I live in New-York though.

    Recently, the French Minister of Economy, Christine Lagarde was talking to a similar audience and pleaded for expats to return home, claiming that it was better than the friday Eurostar or escaping to the Hamptons. In her speach she insisted that the tax shield was going to move:

    No one will pay more than 50% of income tax in France! This mean no one will be able to claim France is stealing its citizen anymore.

    Yes, very creepy.

  • Nick M

    Counting Cats,

    The camel if you’re lucky. Most likely the goat.

    Within the English speaking (and otherwise relatively civilized world) we have created the phenomenon of situational homosexuality within single sex schools and prisons (especially prisons).

    And I couldn’t give a toss over this because I was co-ed from five and have never done anything bad enough to land in chokey. And in any case I couldn’t give a monkey’s chuff what consenting adults do in private.

    But when an entire society segregates male and female to the extent we have in Saudi Arabia or Iran I do have a problem. Especially because the end result is “situational homosexuality” by people who almost all are not naturally (or even by choice) gay. That’s got to be warping. Especially considering that the punishment (if caught) is stoning or hanging (and we’re not talking Albert Pierrepoint long drop here – we’re talking about hoisting from a crane before a baying crowd.

    And this is for giving another lad a hand-job. I hope they’re fucking proud of themselves because I’m not proud of them.

    Perhaps if they had been allowed to mix with girls and (shock, horror!) do “stuff” with them then this calamity wouldn’t happen. Clearly it is a calamity – I mean it has to be pretty bad to strangle a kid from a crane. If the offence isn’t real serious then it is simple cruelty isn’t it?

    Or is it? Well it will be a cold day in hell before I condemn the assorted homosexuals I know to the pit of Hades. Because quite simply I would much rather they engaged in bum sex with sexually experienced partners than blew themselves up on UK public transport (where I might be).

    Or in short, I’d much rather know a gay man (or woman) than have a leg blown off. And I would also much rather live in a free state that allowed sexuality to blossom in all it’s many forms. It’s bloody obvious but quite simply no gay lad is going to try and shag my missus. And, indeed, will probably not attempt to blow my leg off.

    I actually wish suicide bombers success (sort of). I do hope they off themselves and spend the rest of eternity with sexually inexperienced girls. I hope they spend the next 10,000 years saying, “No, not like that, like this” to the whole flock of 72 virgins. I think it would be suitable.

    I am also aware that if the standard suicide waistcoat goes off then your dick is going to be very clearly blown off so I put to the Samizdatistas the very simply question – what’ya gonna do?

    The Koran and the Hadith is almost entirely bunk but where do the 72 Virgins come from. Given birth rates and such I very much doubt there are 72 virgins for even every Muslim man. And I assume they have to be real women who never had sex. That’s a hell of a lot of virgins. Certainly for Manchester. So does Allah make automota or what?