The Departure of Depardieu

28 / 02 / 2014 | S.A. Degueurce

Gerard Depardieu, the greatest French actor and also a film and theatre producer, a businessman and a winemaker, complains of tax in France. He asserts that he paid 145 million euros in taxes to the state over the past 45 years. In France, he paid 85% of his income in taxes in 2012, while in Belgium the income tax is very high but still less than in France – it amounts to 52.7% of a taxpayer’s income. If Gerard Depardieu settled down in Belgium, it’s because he is going to pay less tax.

The departure of Mr. Depardieu quickly became a sensitive topic. On EUROPE 1 and RTL radio stations, he announced that he has an address at Estaimpuis, a Belgian village close to the French border. There are no less than 27% of French people in the village who are attracted by the pastoral setting and the sweet taxation of the country.

After his announcement, the actor became the target of much criticism by renowned personalities. For instance, the Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on TV that he considers this act as “rather shabby”. Mr. Depardieu felt insulted and explained this feeling in an open letter to the Prime Minister in the Journal Du Dimanche on Sunday, 16th December. In that letter, he took up the word “shabby”, saying that he did not ask to be approved but to be respected. Mr. Ayrauld then clarified what he had previously said on television and explained that he had used the word “shabby” to describe the act but not Mr. Depardieu himself. Moreover, Mr Depardieu announced that he would surrender his French passport and his social security card and that he had already taken steps to take the Belgian nationality, which was confirmed by Daniel Senesael, the Mayor of Estaimpuis, Mr. Depardieu’s city host.

After the departure of the comedian, many French celebrities such as Michel Sardou or Line Renaud expressed their disagreement in the media. However, others expressed their agreement such as Jamel Debouze, the film director Josée Dayant or Patrick Bruel.

Vladimir Poutine recently granted the Russian citizenship to the French actor. Mr. Depardieu revealed at a dinner with friends that the Russian president would be delighted to welcome him to his country. Therefore, Mr. Depardieu took the Russian nationality.

Eulalie B., 1S1.