Before being ousted by the 20 hours of TF1, devoted to the war in Ukraine, the debate promised to be the hottest of the presidential campaign. Monday, March 14, Salle Pleyel in Paris, the representatives of six of the main candidates for the election clashed over the delicate question of the taxation of inheritance.
At the borders of the private, the societal, and social justice, inheritance taxation has taken a special place in the public debate, some defending its pure and simple abolition, in the name of freedom of transmission, others claiming on the contrary, making it heavier, in the name of equal opportunity.
Emmanuel Macron will not increase inheritance tax
Invited by the French Association of Savings and Retirement (Afer), the candidates specified their program. Eagerly awaited on this subject, Emmanuel Macron let it be known, through the voice of Laurent Saint-Martin, his campaign treasurer, that he would not touch the inheritance tax. ” When we lowered taxes for five years, it was not to raise them later. There will be no increase in inheritance tax, there will even be relief “, announced the LREM deputy from Val-de-Marne.
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According to The echoes, Emmanuel Macron will not shorten the time between two tax-free donations, but he could increase the level of tax relief, and favor indirect line inheritance, which is currently the most taxed (up to 55%). ” Only certainty, there will be no major upheaval in the system “, assured Laurent Saint-Martin, referring to the publication of the program this Thursday.
The majority of applicants for relief
For five years, the president has dithered on this question of inheritance, which economists assure that it plays a central role in the widening of inequalities. But while inheritance tax is considered the most unpopular in France, even ahead of the fuel tax, the majority of candidates have therefore ended up favoring the path of relief.
By raising the allowance on inheritances from 100,000 to 200,000 euros, Valérie Pécresse plans to exempt 95% of inheritances, and to facilitate donations between generations. Ditto for Éric Zemmour, who is considering an exemption of up to €200,000 every ten years for donations from parents and grandparents. As for Marine Le Pen, she plans to create a real estate franchise of €300,000 for the benefit of the main residence.
EELV and LFI for an in-depth reform
At the other end of the spectrum, the representatives of France Insoumise (LFI) and Europe-Écologie-les-Verts (EELV), were the only ones to defend the increase in inheritance tax. ” If we no longer want to live in this society of heirs, in which there is no longer any social mobility, we must thoroughly reform the system “, thus defended Guillaume Duval, for Yannick Jadot, before specifying however that he would maintain an exemption for inheritances lower than 200,000 €.
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Like EELV, France Insoumise pleads for a total overhaul of inheritance tax, by no longer taxing each donation or inheritance separately, but by setting up a count throughout life, with a greater progressiveness of rates . For Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the inheritance tax will also be totally confiscatory beyond 12 million euros.
” Today, the headline tax rate in France is one of the highest in OECD countries, but in the end large inheritances are very lightly taxed, because they benefit from successive tax relief mechanisms, and many tax loopholes, foremost among which is life insurance, which partly comes out of the calculations of the estate base “Recalls Clément Dherbecourt, co-author of a note from the Economic Analysis Council on the subject.
The 2,000 small savers who had come to the Salle Pleyel were therefore relieved to learn that apart from Yannick Jadot, none of the presidential candidates planned to reform the taxation of life insurance. “ What next ? There’s no question of touching half a hair of life insurance “, notably overplayed Xavier Bertrand, who came to represent Valérie Pécresse. Enough to give a smile to Gérard Bekerman, the indestructible president of Afer, who declared himself ” happy of his evening.