Should we tax more inheritance to fight against inequalities?


The heritage must be kept apart from national solidarity

Marie-Christine Dalloz

LR deputy of Jura and secretary of the finance committee of the National Assembly

The hardening of the inheritance tax system recommended by the Economic Analysis Committee (CAE) is an aberration. We must never forget that a heritage built up throughout his working life has already passed through the tax sieve via income tax.

The fact of eliminating the allowances regardless of the degree of kinship, in particular the possibility for a parent to give a certain sum to his descendants every fifteen years up to the limit of € 100,000, is absolutely absurd. It is the vocation of parents to help their children or their grandchildren when they can, when they need it most, or quite simply to improve their purchasing power. By removing this, we would undermine the spirit of solidarity and mutual aid which must prevail within a family.

If we listen to the left’s proposals, there should always be more taxes for everyone. In reality, redistribution is ineffective because it is poorly calibrated in France. When we want to help people, we have to put specific indicators. I am firmly convinced that a tiny amount of aid can constitute for some a real social springboard, while for others it maintains a form of dependence.

The ACE report states that it has become “Almost imperative to have the chance to inherit to reach the top of the distribution of living standards” but I am not sure that the objective of the French is to be at the top of the pyramid of wealth. On the other hand, parents and grandparents want to be able to pass on the fruits of their labor.

All the redistributive systems in France are already based on national solidarity. The only tangible element which must remain outside this principle is precisely the inheritance. The heritage that we have built up and that we pass on is not stolen money. We have already gone through the national solidarity box, let’s not add more!

We point to the concentration of wealth in the hands of the ultra-rich, although we don’t know anyone from the top percentile. I understand that those who have nothing to share may find these inequalities shocking. But is it really fair that someone who has saved their whole life, who has invested in a house and succeeded in raising € 30,000 on a home savings plan should have the fruits of their labor confiscated?

I consider that the inheritance tax is already very rigorous and that, on the contrary, it is necessary to remove levels in order to facilitate donations. Our political family is consistent on this position and I am absolutely certain that Valérie Pécresse will carry these measures during the presidential campaign.

Collected by Antoine Oberdorff

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We must act to avoid a society of rentiers

Christine Pires Beaune

PS MP for Puy-de-Dôme, secretary of the finance committee of the National Assembly

Should we tax more inheritance to fight against inequalities?

We must have the courage to open the work of inheritance rights because the heritage takes a growing place in the widening of inequalities. All economic studies show that the concentration of heritage is accelerating. In addition, the share of inherited heritage continues to grow. It represented around 35% of total household wealth in the 1970s and over 60% today.

In forty years, inheritance has therefore taken an inordinate place. If we do nothing to correct the trajectory, we are heading straight for a society of annuitants. This is why we need a reform of inheritance taxes to make them both fairer and more efficient.

The problem, as we know, is that this question remains extremely unpopular. Because we haven’t told the French the truth for forty years. We managed to make them believe that they were going to suffer a confiscatory tax system preventing them from passing on the fruits of their labor to their children. We hear a lot of criticism of the scale with tax rates of up to 45%. But we forget to remember that the average rate actually paid is only 3% and that 65% of inheritances are done without paying any duty.

It is therefore necessary to prepare the reform by demonstrating pedagogy. The idea is obviously not to deprive the children of the family home. Me, I am not shocked at the idea that a child inherits without paying anything of the house of his parents, even if it is worth a little more than 200 000 €. On the other hand, nothing justifies being able to inherit 8 or 10 million euros for a ridiculous tax. The bill I tabled has many more winners than losers. With a system taking into account the sums received throughout life, 90% of inheritances would be without tax rights. Taxation would be increased only for the 2 to 3% of households which have the most important assets and which, with the multiple reduction and exemption mechanisms, do not pay their fair share.

The presidential campaign should be an opportunity to relaunch the debates on this issue. Anne Hidalgo will also bring a proposal for reform of donations and inheritances, with a tax system based on the cumulative sums received over time. But it should be made clear that this reform will not take place without the agreement of the French.

It will take the time necessary to put the numbers on the table to show how bad the current system is. This is the only way to convince that a reform is necessary, not to increase taxes but to restore the equality of opportunities undermined by the widening of the inequalities of inheritance.

Collected by Mathieu Castagnet

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