Published Tuesday, December 21, a note from the Economic Analysis Council (CAE) on inheritance in France advocates overhauling French inheritance taxation, which strongly reinforces “Wealth inequalities based on birth and the magnitude of which is much greater than [celles] observed for labor income “.
” Theoretically progressive, but mitigated by powerful tax exemption and exemption systems », Explains economist Camille Landais, co-author of the note *, the current taxation of donations and inheritances would favor the most fortunate and would allow around 35 to 40% of the inheritance transmitted in France to escape any form of tax, according to CAE estimates.
Four main mechanisms make it possible to reduce the taxation of transferred assets: professional property (within the framework of the Dutreil pact), life insurance, the regime of the dismemberment of property as well as the non-taxation of unrealized capital gains.
Costly exemptions for the state
These tax optimization levers are used ” very aggressively »By the richest households, and in particular by the “Top 0.1%” (around 3,000 to 3,500 households), which “Pays only 10% inheritance tax on all of the inherited property, far from the marginal rate of 45% displayed by the scale above 1.8 million euros transmitted directly”, explains the CAE.
The note provides for the first time an estimate of their fiscal cost for public finances: around € 2 billion each year for donations in bare ownership with reserve of usufruct (dismemberment), from € 2 to € 3 billion for the Dutreil system , and € 5 billion for life insurance.
Onerous and unequal, the taxation of inheritance rights must all the more be reconsidered as the share of inheritance in the heritage of the French has become the majority (increased from 35% to 60% in fifty years), and that this heritage inherited is extremely unevenly distributed among households. Its impact on equal opportunities has become decisive.
Increase the “effective” taxation of the top 0.1%
The CAE proposes to re-found it by calculating the inheritance tax no longer on the amount of a transmission, but on the basis of all the inheritance flows perceived by an individual throughout his life. A system adopted for example in Ireland, and also defended by the Tirol-Blanchard commission or the OECD.
An in-depth reform of the tax base and scale could also make it possible to reduce or not increase the inheritance tax of 99% of French people while generating 12 billion euros in additional tax revenue, shows the one of the CAE scenarios.
” The current concentration of wealth is so strong that by applying an “effective” tax rate of almost 40% to the top 0.1%, it would be possible to save tax revenue and reduce the inheritance tax of all the others. households’, underlines one of the authors of the CAE.
“Guaranteed capital for all”
The revenues collected would make it possible to finance, in particular, the establishment of ” guaranteed capital for all »To reduce wealth inequalities and increase equality of opportunity.
This capital, which would be paid to each French person at the age of 18 or 25, could rise from € 10,000 to € 40,000. “Of course, the inequalities are so strong and their problematic complex, this capital for all would solve only part of the problem », Explains Camille Landais. ” It’s a reform of equal opportunities, but it will take more “.
* “Rethinking heritage”, Clément Dherbécourt, Gabrielle Fack, Camille Landais and Stefanie Stantcheva, CAE note n ° 69, December 2021.