France says 75 per cent tax will apply to footballers

by Henry Samuel, The Telegraph  |  published on April 4, 2013

The supertax, a key electoral promise, has already sent several Gallic public figures, including Gérard Depardieu, the actor, running for fiscal cover.

The levy, which looked like it was going to be shelved, was revived last week by the Socialist president, who stipulated that companies, not individuals, will now foot the bill. But his television announcement left hanging the question of whether self-employed artists and athletes would be taxed, or whether a football team was regarded as a company.

Yesterday, the head of the French Football Federation, Noël Le Graët, told Le Parisien newspaper that he had received assurances that the tax would not apply to football clubs.

“The prime minister, to whom I have already asked the question, was clear: only large companies will be taxed. And professional clubs are considered as small and medium-sized businesses, so they will not be affected by the 75 per cent tax,” he said. But hours later the government contradicted his claims.

“The new system will apply to all businesses that pay salaries of more than €1  million [£850,000],” said the office of Jean-Marc Ayrault, the prime minister, which includes football clubs. The government added that it had not spoken to Mr Le Graët “since December”.

Fleur Pellerin, the minister for small industries, said: “Football clubs are a bit above the revenue that one would use to define a small business.” But she added that “non-salaried artists and non-salaried athletes won’t be affected”.

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