This started out as a comment on Ken Broadhurst's post, in which he remarked on French taxes.
Ken said there was talk of eliminating the income tax here. I hadn't heard of a move to eliminate the income tax. There's been a move to remove the yearly estate tax and it's going to be altered this year so that households of over €1.3 million are at the low end rather than €750,000. The old minimum took in too many not so rich people who lived in places where home prices are up there. Just owning your home made you rich. And there has been talk of a super tax on super salaries, but they haven't defined "super" yet. This reminds me that I should start our French declaration. The French declaration is very simple; most of it is pre-filled so I just need to add US dividend and interest income (for calculation of the tax base). We don't have to do any of the calculations; their computers do it for you and you get the final notification in the fall and finish paying it off or get a refund. After doing the US declaration, this is a breeze.
The VAT (value added tax) is the biggest income producer for the country. Some say it's unfair because everyone has to buy things, so the poor are taxed more heavily in proportion to what they can afford; they spend more of their income. In Pennsylvania, where I'm from, food and clothing were not included in sales tax (don't know if that's still the case), to address that problem. Here, no. The VAT is about 20% and it's included in the price tag. So if a printer costs €100, that TTC (Toute taxe comprise) and that is what you pay. When you are comparing prices, it's useful to take that into consideration. If a printer costs $75 and you have to add 6, 7, or 8%, depending on where you live in Pennsylvania, then in the end that printer might actually be less expensive in France. That is just a hypothetical situation; whenever I really calculate, it's almost always cheaper in the US, even when the dollar is stronger.
Energy has extra taxes, so that our liter of gas is an enormous amount of tax for very little actual cost of the stuff. At our current €/$ rate, it's about $2.25 per liter (*4 brings you up to about $9 per gallon!) I almost laugh when US friends complain about the price of gas there.
What else is new? AARO had its annual general meeting at the Tallyrand building on rue St. Florentin. We had an excellent speaker,