Twenty-five years in tax law and there has not been a single year in which I have not heard of an income tax increase or decrease, proposals for reforms supposedly aimed at making income taxes fairer or more efficient.
Firstly, let's put an end to a much too widespread idea: the French are not the worst off in terms of income taxes if one takes into account taxes paid per household, the low rates for modest incomes and tax reductions.
However, everyone says there are gaping holes in income taxes: the notorious tax shelters.
Here again, let's put an end to this common misconception: these notorious tax shelters were capped at €10,000 [€18,000, taking into account the tax breaks for investments in overseas départements and territories ("DOM-TOMs")]. Above all, who would want to eliminate these reductions? Does anyone claim they do not help the economy? Some of the main illustrations of this are jobs in in-home-help services, investments in SMSEs and purchases of housing units to be rented out under rent-control laws.
And if we had to eliminate the DOM-TOM tax breaks, the State would have to pick up the slack, and with no doubt less efficiently.
On the other hand, the digital revolution carried out by the tax authorities deserves some mention: who does not remember that, no so long ago, we needed a large envelope to send our tax returns with all the necessary proof or that we anxiously awaited the notorious one-third provisional payment to know whether we had enough money in our bank account?
And it is far from complete: the 2016 Finance Bill provides that declaring income online, which has already become common practice, will be the general rule, as will an obligation to pay most income and other taxes due by individuals through direct debit.
Lastly, implementation of tax deductions at source beginning in 2018 once again proves the tax authorities' ability to modernize their methods.