The Most Highly Taxed OECD Economy, 2.5 Million French Don’t Declare Income

A change office staff shows euros on his hand on December 2, 2016 in Istanbul. Turks have over the past three months nervously watched the steady decline in value of the Turkish lira against the dollar, seeing it haemorrhage more than 10 percent in the past month alone. / AFP …
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A report from the Employment Orientation Council has claimed that as many as 2.5 million French work ‘under the table’.

The report examined various sets of data including national statistics, tax data, and other labour data and found that around five per cent of those workers over 18 were not declaring their work to the government and that it accounted for two to three percent of all payrolls paid in the country, Ouest France reports.

Young people are the most prevalent in not declaring their income according to the report along with “older people who are looking for additional income” to a lesser extent.

While self-employed, unemployed, and those doing temporary work are the most frequent to work under the table, the industries with the most workers doing undeclared work were “the hotel and catering industry, food retail, building and civil engineering, security, but also agriculture and personal services.”

To combat the phenomenon, the report emphasises education and advocates for a “more positive” campaign to focus on the benefits of declaring work to the government. The report also calls for stronger punitive measures against offenders such as higher penalties as a deterrent.

Taxes have been one of the major issues for the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) protest movement with the weekly protests, which reached their fifteenth week over the weekend, initially focusing on a tax hike on the cost of diesel.

France was also, according to the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD), the most taxed developed country in the world with tax revenue reaching 46.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), taking the top spot from Denmark.

In an effort to appease the Yellow Vests and others who have complained about the country’s massive tax rates, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to make overtime work tax-free along with raising the country’s minimum wage.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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