Before being ousted by the “20 hours” of TF1, devoted to the war in Ukraine, the debate promised to be the hottest of the presidential campaign. Monday, March 14, Salle Pleyel in Paris, the representatives of six of the main candidates for the election clashed on the delicate question of the taxation of inheritance.

At the borders of the private, the societal, and social justice, inheritance taxation has taken a special place in the public debate, some defending its pure and simple abolition, in the name of freedom of transmission, others claiming on the contrary, making it heavier, in the name of equal opportunity.

Emmanuel Macron will not increase inheritance tax

Invited by the French Association of Savings and Retirement (Afer), the candidates specified their program. Eagerly awaited on this subject, Emmanuel Macron let it be known, through the voice of Laurent Saint-Martin, his campaign treasurer, that he would not touch the inheritance tax. “When we lowered taxes for five years, it was not to raise them afterwards. There will be no increase in inheritance tax, there will even be relief”announced the LREM deputy from Val-de-Marne.

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According to The echoesEmmanuel Macron will not shorten the time between two tax-free donations, but he could increase the level of tax relief, and favor indirect line inheritance, which is currently the most taxed (up to 55%). “Only certainty, there will be no major upheaval in the system”assured Laurent Saint-Martin, referring to the publication of the program this Thursday.

The majority of applicants for relief

For five years, the president has dithered on this question of inheritance, which economists assure that it plays a central role in the widening of inequalities. But while inheritance tax is considered the most unpopular in France, even ahead of the fuel tax, the majority of candidates have therefore ended up favoring the path of relief.

By raising the allowance on inheritances from €100,000 to €200,000, Valérie Pécresse plans to exempt 95% of inheritances, and to facilitate donations between generations. Ditto for Éric Zemmour, who is considering an exemption of up to €200,000 every ten years for donations from parents and grandparents. As for Marine Le Pen, she plans to create a real estate franchise of €300,000 for the benefit of the main residence.

EELV and LFI for an in-depth reform

At the other end of the spectrum, the representatives of insubordinate France (LFI) and Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV), were the only ones to defend the increase in inheritance tax. ” If we no longer want to live in this society of heirs, in which there is no longer any social mobility, we must thoroughly reform the system “, thus defended Guillaume Duval, for Yannick Jadot, before specifying however that he would maintain an exemption for inheritances lower than 200,000 €.

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Like EELV, insubordinate France pleads for a total overhaul of inheritance tax, no longer taxing each donation or inheritance separately, but setting up a count throughout life, with greater progressiveness of rates . For Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the inheritance tax will also be totally confiscatory beyond 12 million euros.

“Today, the headline tax rate in France is one of the highest in OECD countries, but in the end large inheritances are very lightly taxed, because they benefit from the mechanisms of successive allowances, and many tax loopholes, foremost among which is life insurance, which partly comes out of the calculations of the estate base”recalls Clément Dherbécourt, co-author of a note from the Economic Analysis Council on the subject.

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The 2,000 small savers who came to the Salle Pleyel were therefore relieved to learn that apart from Yannick Jadot, none of the presidential candidates planned to reform the taxation of life insurance. ” What next ? There is no question of touching half a hair of life insurance”, notably overplayed Xavier Bertrand, who came to represent Valérie Pécresse. Enough to give a smile to Gérard Bekerman, the indestructible president of Afer, who declared himself ” happy “ of his evening.

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