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SBD Global/April 3, 2013/International Football

France Won't Exempt Football Clubs From 75% Tax On Salaries Above €1M

PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who makes €15M a year, will be affected by France's new law.
Officials in the French PM's office said on Tuesday that the country's revamped 75% tax on annual salaries above €1M ($1.2M) "will apply to all companies," rejecting suggestions that football clubs would be exempt, according to Elizabeth Pineau of REUTERS. French Football Federation President Noel le Graet said that "football clubs employing players on million-euro salaries would be exempt from the tax because it would only apply to businesses with more than 5,000 workers." But an official at PM Jean-Marc Ayrault's office told reporters that "was incorrect." The official added: "The new measure will affect all companies paying out salaries above 1 million euros." A second official at Ayrault's office confirmed that "the tax would apply to football clubs as well as employers of performers such as actors and singers on company payrolls." Top football clubs like Qatari-owned Paris St. Germain "may be able to keep paying big salaries for stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but smaller clubs paying one or two stars more than one million euros are seen as struggling with a bigger tax bill." PSG Chair Nasser al-Khelaifi said, "I don't think it's good for French football, it's not good for French clubs and it's not good for the place of (France's) Ligue 1 in the world" (REUTERS, 4/2).

DOING THE MATH: BLOOMBERG's Gregory Viscusi reported "at least 12 members of the Paris team" make more than €1M a year. They include Ibrahimovic, €15M ($19.3M) a year, and Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, at €12M ($15.4M). Former England captain David Beckham "would escape the tax because his five-month stint at PSG doesn’t qualify him as a French tax resident." President Francois Hollande made the 75% tax "a cornerstone of his successful presidential campaign last year, saying the wealthiest had to make a special contribution toward cutting France’s deficit." Many football players "would already be taxed at France’s top marginal rate" of 49%, which kicks in at €500,000 ($641,800) a year. Teams "would then pay a surcharge to bring the effective tax rate on salaries above" €1M to 75% (BLOOMBERG, 4/2).
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