Where Do the Rich Live in France?

The former Mayoral stronghold of President Sarkozy is the richest place in France, and Parisian districts dominate the top twenty places. The chic Parisian suburb of Neuilly sur Seine contains nearly 7000 residents who pay an average of around €20K each in the French wealth tax. The average value of their wealth is €2.93m. 751
The list of the top twenty wealthiest communes in France is dominated by Paris and its suburbs. As well as the capital city itself, the list also includes surrounding communes of Saint Cloud, Boulogne Billancourt, St Germain en Laye, Versailles, St Maur des Fosses and Rueil Malmaison. The following table shows the average wealth of French wealth taxpayers in each commune, the number in each commune, and the average amount of wealth tax paid by them.

Table: The Rich List

CommuneAverage Wealth (€m)Number LiableAverage Tax Paid (€000's)
Neuilly sur Seine2.936,98020,456
Saint Cloud2.171,82912,859
Strasbourg1.90 2,2619,258
Boulogne Billancourt1.884,400 9,303
St Germain en Laye1.761,6097,799
Lyon1.707,785 7,373
St Maur des Fosses1.652,2096,977
Aix en Provence1.582,3116,124
Rueil Malmaison1.561,9976,055
Toulouse1.54 3,3245,779
Source: French Ministry of Finance 2006 Some maybe surprised that the main towns on the Cote d’Azur are not further up the list. Although the rich who live in the region no doubt all retain good accountants, it may well be explained by the fact that many of those who own wealthy properties here actually have their principal home in Paris. The figures have been derived from the French tax authority statistics on the number of people in each commune who pay the infamous wealth tax called Impôt sur la solidarité fortune (ISF). It is a tax that has attracted a lot of publicity abroad, much of it misinformed, because it is paid by relatively few people (around 500,000) and the amounts paid are generally very small. Nevertheless, both residents and non-residents are liable and, with the increase in the value of property in France in recent years, it is a tax that is catching those who may be 'capital rich’ but ‘income poor’ and who may, therefore, find it difficult to pay the tax. The tax that is payable by those with net assets in excess of €760,000. Although these assets include your principal home, an abatement of 30% is applied against the value of the property. Accordingly, even if your only wealth was the home in which you lived, it would need to have an open market valuation of around €1M before you became liable for the tax. You can read more about the wealth tax at Guide to French Wealth Tax

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