Government hires French economist to prepare taxation of the super-rich

Government hires French economist to prepare taxation of the super-rich

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French economist Gabriel Zucman, known for discovering where the ultra-rich deposit their fortunes, was hired by the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) to prepare a proposal to tax these businesspeople. It was presented by Minister Fernando Haddad, of Finance, this Thursday (29) during the G20 meeting, in São Paulo.

Zucman is an assistant professor at the University of California Berkeley and was introduced by the minister to ensure the meeting was not dominated by issues of war and politics between great powers.

“I invited Professor Gabriel Zucman, one of the greatest experts on the subject in the world, to present us with a proposal for taxation of the super-rich. I know there are different views on the topic in the room, but I hope the presentation is informative and paves the way for future evidence-based discussions,” said Haddad.

Gabriel Zucman stated that “there is a growing recognition that tax systems are unable to adequately tax the super-rich”, and that “probably the best way to resolve this situation is through international coordination”, he added in an interview with Bloomberg.

Despite growing popular support for the richest to contribute more, it is difficult to reach this consensus. Lula has been addressing this issue since the beginning of his government, and took the taxation of large fortunes as one of the pillars during his temporary presidency of the G20.

Zucman proposes a 2% global minimum tax on billionaires, which, according to his think tank, the EU Tax Observatory, could raise around $250 billion a year worldwide. He acknowledges that the proposal will not be easy to implement and hopes to start a conversation that could take years to come to fruition.

Despite the challenges, Zucman was optimistic, highlighting some of the G20’s fiscal achievements in recent years, such as the fight against bank secrecy and the adoption of a global minimum corporate tax rate. “It was considered a completely utopian idea. And now it’s happening,” he added.

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