Tuesday, November 29, 2005

French recipe to cut taxes...

Yesterday (well Monday) I got stuck in a huge - I am talking huge! - traffic jam in the middle of the 8th arrondissement. About 6,000 Restaurant and Café owners from all over France had organised a protest against the VAT rate they have to comply with (Value Added Tax that we have in Europe which varies according to the type of goods that are sold) . They currently are required by the government to collect 19.6% VAT whereas they only want to collect 5.5% to make goods cheaper. To demonstrate, they did not march in the streets as protesters usually do, but used their cars (it's cold in Paris at the moment, so what did you expect?!) and blew their horn.


  1. Restaurants and Cafes professionals are among those who makes the most money in France! Common' At least, they don't live in Clichy s/bois and they still have their Beemers! LOL.

  2. I don't know, but if you ask me, it looks like things are "getting a lit hot in the kitchen". (Sorry Eric, I couldn't resist!)

  3. A thing to add : restaurants want 5.5% VAT to be on the same tax rate than the "fast food" restaurants like McDo which are having a 5.5% VAT. It's not a fair competition...
    And, Anonyme, saying that restaurants and cafés make lot of money, verify your numbers. Some makes money, yes. Some other, not really (how many fails every year ?).

  4. Oh you re so clever Eric, such a smart and brillant photo as usual ! We are really spoiled to have you in our lives.

  5. > Dina... I am speechless!

    > Isido. No, in fact this is not true. There are two different VAT rates : Take away: 5.5%, eat in: 19,6%.
    If a Café around the corner sells you a sanwich to go the applicable VAT rate will also amount to 5.5%, just like at Mc Donald's.
    > Michael. Yeah, and "too many cooks spoil the tax" while you're at it!!

  6. My question: if the French government lowers the VAT rate from 19.6 to 5.5% -- and I doubt it will --, are the prices going to decrease in cafés and restaurants?
    My guess: no, or insignificantly.
    But I have to say that France cannot decide to do this alone by itself. The other EU countries have to agree first. And Germany (why, for heaven's sake?) is strongly against that measure.

  7. Here's an annoymous comment from the US...

    Where I live, all meals are taxed at 9% by the state, and some towns add on another 1-2%.

    Also, the expected tip is 15-20%.

    Therefore, the amount you pay above the price in the menu is around 30%.

  8. Something tells me that I'd better stay out of that discussion thread ;-)

    I kind of like the idea of demonstrating in the comfort or your own car, though; I'm surprised nobody thought of doing that in the US yet since we drive in to anything from fast food to weddings to funerals...

  9. Well, after all this discussion, I only have one thing to say... French food is worth the price!

  10. I love that they are protesting in their cars and toques!