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Gerard Depardieu's Tax Rate Is Less Than Yours

Gerard Depardieu: legendary actor and aspiring Russian oligarch?
Legendary actor Gerard Depardieu, who last year acquired Russian citizenship to protest tax rates in his native France, paid 6 percent in taxes on his 2013 Russian income, "Izvestia" reports.

The Kremlin-friendly paper's May 30 report quoted a tax expert who said a self-employed individual like Depardieu would pay Russia's low rate, which is available for income up to 60 million rubles, or about $1.7 million. Russia has a 13 percent flat tax on income.

After offhandedly offering citizenship to the French actor at a press conference, President Vladimir Putin hand-delivered a Russian passport to Depardieu in January 2013.

Depardieu had been feuding with French President Francois Hollande over his 75 percent tax on salaries above 1 million euros, and the actor registered as a resident of a town in Belgium that borders France and renounced his French citizenship. Depardieu then registered as a resident of the republic of Mordovia, about 650 kilometers east of Moscow, at the address of No. 1 Democracy Street in the republican capital, Saransk. (The region is otherwise best-known as the place where the women from Pussy Riot were imprisoned.)

The Russian paper quoted the the deputy chief of the region's tax service, Sergei Shalyayev, who declined to give the actor's total income but said that he had filed his tax return on time.

Depardieu's tax update comes amid widespread economic debate about how much the rich should pay in taxes. French economist Thomas Piketty has caused a sensation worldwide with his book "Capital In the Twenty-First Century," arguing for a global tax on wealth to prevent the rich from accumulating fortunes.

It is unclear how much time Depardieu is actually spending in Mordovia. The media and information minister of the region, Valery Maresyev, told "Izvestia" that the actor's last official visit was in May 2013 and that none of his purported plans for a cultural center or cafes has been realized.

Depardieu's publicist, Francois Hassan Guerrar, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

-- Luke Johnson

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