PARIS - It seems France's love affair with taxing its citizens has reached a new high: the French Treasury sought full income tax payments from a 37-year-old convicted drug dealer for the sum he'd earned selling cannabis.
According to Le Monde, two weeks before Farid, a former drug-dealer, got out of prison in December 2012 after serving 20 months, he was asked to immediately pay 23,933 euros in taxes and another 15,227 in social security to the French state. These amounts were calculated on the basis of the 60,700 euros in cash they found when he was arrested.
After he'd served his sentence, Farid had found a job as a waiter in a rehabilitation company, earning minimum wage, and was granted a repayment schedule. He paid 50 euros per month, but was not able to reimburse another part of the debt, which then increased to 43,131 euros.
On August 9, the International Prisons Observatory stepped in and claimed the tax authorities' demands were "astronomical" and were likely to hinder the man's rehabilitation into society, according to Le Monde.
In France, a financial law was passed in 2009 stating people participating in profitable criminal traffic could be taxed. In July, a French association working on the state of prisons and justice in the country sent a letter to the government saying such actions implied that drug dealing was considered a "normal job."
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A UK cannabis disposal team in action - Photo: West Midlands Police