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France looking for replacement for 75 percent tax rate on the rich, in response to backlash (VIDEO)

The 75 percent "super" tax, proposed by Socialist President Francois Hollande, was the impetus behind actor Gerard Depardieu's recent flight to Russia.

Hollande honeymoon overEnlarge
French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) speak to the media following talks at the Chancellery hours after Hollande's inauguration in Paris on May 15, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

France's super-rich may have a temporary reprieve: A proposed 75 percent "super tax" on those earning over 1 million euros ($1,318,500) per year has been struck down by the Constitutional Council, which deemed it confiscatory.

The super tax would have appeared in conjunction with much higher wealth and capital gains taxes, said the Financial Times, a combination that caused the highly public exit of French icon Gerard Depardieu from the country.

Read more from GlobalPost: Putin grants Depardieu Russian citizenship

Might Depardieu be enticed back to his homeland? Well, the rich aren't off the hook yet — and France is unlikely to match Russia's flat 13 percent income tax for residents anytime soon.

Hollande is still seeking a replacement for the 75 percent tax, which he says will be part of an effort to reduce income inequality. A watered-down variant on the tax could make an appearance soon, wrote the Chicago Tribune.

The Financial Times wrote that such a replacement tax might be levied for five years, instead of two, as was originally proposed. The government also plans to funnel 2 billion euros ($2.6 billion) into job-creation schemes, in an effort to address France's growing unemployment.

Hollande pledged in a New Year's address to "reverse unemployment," adding that he expected the nation to recover from financial crisis "sooner and stronger" than first anticipated, wrote France24.com.

Economists and businesspeople suspect that the replacement tax may be very much weakened from the original plan, due to the deleterious effects recent controversy has had on France's reputation from the business world and the super-wealthy, added the Tribune.

Depardieu recently met personally with Vladimir Putin in the resort town of Sochi, and in short order was issued a Russian passport. He is reportedly looking for a place to live in Russia's Mordovia, a frigid area perhaps best known for its prison camps.

Read more from GlobalPost: Brigitte Bardot moving to Russia if France destroys elephants

Actress Brigitte Bardot recently threatened to join Depardieu in Russian exile, but for a different reason — she's protesting the proposed euthanasia of two sick elephants in a French zoo.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/130107/france-looking-replacement-75-percent-tax-rate-the-rich-r