Bloomberg Tax
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Tax
Free Newsletter Sign Up

Give Notre Dame Donations Extra Tax Perk, Ex-French Official Says

April 16, 2019, 6:28 PM

Corporate donations to rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris should benefit from an existing 90 percent tax deduction, a former French culture minister said.

The so-called 2003 Aillagon law relating to patronage, associations, and foundations sets out tax benefits for corporate and individual donations to associations and foundations.

In an April 15 tweet, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, who proposed the law as minister of culture under former President Jacques Chirac, urged the government to quickly “decree” the cathedral a “national treasure, so that donations for its reconstruction would benefit from a tax deduction of 90 percent, provided” by the 2003 law.

In another tweet, Aillagon urged Parliament to “adopt a special measure allowing a 90 percent tax deduction for donations in favor of the vast construction project to restore the Notre-Dame.”

Culture Minister Franck Riester told France Inter radio April 16 that the 2003 law’s “national treasure” measure currently applies to “works at risks of being of removed from France.”

Riester said the law calls for tax deductions of 60 percent for companies and 66 percent for individuals. “We are going to see, with the government, what specific measure we can put in place. But of course the state will be there with all our compatriots to rebuild the Notre-Dame de Paris.”

Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is aware of Aillagon’s proposal. “It has been discussed among other possible measures, but it’s too early for us to comment on it,” a Ministry of Economy spokesman, who asked not to be named, said April 16.

Fundraising Effort

Donations announced so far include 200 million euros ($226 million) pledged by luxury group LVMH and 100 million euros by French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault and his family.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has called for an international conference of donors for the reconstruction project.

The government launched a website for donations to the rebuilding effort.

Because of the fire, President Emmanuel Macron postponed an April 15 evening television address in which he was expected to make new proposals, including tax measures, to address public feedback gathered during months of the country’s grand national debates. The government started the debate process in a bid to ease tension from yellow jacket protests that were set off late last year, in particular, by some of its tax policies.

—With assistance from Gregory Viscusi and Helene Fouquet (Bloomberg).

To contact the reporters on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at (Bloomberg Tax)

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at, Vandana Mathur at (Bloomberg Tax)