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Finance

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Under most circumstances, we’ll be among the first to recommend avoiding paying to have a credit card. However, there are sometimes valuable rewards to be derived from cards with price tags attached.

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Here’s why some credit cards have annual fees.

What is an Annual Fee?

As the name implies, these are fees you’ll pay on a yearly basis to hold a particular credit card. The amount of the fees is spelled out in your cardholder agreement, along with the perks you’ll derive from using the card.

It’s important to note most card issuers charge the fee directly against the card. The first year’s fee is usually applied the moment you activate the card. Thus, if you get a card with a $10,000 limit and an annual fee of $100, you’ll only have $9,900 available on the card after you activate it.

You should also bear in mind that $100 becomes part of the balance due on the card and is subject to interest charges. If you want to avoid this, you’ll have pay the $100 before the grace period ends.

What’s In It For Me?

In most cases, cards with annual fees offer some sort of benefit for using the card. The fees go to offset these advantages. This might be a bonus for taking the card, air travel miles, hotel stays or even cash back rewards.

According to The Simple Dollar, other benefits include:

  • Credit card perks: While all cards offer a different set of benefits, many rewards cards that charge an annual fee come with special perks such as price protection, extended warranties, and free FICO scores.
  • Insurance and other protections: Travel credit cards specifically are known for offering pricey insurance coverage as a cardholder perk. This coverage can include primary rental car coverage, trip cancellation/delay coverage, and emergency travel assistance.
  • Membership in a rewards program: If you charge a lot of expenses to your credit card, membership in a rewards program can help offset the cost of your card’s annual fee.

However, cards aimed at people with substandard credit scores often impose annual fees as well. The idea is to offset the risk of extending credit to individuals who have had money problems in the past.

In these cases, particularly if you still have outstanding debt, working with a company like Freedom Debt Relief to develop a plan to settle your debts might be a better move than taking on another credit card—and even more debt.

How Can You Tell if it’s Worth It?

By and large, only heavy credit card users generate enough activity to really benefit from credit card reward programs. However, if you’re in a position to use a card to make all of your monthly purchases and pay them off before the grace period elapses you can do OK.

The only way to know for sure is to look at how much you spend over the course of an average month and weigh it against the parameters the card issuer establishes to achieve the rewards. Again though, you must be certain you can pay the card off in full every month. Otherwise, you’ll wind up making interest payments in addition to the annual fee.

Another thing to be careful about is sign-up bonuses. Simply opening the account is usually not enough to qualify for it. You’ll likely need to meet a spending target within a certain time period to get the bonus. Issues like these are important to consider as you’re comparing various programs.

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Commodity investments have long been the domain of the floor broker or the large-scale investment brokerage company, that make purchases on behalf of others. However, with online Contracts for Difference (CDF’s) opening up the market to private traders, it is an area of potential profit that we can now all access. Of course, before you sink your life savings into commodities you need to have a good grasp of the market and how the system works. Something you can find out more about by reading the post below.

What are commodities?

Gold

Gold and other precious metals are one type of commodity. Image here

Commodities different from other types of investment because they are actual raw materials such as fuel and petrol, natural gas and precious metal like bronze and gold. These are known as hard commodities because they are mined. Farming commodities, on the other hand, such as corn, beef, or sugar are known as soft commodities because they are harvested agriculturally.

How are they traded?

Commodities are traded in specific markets such as Euronext, ICE, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The market is regulated in the US by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, something you can find out more about at usagov.ctacdev.com, the official US government site.  

Usually, but not always they are traded as futures. This means that a trade is agreed for a future point in time, and the price and options that have been offered must be honored. The idea being that the buyer picks raw materials that are likely to increase in value, meaning they can make a profit from trading these on at a later date.

How can you invest?

As previously mentioned, investing in commodities used to be limited to one of two ways. The first is that a broker that specializes specifically in this market would trade them on the floor of the exchange to make a profit for the financial company they were employed by. The second way is that large financial companies could make investments on behalf of others, something that has traditionally been prohibitively expensive for the average person, and so has remained the domain of big business.

However, now that many Contracts for Difference brokers have set up online, it has opened up the market and all its benefits to a wider range of investors.

Of course, picking the right CFD has a lot to do with the success of an investment in this sector, and you can check out posts like this Commodity.com review to help you make your decision. This is particularly important at the moment, as one particular CFD broker has got into some trouble lately for unethical trading practices. Something you definitely don’t want your money to get caught up in.

What are the risks?

Last of all, before you decide to invest in commodities, you have to make yourself aware of the risks. In fact Commodities are often seen as a fairly high-risk investment opportunity, because it is a fast moving futures orientated market. That means you do have to balance the potential for large gains with the possibility of large losses if you wish to go ahead and invest in this area.

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The Future Fund of about $130 billion will be in a state of isolation for a maximum of ten years to prevent an impulsive search on its finances and a rocketing bill for years to come to protect the cost of benefit pension payouts of many public servants.

Scott Morrison revealed that he would delay drawing down on the fund at least up to 2026 so that the government can cover up the entire cost of the unfunded liabilities.

The action will demand the government to utilize an additional borrowings over the medium term to slightly pay for what will rise to an $8 billion annual cost to the taxpaying citizen.

The Enlightenment

During an exclusive interview with The Weekend Australian, the Treasurer stated that the Future Fund does not have, at this time, the sufficient resources to cover the absolute cost of the public sector pension payouts and that starting to reduce it from the legislated date of July 1, 2020, would exhaust the fund.

He stated it made no sense to reduce the Future Fund’s assets, which normally secures earnings for at least 7 percent annually when the government could borrow for hardly 2.8 percent.

Days out from delivering his second budget, Morrison stated, “I’m doing this to respect ­future taxpayers. A decade or 15 years down the road, the unfunded super liability issue would still be there. We want the Future Fund to be capable enough of performing the work for which it was set up.”

The conclusion received the support of former treasurer Peter Costello, which is now the chairman of the Future Fund. The chairman claims putting off the mat­urity date would enable the fund, which is the seventh biggest sovereign fund in the world, to increase to a predicted $300 billion by the year 2030.

Costello told The Weekend Australian, “Scott wisely decides to delay the drawdown to continuously increase the fund and supply for these liabilities right up until the year 2050. It is very wise. It provides the Future Fund the chance to create a long-lasting supply for all generations.”

Morrison stated that the settlement carried a lesson for Labor that the Future Fund was not there to provide funds for repetitive spending. The treasurer also said that if we are serious about not leaving an unjust burden on the future generation, then let the Future Fund do its work and do not touch it.

He also said that “A labor treasurer at a notion could raid the fund, and that would cost a lot for the future generations.” The resolution will add to both the budget shortage and to the government’s debt beyond the forward estimates.

However, Costello backed the decision to utilize medium-term borrowings to cover the interim accountabilities until the fund grows, reducing concerns that the government’s decision to trim its debt could stimulate it to tap into the resource at the earliest date.

The Anticipation Of The Decade

Costello stated, “If we were to delay draw down to 2026, we can anticipate that we could raise it to $300 billion by the year 2030. It will secure the cost of the entire unfunded ­liabilities and save tens of billions of dollars of the budget annually. It will also take all the responsibilities off from the taxpayer permanently.”

Morrison mentioned that the ­additional debt needed to cover the pension payouts would incur at a time when the budget was returning to surplus, and the comprehensive level of net debt was dropping. The December mid-year report papers illustrate that the net debt peaks at 19 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2018-19.

He stated that the price for the budget cash balance would reach $200 million by 2020 and 2021. It will arise because budget rules do not permit the ­government to book the unrealized profits on the Future Fund’s share and infrastructure portfolio.

Morrison and Costello have agreed to appeal to lower the Future Fund’s mark return of between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent on top of the consumer price index as legislated, with these rates to be reduced by 0.5 percent.

Though the Future Fund has surpassed its target return over its first ten years of operation, the Ashe Morgan campaign gathered support by the extended fall in international interest rates.

With interest rates increasing, Costello has asserted that they can meet the measurable return by taking excessive risks with the investment portfolio. “It is still going to be a very challenging ruling but more ­realistic.” Costello verbalized.

He started the Future Fund in 2006 to allocate budget surpluses from the mining boom to help secure the cost of defined benefit public sector superannuation programs.

The last of these programs shut to fresh members in July, but the payouts do not maximize until the years 2049 and 2050, when they attain $20 billion per year, while the liability will not be entirely paid to opt until about the year 2100.

Morrison stated the Howard government had expected that, by the year 2020, the Future Fund would acquire enough capital to meet all pension needs. It fails to anticipate the $60 billion introductions to the fund and the sale of its current stake in Telstra would be the ultimate contributions from any government.

Modelling by the Parliamentary Budget Office illustrates that if the government commenced drawing down the fund from the year 2020, it would be drained by 2052 while the outstanding pension lia­bility would remain at $250 billion.

The PBO (Projected Benefit Obligation) predicted that delaying tapping the Future Fund for just another four years would allow it to gather enough assets to meet the needed payout for the rest of the century.

Morrison stated that the government had decided to leave the Future Fund alone only during the four-year forward approximate period, but it was his “disposition” to permit it to sustain building its asset base for an unspecified period.

During which the government needed to keep the versatility to utilize the Future Fund resources in case the rate of change will skyrocket. Morrison also stated that the budget’s projections for medium term will only display the government borrowing, instead of using the Future Fund to pay superannuation.

“Until they hear more from us, their presumption should be that the Turnbull government is not touching the Future Fund,” he verbalized. The resolution to decrease the fund’s target return indicates a concern that the investment perspective will become a lot more difficult as global interest rates start soaring.

The extended fall in global interest rates since the Future Fund started operating has created enormous profits for investors in bonds, while the Future Fund had a tiny investment in shares at the time of the international financial crisis and had made significant gains from the equity market ­recovery.

Costello argued that allowing the minimum mark return at 4.5 percent more than the expansion rate would force the fund to take unreasonably risky investment choices. The 0.5 percent cutback still leaves the fund at risk to a rise in global rates. However, Morrison stated he was confident that Costello would reach the goal.

The Resolution

Morrison said, “The fund has an excellent history of surpassing their target, and so we have real confidence in Peter and the fund to hit its goal, and I have no doubt that Peter will tell me when he has surpassed it.”

Takeaway

Future Fund would perhaps need a couple of years without the government raiding and interrupting their process for them to completely cover all the superannuation for years to come which is very beneficial for the future generations.

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Debt is a dirty word to a lot of people. In our personal lives, when we think of debt, we think of how to get rid of it as soon as possible. However, in business, you’re playing a financial long game. Sometimes, taking on a little debt is necessary for the long-term financial health of the company. So, how do you live with debt without taking over your life?

Debt

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Always have a reason to borrow

Businesses should not be regularly using credit cards for small expenses. It’s an easy way to get caught in a debt trap if your finances take a sudden nose-dive. Rather, all use of credit and loans should be specifically aimed. Reasons to take out a loan include expanding with new real estate, purchasing equipment and inventory, and even to get through periods of poor cash flow. Don’t borrow unless you know exactly why you’re borrowing.

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Budget for it

When you borrow, make sure you take very careful note of it. Immediately start budgeting for the payments you’re going to make back, and know how your debts balance with current income and cash flow projections. They should always be on your mind, in part. Otherwise, it’s easier than you think to lose track of them, rack up interest, and get in a dangerous situation.

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Keep your credit healthy

The better your credit, the better the terms you can expect from loans. However, many people go into business with a line of credit that’s already unhealthy. What are they to do to get back on top of the situation? For one, small business loans for bad credit won’t only help you get the funding you need when you need it. Successfully sticking to the terms of the agreement can help you start building a credit history if you don’t have one, or can improve your score. That will make more favorable loans available to you in future.

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Be responsible

It sounds like a given, but the truth is that unless you start learning the habits of responsible credit use, it’s easy to very irresponsible instead. For instance, use accounting software instead of keeping sums by hand so that the figures are always easy to track. Enforce spending limits on any cards you use. Document a spending policy for employees to follow to avoid charges going where they shouldn’t. Most importantly, keep it very strictly business.

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Strategize for reductions at all times

Part of living with debt is being aware you have to constantly make moves to reduce it, especially if you use it often. Beyond budgeting to a repayment plan, this might also mean being aware of tools like debt consolidation to help you get more favorable repayment strategies.

Smart borrowing, realistic expectations, and debt-reduction strategies are going to help you be a lot more financially flexible. You’ll be able to invest when otherwise you couldn’t and survive tough times that would otherwise sink you. There are plenty of perks to sharing a business with debt from time to time.

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Mother Together Kids Happy Family Baby Newborn

Image source: Max Pixel

Hitting age 40 can be a major wakeup call for a lot of people. The cold, hard fact of the number often throws people into a panic, reminding them that they haven’t got all that long to work for their own future, and the future of their whole family. If you’re approaching this big milestone, or you’ve just passed it, here are some important steps you should be taking to assure a stable future…

Shave Down your Debt

If you still have credit card debt, student loan debt or outstanding debts from medical bills, the next priority on your list should be shaving down and ultimately eliminating that debt, so you can put more towards saving and investing for the future. With credit card debt, the only real option you have is to set a plan for paying it down quickly, and then stick to it. If you still have debt from a student loan, the first thing you should do is see if it’s tax-deductible based on your bracket. If not, you’ll simply have to work at paying it down, but your cards should take priority. Aside from this basic financial planning, you should also check the interest rates on your cards and loans, and see if you can find anything lower.

Save for College

The advice from most financial advisors is that you should start planning to save for your kids’ college education more or less as soon as they’re conceived, even if you’ve only got a small amount to spare. Hopefully, you’ll be able to increase the amount you regularly put away through stocks, real estate, forex or other investments. You can enter a 529 college savings plan in order to shave down the amount you or your kids have to borrow in order to go to college. A lot of state universities run their own paid tuition plans that will allow you to lock down the cost of tuition at current rates. Obviously though, you or your child may have a more prestigious (but less accessible) school. A lot of families will need to sit down and think of realistic ways to minimize the cost of education, like spending a couple of years at a community college before a four-year university.

Max Out your Employee Benefits

As soon as you reach your 40s, you should be putting as much money in your 401(k) as your employer matches as a bare minimum. Even if you aren’t making any profit on this investment, your money will double just from your employer matching it. Retirement plans vary from business to business, so take steps to find out how much you can contribute, and if it’s practical, maximize what you’re putting in up to that limit. There’ll usually be someone at your work who can explain everything you need to know about different investment options. Most importantly, you need to understand why it’s generally better to make proactive investments when you’re in your 40s, rather than when retirement is just around the corner.

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Most of the people are having a hard time whether to declare bankruptcy or not. One of the reasons that they consider is it will put them or their business in a bad light. However, will you still be able to think of that reason if it’s your only option?

If you need a legal action, these are the two common types of bankruptcy codes that will totally help you.

Chapter 7

This is the most popular type of bankruptcy. The experts usually sell the property of the debtor to pay her credits. However, since they cannot sell that property that is exempt the law, most of the debtors can still keep the majority of their properties so no need to worry about losing your favorite car, if you have one.

When it comes to the time frame, this code usually takes three up to four months only. The only people who are eligible for this system are those business owners who have low incomes or those who pass the mean assessment. However, those business-owners who have high incomes are not eligible for this code.

You can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy code even if you don’t have a lawyer. However, if you want a satisfactory result, make sure that you own a little property or no property at all, your income is not higher than the median state and you have not made money or property payments to your preferred creditors. Also keep in mind that even if you didn’t get a lawyer, you are still obliged to pay the $335 Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee plus the $50 personal finance management class. The final decision whether to get a lawyer or not will always be yours.

Chapter 13

If you want to pay your creditors through a repayment plan the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy code is the best one for you.  The repayment plan is the agreement between you and your creditor that pinpoint how the debts will be paid back. The timeframe for this usually takes three to five years, depending on your income.

Filing this type of bankruptcy can also be done without a lawyer. However, would you take the time to research all law and represent yourself to the court? Getting an attorney will be easier for you and for your case to be approved.
Unlike the Chapter 7 code, another good thing about filing chapter 13 code is you can still keep all your property so no need to worry about selling your boat, farm house or expensive electronics if you have one.

Takeaway
Declaring a bankruptcy doesn’t mean that you have lost the battle in the corporate world. There are some times that things don’t go with how you wanted them to be, but it doesn’t mean that you, or your business, is unavailing. If you feel like you already need help to save your business or yourself still, then filing for the proper bankruptcy code is always an option.

Salvează

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crowdfunding

There are times when you come up with a brilliant idea that will surely be revolutionary. Everything’s all set. The only problem is money. How do you raise the necessary funds so your idea can take off and become a reality? What if banks and lending agencies do not approve your loan? Where will you go so you can get the funds that you need? In this post, we will explore crowdfunding and how this can help you in making your vision come to life.

CrowdFunding

Social media is an important factor when it comes to crowdfunding. You may be wondering how this is possible at all. Aren’t social media network only for posting photos and getting in touch with friends? Not anymore. It has become more powerful than that. It has changed the way we do business, how we market, and how we raise capital.

Social media is not limited to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. There are many social media platforms that are crowdfunding websites. But what are these crowdfunding websites? These websites are what connects hopeful entrepreneurs to generous investors. Not only that, you get to connect with contributors, patrons, and producers, too.

Crowdfunding has the same idea as that of crowdsourcing. With these two, a person gets to have an open call towards a crowd or a large group of people. With crowdsourcing, tasks can be outsourced to this crowd. With crowdfunding, funds can come from these group of people through an open call. Through this online community, projects, causes, and businesses can be funded.

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How It Works

The rules are different from one site to the next. In general, people, charities, or businesses get to pitch their ideas and set a goal for their fundraising, as well as deadline. After that, the potential patrons review the ideas and pitches so they can decide and choose which among the pitches they would want to support.

In crowdfunding sites, people do not invest in the business or project, what they do is that they fund it. If the business becomes prosperous, they get to be rewarded. However, it remains as a business that the entrepreneur owns. Patrons do not get to own any part of the project or business. This is because of the US regulations that are for now being reviewed by the SEC. But this may have some changes in the future.

For each of these crowdfunding sites, there are different rules, most especially the sites that are located outside of the US. That is why it is important that you take the time to read the terms and conditions.

How to Start Your Campaign

Your crowdfunding campaign begins with a pitch. With your pitch, you get to describe what your project is about. For example, if your project’s aim is to help veterans with their VA mortgage rates for their homes, you have to be very specific and very detailed about how you are going to help them and who among the veterans you will help. Also, with your pitch, you can describe in detail the rewards that the patrons may receive if the fundraising turns out to be successful. You can then create a timeline and a funding goal.

Choosing Your CrowdFunding Site

It makes a difference which site you choose to launch your campaign. For each crowdfunding site, they have a specific audience. There are those for creative people, there are some for the entrepreneurial crowd, and there are those that are socially bent. Non-profit organizations can also take advantage of crowdfunding sites. You have to know and understand the focus of your project so that you will also know on which site you are going to launch your crowdfunding campaign.

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Knowing Your Target Audience

Once you are already clear about your project and you have chosen your site, focus now on the audience. Most of the projects that have been successful focused on a narrow and specific audience. You can focus on the audience based on religious nature, geographic area, or common background. You can also consider common interests such as books, movies, and music. When you know how to target your audience, your chances of being successful in your crowdfunding campaign will be much higher.

Planning Ahead

The internet is a fast-paced world. Your campaign can get left behind if you do not actively attend to it throughout the whole duration of the campaign. Have emails ready for the beginning, the middle, as well as the end of the project to make sure that it remains active. If the project immediately takes off, you may be overwhelmed with so many emails that you have to respond to. So to do this, prepare a FAQ-type of email so you have something to send those who are inquiring about your project.

Staying Passionate

You have to believe in your project and how it can help the people you want to reach. If you want to send school supplies to third-world schools, show the crowd why they need your help and how much their help can affect the lives of the school children. You have to be passionate about your cause and be the number one believer that you can make it happen. Passion is contagious. If people can see how devoted you are with your project and how sincere you are, they can be more convinced that it is worth their while to contribute funds to your projects.

Takeaway

These tips are just among the things that you can do to ensure a successful crowdfunding campaign. You have to be very passionate about what you do and convince the crowd that indeed, your project is worth funding. You have to be able to share your vision with the crowd so they can see that your project is worthwhile.

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Pre-settlement funding is a type of funding which is available to those who have filed a settlement claim through a lawyer. Personal injury loans are probably the most common form of pre-settlement funding and can be especially important if you have lost your complete or partial working and earning capacity and your life has been marred by medical attention, attending to questions and calls made by the claims adjuster or frequent court visits.

Settlement loans could be of many types and car accident settlement loans is one of the most popular. Inheritance claim settlement funding, illegal termination of contract loan, etc are some of the others and each serve the single most important purpose of providing liquidity to the plaintiff or the victim at a time when not only his earnings have been affected but also a number of additional costs have been thrust upon him.

 

Mature business man discussing project with his colleagues and pointing at computer screen

How did Settlement Lenders revolutionize the lending business in Canada?

 

It was not until 1980s that lawsuit funding become available in Canada and Settlement Lenders was the first company to conceptualize and issue settlement funding to hundreds of needy Canadians, who were fighting for their right to justice. Settlement Lenders has disbursed over $100,000,000 in loans and provides flexibility in choosing the type of funding you need.

You could either take a lump sum amount and your case will be monitored and assessed every six months and further funding needs be also be met. You could choose to take recurring monthly payments to take care of your utility bills and court expenses and your case will be reviewed semi-annually. The final type is a line of credit which is akin to a bank account and you can withdraw and use funds up to a predetermined limit. However, you will be charged interest only for the funds you use.

Advantages of settlement funding

 

  1. Lawsuit loans help you to avoid forced settlement: Pre-settlement cash advance allows you to be patient and gives your lawyer more time to examine more witnesses and build up a solid case to make your case watertight. Empirical evidence shows that the more time a plaintiff gives to the case, the better are the chances of a fair settlement.
  2. Lawsuit loans can be used unconditionally: You can use pre-settlement loans to service some or all of your monthly or yearly expenses. You may channel it to meet foreclosures, settling other loans, paying for utility bills, tuition fees and mortgages. At no point will you be answerable to the lender.
  3. No credit checks or income verifications :Settlement lenders will not verify your ability to earn or your credit history.
  4. Pay only if you win: You won’t be needed to pay any money until the claim is settled, and if the claim is denied in a court of competent jurisdiction, the amount borrowed is forgiven.

Settlement funding is one of the best financial vehicles available to a plaintiff and it can give you a lot of support, confidence and peace of mind.    

France’s highest court has approved a 75% tax on high income.

The new tax is one of President Francois Hollande’s signature policies.

The initial proposal to tax individual incomes was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Council almost exactly one year ago.

But the government modified it to make employers liable for the 75% tax on salaries exceeding 1 million euros ($1.3 million).

France's highest court has approved a 75 percent tax on high earners that is one of President Francois Hollande's signature policies

France’s highest court has approved a 75 percent tax on high earners that is one of President Francois Hollande’s signature policies

The levy will last two years, affecting income earned this year and in 2014.

Football clubs in France went on strike earlier this year over the issue, saying many of France’s clubs are financially fragile and say the plans could spark an exodus of top players who are paid huge salaries.

The Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain has more than 10 players whose pay exceeds 1 million euros, including the Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

There has also been a chorus of protest from businesses and wealthy individuals who have condemned the tax – including actor Gerard Depardieu, who left the country in protest.

Polls suggest a large majority in France back the temporary tax.