In terms of taxation, French creativity sometimes leads to lexical curiosities. It is obvious for the oxymoron CVO, abbreviation of voluntary contribution… obligatory. A category of taxes created from 1975 to finance inter-professional organizations in the agricultural sector.
As bizarre as it sounds, the CVO does mean a voluntary and compulsory contribution. But not at the same time! Initially, the contribution is indeed voluntary, decided on its own initiative by an organization representing a sector, for example fruit and vegetables or Bordeaux wines. However, it sometimes becomes compulsory if the State decides to extend its collection to all players in the sector concerned, whether or not they are members of the body concerned.
CVOs are not legally considered as compulsory deductions and do not appear in the public accounts. The European Commission, after twitching a bit, for its part concluded that they did not constitute State aid liable to distort competition.
There are now dozens of CVOs, each with a specific calculation method. The amounts collected vary from a few tens of thousands of euros to several tens of millions for the most important sectors, such as cereals, meat or champagne.
In milk, the contribution is set at € 1.22 per 1,000 liters for producers and € 0.442 for processors. Enough to bring in 40 million euros per year to the National Interprofessional Center for the Dairy Economy (Cniel). An organization known to consumers for its advertising campaigns and its heady slogan: ” Dairy products are our lifelong friends ”.