October 19, 2012 / 4:56 AM / 5 years ago

France eyeing lower tax rate on small firms: minister

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government is considering a reduction in the tax rate small and medium-sized companies pay on profits, possibly to 30 percent from just over 33 percent at present, Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac said on Thursday.

France's Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac speaks during the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris October 9, 2012. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

“This is the angle of pursuit we are looking at,” Cahuzac, whose Socialist government is under pressure from employers to make it easier to do business, told BFM television.

The government is due to produce measures early next year to boost the competitiveness of an economy still marred by high unemployment, drawing on a report on the issue that it has commissioned for delivery in early November by Louis Gallois, former head of European aerospace group EADS EAD.PA.

Late on Thursday, parliament’s finance commission amended the 2013 budget to prolong a surcharge on corporate tax for large companies approved by the previous conservative government under President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The measure would raise an additional 800 million euros ($1.05 billion) in tax revenues next year. That will help to plug a gap left by the government’s decision to scrap a plan to tax corporate gains at the same rate as revenue, following protests by small businessmen.

A group of entrepreneurs calling themselves “Les Pigeons” - French slang for “suckers” - launched an online revolt this month that prompted the government to back down on certain tax hikes in its 2013 budget.

The Pigeons said a plan to double the capital gains tax on equity sales to as much as 60 percent would have discouraged many from starting a company in the first place.

President Francois Hollande, elected in May, said during his election campaign he wanted to ease the profit tax burden on small businesses.

Reporting by Chine Labbe; Writing by Brian Love and Daniel Flynn; Editing by Michael Roddy

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