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French government mulling corporate tax cut - paper

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Socialist government is considering cutting the corporate tax rate to 30 percent from 33 percent as part of a broad overhaul, business newspaper Les Echos reported on Thursday.

Facing a growing revolt from businesses over taxes that are among the highest in Europe, the government acknowledged last week that it could not add to companies' tax burden without putting jobs at risk.

Citing sources representing employers, Les Echos reported that a final decision had not yet been taken, but the government was looking at modifying the tax bases used for determining what a company owes.

In particular, the government is considering taxing companies based on their gross operating earnings rather than the current practice of using their sales, which is unpopular with many firms.

President Francois Hollande's Socialist government is currently drafting its 2014 budget bill, which is due to be presented at the end of the month.

It had originally planned to raise an additional 6 billion euros in new taxes next year. However, it acknowledged last month that taxpayers were reaching their limits and said it would scale down plans for a new round of tax hikes next year.

At 44.2 percent of GDP, the French tax burden ranks behind only Denmark and Sweden among the 34 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The government is seeing a growing backlash from voters and businesses after it imposed 30 billion euros in hikes this year, seeking to honour a promise to its EU partners to bring its budget deficit below the bloc's target ceiling next year.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas)