France government announces 1 billion euro pre-election income tax cut

The move will bring total income tax cuts since 2014 to six billion euros and benefit more than five million households with an average gain of nearly 200 euros, the ministry said.

By: Reuters | Paris | Published:September 9, 2016 2:23 pm
Rio 2016 Olympics, Rio 2016, Rio Olympics, Francois Hollande, Francois Hollande Olympics bid, 2024 Olympics bid, Olympics, Rio, France Olympics President Francois Hollande’s government jacked up taxes at the start of his term in 2012 to bring the public deficit under control, but has gradually eased the fiscal burden since 2014 after facing a taxpayer backlash. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The French government will cut income tax by one billion euros ($1.13 billion) in its 2017 budget, the Finance Ministry said on Friday, seeking to ease the pain of earlier tax hikes ahead of a presidential election next year.

The move will bring total income tax cuts since 2014 to six billion euros and benefit more than five million households with an average gain of nearly 200 euros, the ministry said in a statement.

The government did not immediately say how it would finance the tax cut, but said it still aimed to cut the public deficit to less than three percent of economic output next year.

President Francois Hollande’s government jacked up taxes at the start of his term in 2012 to bring the public deficit under control, but has gradually eased the fiscal burden since 2014 after facing a taxpayer backlash.

Though the latest tax cut is not negligible, it is unlikely to make voters forget the 35 billion euros in hikes they were saddled with after Hollande came to office, according to calculations on Monday by the OFCE economics think-tank.

Hollande had flagged in June a 2017 tax cut worth as much a two billion euros, but has since had to scale that back as the growth outlook for next year dimmed.

Though deeply unpopular over his failure to live up to promises to turn around the economy, Hollande gave his strongest hint yet on Thursday that he would run for a second term in the two round election in April and May next year.

The 2017 budget, to be unveiled on Sept. 28, is to include already flagged plans to gradually cut the corporate tax rate from 33.33 percent currently to 28 percent by 2020, the Finance Ministry said.

However, companies with revenues of less than 50 million euros would be taxed at the 28 percent on their first 75,000 euros of profit from 2017. The limits are to be gradually raised until the rate is 28 percent for all companies in 2020.