Almost $6 billion. This is the net profit obtained in the second quarter of 2022 by TotalEnergies, according to the announcement made by the group on Thursday, July 28. A balance more than double the earnings of the second quarter of the previous year, which gives chills and could relaunch the debate on “super profits”, in a context of war in Ukraine and inflationary context.
First supported by Nupes and the National Rally (RN), the idea of a tax on “super profits” large groups had found an echo in part of the presidential majority and within the Les Républicains (LR) party, but had been rejected by a few votes by the National Assembly on July 23, during the examination of the amendments to the reform bill of the law of finance.
the @gobiernoFR rejected the exceptional taxation of profits linked to the increase in energy
These are the results published by TotalEnergies
↗️ earnings at 18.7 billion at the end of June, ×3 compared to 06/21
To compare with the 500 million granted for the drop in the price at the pump pic.twitter.com/jTDM6kZkcH
—Valerie Rabault (@Valerie_Rabault) July 28, 2022
If, on the French side, the head of government, Elisabeth Borne, closed the door on Thursday to the imposition of super-benefits, some countries abroad are thinking about it. And others have even taken the plunge. Franceinfo returns to the way in which France’s neighboring countries have taken advantage of the debate.
In the UK, a tax on the profits of the oil giants
The UK Liberal Parliament passed a law in late May. To fund a 15 billion pound (about 17.5 billion euro) scheme for the most disadvantaged households, the country has decided to introduce a temporary 25% tax on the profits of oil and gas giants such as BP, after weeks of negotiations.
“As fuel prices return to historically low levels, leverage will be phased out with the introduction of a sunset clause in the law”explained Rishi Sunak, the Finance Minister at the time, today in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. To promote the energy transition, the the measure in question also provides for the reduction of the tax through a “generous 80% investment allocation” if the target energy giants invest in low-carbon energy.
This temporary tax should make it possible to finance a third of the new social measures, contributing around 5,000 million pounds in the next twelve months. Nearly one in eight of the UK’s most vulnerable households will receive at least £1,200 in 2022, including a one-off £650 cost-of-living payment, the UK Treasury announced in late May.
In Spain, a tax on banks and electricity companies
The country took the leap in mid-July, when the head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, announced that exceptional taxes would be established on energy and financial companies in 2023 and 2024. This, to allow the population to face the vertiginous increase in prices. .
“This government will not tolerate companies taking advantage of the crisis to enrich themselves.“, assured the president of the socialist government to the Spanish Chamber of Deputies. The Government hopes to obtain around 7,000 million euros between 2023 and 2024 thanks to these taxes, with estimated profits of around 2,000 million euros per year for electricity companies and 1,500 million for banks.
The announcement was made as part of a series of social measures taken to protect purchasing power against inflation, which exceeded 10% annually in June. Among them are subsidies for fuel, the reduction of VAT on electricity and the increase in retirement pensions. Pedro Sánchez stated in early July that “dSince prices began to rise (…) Spain has mobilized 30,000 million euros” to support your businesses and consumers, “equivalent to 2.3% of its gross domestic product.”
In Italy, large companies in the energy sector pointed
For its part, Italy announced at the end of May its intention to raise its tax on superprofits to 25%, equaling the rate in force in the United Kingdom. At the end of March, the country had decided to introduce by decree a 10% tax on the profits of large companies in the energy sector -such as Enel or Eni- thanks to the rise in prices due to the war in Ukraine. “Let’s redistribute this money to companies and families that are in great difficulty”declared the then Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi.
The government expects to obtain 11,000 million euros from this tax. But the estimate has been repeatedly challenged by companies, which say their profits may not be as high as oil and gas prices suggest. The money raised thanks to this new tax is intended to finance a package of measures of 14,000 million euros aimed at mitigating the rise in energy prices for homes and businesses. The envelope includes in particular a bonus of 200 euros for 28 million Italians with annual income of less than 35,000 euros.
Inflation stood at 8% year-on-year in June, more than a point above the previous month, according to data provided by Istat, Italy’s national statistics institute. This is the highest level reached since January 1986.
In Germany, an ongoing reflection on taxes on refineries
Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a member of the Greens and Germany’s deputy chancellor, has come out in favor of a tax on refineries. He intends to present a text in the coming weeks, in order to attack the profits of large companies.
This solution is proposed by the German government to counteract the failure of the fuel tax reduction. On June 1, Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced an exceptional discount on fuel for three months, to reduce household bills in the face of rising energy prices. But the expected impact of this bonus on motorists has not occurred. “Since the beginning of June, the price of fuel at the pump has not stopped rising and it was found, for both diesel and gasoline, around 2 euros per liter, that is, at standard levels before this measure”recalled franceinfo at the end of June. Inflation reached an annual 7.5% in July, that is, 0.1 percentage point less than the previous month.
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