The Minister of Finance and Public Administration, María Jesús Montero, admitted this Thursday that the extraordinary tax to energy companies and banks designed by the Government, which began its parliamentary process last Tuesday, will have to adjust to the 'solidarity contribution' proposed yesterday Wednesday from Brussels, which could introduce substantial changes in the figure.
Montero, in statements to Antena 3 collected by Europa Press, however, has avoided specifying whether this adaptation will imply applying the tax only on the extraordinary profits of certain energy companies, as proposed by Brussels and supported by the main opposition party, the PP, or On the contrary, it will continue to be demanded of all energy companies and also of banks, as was the initial idea of PSOE and United We Can.
As ABC advances this Thursday, the design of the 'European solidarity contribution' devised by the Commission's technicians places the extraordinary tax on banking and energy companies promoted by the Government in a kind of dead end, since it is not even applied on the same companies, nor does it tax the same resources, nor does it pose the same time horizon. Brussels has been careful to warn the EU Member States that all the figures already in force and those that are in the pipeline, such as the Spanish one, must be adapted to the objectives and approach of that 'solidarity contribution'.
A completely different tax
The strict application of the figure designed in Brussels would imply substantial changes in the Government's tax, which on the other hand has already been questioned not only by tax experts but also by Congress itself for its "legal inconsistency" or because of its "weak legal architecture", according to criticism made last Tuesday by parliamentary groups.
To begin with, the radius of action of the Government's tax would be reduced, which aspires to raise the tax burden on all energy companies and banks, while the 'European solidarity contribution' restricts the new tax to energy companies that operate with fossil fuels, basically oil and gas, with the declared objective that they respond for the extraordinary benefits obtained in the current context and contribute to financing the bill for the States to cushion their impact on the population. Neither electricity nor banking are within the European figure, the two large sectors in the target of the Sánchez Government.
Brussels, whose proposal will now have to be analyzed by the Member States, as the Finance Minister has underlined, also intends that the tax be charged on the extraordinary profits obtained by these companies, understood as the part of their profits that exceeds more than 20% those obtained in the average of the 2019-2021 period. The Government of Spain has expressly avoided defining 'extraordinary profit' in its tax and has thrown down the middle street demanding payment based on the net returns obtained by the energy companies, not even the profits but the billing, and based on the interest margins and bank commissions. Another critical element to improve if the model proposed by Brussels prevails.
In addition, the 'solidarity contribution' proposed by Europe would only be in force for one year, while the extraordinary tax designed by the Government would cover the years of 2022 and 2023. The Minister of Finance did not clarify what aspects could be modified in the parliamentary processing of the encumbrances
Into the political fray
“We have been the first in Europe to propose this measure. Europe has come behind", Montero stressed, who, in any case, has insisted that, when the Commission's discussion ends, in which Spain is also participating, the Spanish tax will be adjusted to the figure decided in Brussels .
The minister has been very critical of the leader of the main opposition party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, for his change of position regarding this tax on energy companies, since he positioned himself against it and is now open to supporting him in the face of the support that their European colleagues have given to this measure.
Thus, for Montero, the support of the European PP for the tax on electricity companies has meant that Feijóo "has been trapped and dismantled." "I hope that in the process of this tax it incorporates some amendment", said the minister, who has also criticized that the leader of the 'popular' uses the word "rate" to refer to what is actually a tax.
On the other hand, Montero has confirmed that the gas VAT reduction from 21% to 5% announced by the Government will also benefit the communities of owners that have collective boilers and will thus be contemplated in the Contingency Plan.
"The Government had identified this situation so that there are no problems and they can also benefit from lowering the bill," said Montero, who specified that the technical mechanism by which this reduction will be applied to the communities of owners is being studied. affected.