The new taxes that the Government has announced are entering their final stretch of processing. This Thursday they have received the green light in Congress with 186 votes in favor, 152 against and 10 abstentions. Now they will go to the Senate, where no shocks are expected. These are temporary liens aimed at the largest banks, energy companies and high net worth individuals. The collection forecast, which the Treasury announced before the text began its parliamentary journey, was about 10,000 million in the two years that they are in force, with the aim of financing measures that mitigate the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, which has led to a sharp increase in the cost of gas and electricity and a general rise in prices.
The Executive has used the figure of the bill to approve the new taxes on banking and energy, and an amendment to this same norm to create the solidarity tax on large fortunes. It calculates that the three taxes are in force before January 1, 2023 and affect only two years, although it plans to carry out an evaluation at the end of the period to decide whether to make them permanent.
Why have some taxes on banks and energy companies been approved?
The reasons used by the Executive to impose the new taxes on banks and energy companies —which have been conceived as non-tax property benefits, and not as taxes— are the extraordinary benefits that these sectors are obtaining due to the rise in interest rates and prices skyrocketed for energy raw materials, respectively. However, the rates will be applied to income rather than profit, a point that has caused reluctance among businessmen, politicians and economists.
In the explanatory statement of the opinion it is recalled that in 2021, “a year with low interest rates, the large financial institutions will distribute dividends for 13,400 million, 3,500 million in the first quarter of 2022.” Likewise, the text mentions that the four large groups in the electricity, gas and oil sectors integrated into the Ibex 35 achieved 9,000 million profits in 2021, according to the National Securities Market Commission.
Are they permanent or temporary figures?
Both surcharges are temporary and will apply next year and the year after. At the end of 2023, the Government will prepare an interim report on the first application exercise, and in the last quarter of 2024 it will carry out a study to evaluate whether to make the two taxes permanent.
What do they tax?
In the case of financial institutions, 4.8% of the margin of interest and commissions that they obtain in 2023 and 2024, with which the Treasury expects to collect around 1,000 million a year; a rate of 1.2% will be applied to the energy companies on the net amount of the turnover, with an expectation of collection of 2,000 euros per year in the same period. The benefit is born on January 1 and must be paid in the first twenty calendar days of September of the same year, also having a 50% payment on account that will be deducted from the final settlement. Neither the payment nor the advance will be deductible from corporation tax. Neither can its cost be passed on to customers. If the company is part of a tax group that is taxed under the consolidation regime, the tax will only be levied on the consolidated declaration in Spain.
What companies will have to pay them?
Not all companies in the two sectors will be subject to the levies. In the case of electricity, gas and oil companies, only those considered main operators by the National Commission for Markets and Competition and that in 2019 had a turnover of at least 1,000 million must pay the benefit. The regulated business and the invoicing of its businesses in other countries are excluded, and it will not be taken into account in the net amount of the turnover of the income corresponding to the tax on hydrocarbons and other figures that have been paid or supported via repercussion. As for banking, the threshold —in this case of interest and commissions charged— is 800 million, always taking 2019 as a reference. It will also be required of those entities that, regardless of the aforementioned limit, are under the direct supervision of the European Central Bank. This definition includes the branches of foreign companies established in Spain, a request made by local companies and also by the European supervisor —which has also urged that the tax be transferred to clients— to avoid distortions in the market.
What is the tax on large fortunes?
The solidarity tax on large fortunes has two purposes, the Government alleges: one to collect, to support the anti-crisis measures, and another to harmonize, to reduce the difference between communities in the wealth tax. The latter is ceded to the autonomies, and some of them have it fully subsidized. This is the case of Madrid and Andalusia —which has just announced it—, while Galicia foresees a partial reduction. With the new figure, the richest will also be charged in these territories; in the others, the wealth tax may be deducted from the solidarity tax to avoid double taxation.
In fact, the tribute to great fortunes is “complementary” to that of heritage. Its configuration is the same in terms of taxpayers, taxable and tax bases and also in the exemptions: there is a minimum exemption of 700,000 euros, the first 300,000 euros of the habitual residence, the family business or debts, among other things, are left out. .
Who will have to pay it?
It is only required for fortunes of more than three million euros (3.7 million, adding the exempt minimum). Three tranches with progressive rates are planned: 1.7% between three and five million, 2.1% between five and ten million, and 3.5% for greater fortunes. It will accrue on December 31 of each year and will affect the net worth of which the taxpayer is the owner on that date. The first year that is intended to be taxed is this 2022, so the wealthiest will not have much time to plan how to reduce their tax bill.
How much will he enter?
It will be collected by the State —the participation of the foral communities will be established in the bilateral forums that they have with the Government in a maximum of three months from the entry into force of the tax—, which hopes to enter some 1,500 million a year for this, plus or less the same as Madrid stops collecting due to the wealth tax. Also in this case, it is determined that the Government evaluate its performance at the end of the period of validity of the tax and decide whether to maintain it or eliminate it.
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