Thirty billion dollars. This is the amount of taxes and taxes on world production that TotalEnergies must pay in 2022, indicated, this Wednesday, Patrick Pouyanné, the CEO of the French group, during a hearing in the National Assembly on the “superprofits” of oil and gas companies.
Taxes paid in France this year
“In 2022, TotalEnergies will have to pay 30 billion dollars in taxes and production taxes worldwide”he said, compared to 6 billion in 2020 and 16 billion in 2021. An announcement that comes amid the debate on super profits, a recurring topic since the start of the war in Ukraine, which was launched again this summer after in the announcement of the large profit made by the French group in the second quarter (5.7 billion dollars).
Patrick Pouyanné also clarified that the group must pay income tax this year, while the group did not pay corporate tax in France last year due to the loss of tax this year- there in his French activities.
For France, TotalEnergies pays between “1.6 and 1.9 billion euros per year in the French budget” of various taxes, contributions, source deductions, added the manager, determining that“nothing hidden”. Asked by representatives about the extremely low level of his tax and social security contributions paid in France, the group’s boss replied that most of his oil and gas production activities are outside the country.
“In France, the activities we have are not rental activities (oil and gas) but refining”an activity where the group “missing money”, he pointed out. He recalled that his group paid taxes according to “territorial principle” which states that “the same profit cannot be taxed twice”.
“We find in most countries where we produce oil and gas, these taxes are taken from the French tax base”he further emphasized.
The group must also pay 8 billion in dividends to shareholders.
Debate on superprofits
This announcement comes as the parliamentary initiatives have increased to try to impose a tax on the extraordinary income of some large companies that have benefited from the increase in energy prices, such as (TotalEnergies and CMA CGM, among crosshair of the opposition.
After announcing the divisions on this subject of “superprofits”, the government now hopes to find a solution at the European level rather than at the national level. It remains to convince the opposition deputies.
Recently, the Nobel Prize in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, stated that super profits should be taxed.
Brussels wants to cap income
Faced with a potentially explosive topic, the debate between pro and anti-tax turned in favor of the former. “In our social market economy, income is acceptable, it is good. But in these times it is not acceptable to register extremely high income and income by exploiting the war”, thus affirmed Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
Brussels plans to cap the income of electricity producers from nuclear and renewable energy (wind, solar, hydroelectric). They reap “extraordinary” profits by selling their production at a price above their cost of production, which does not increase, unlike gas-fired power stations.
The Commission also intends to obtain “a contribution” from the producers and distributors of gas, coal and oil: it will be set at 33% of the profits which is more than 20% higher than the usually in the years 2019-2021.
These proposals, which could bring up to 140 billion euros, must be discussed by the member states at the end of September. But many countries did not wait to break up. Spain announced in the summer a tax on extraordinary profits of energy and financial companies, which will bring in about 3.5 billion euros a year for two years. London and Rome have announced measures, as have Hungary, Romania and Greece.