Taxing Covid profiteers would make it possible to build 11 hospitals in France.

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The COVID crisis has definitely made a lot of people happy. The study carried out by three researchers specializing in taxes paid by multinationals from the University of Prague (1), confirms this for the first time by basing itself on the analysis of the financial results achieved by multinationals present in the Union. European Union, and which have a turnover of more than 80 million euros. Out of the 8,292 companies concerned, 1,763 realized surplus profits during the year 2020, for an amount that amounts to 364 billion euros worldwide, or 14.7% of the profits of these companies made in the first year of the pandemic. If we include companies headquartered in France, excess profits amount to 20.4 billion. If the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) are the big beneficiaries of the health crisis, the big French companies of the CAC 40 like Orange (+ 57% of surplus profits in 2020), Atos (+ 34%), Carrefour (+ 17%), or Capgemini (+ 12%) have also benefited greatly, with a special mention for Sanofi which saw its results jump by + 338% between 2019 and 2020, without having succeeded in developing a vaccine , while announcing the elimination of 1,700 jobs, including 1,000 in France. An Oxfam report had already established that six major global pharmaceutical groups alone made $ 12 billion in windfall profits during 2020. “From the moment the very large companies, whether French or not, but who have an activity on French soil, made an exceptional profit during this crisis, it would be logical and normal for them to be more involved, as has been done throughout history when in 1916 a tax was established on the profiteers of the war ”, estimates Manon Aubry, co-president of the group of the Left in the European Parliament and member of LFI. The study examined several scenarios for the taxation of surplus profits, ranging from 10 to 70%. By retaining a 50% tax, 182 billion euros would be collected worldwide, including 25 billion euros for Europe and 5.6 billion for France. In France, the proceeds of this tax, still limited to companies having made excess profits, would make it possible to build 11 hospitals or to recruit 105,500 nursing and non-nursing staff, or even to build 4,000 km of TER railways, or to build 143 high schools. “In the raging debate on how to respond to the economic and social crisis engendered by the Covid, both at European level and in the perspective of the presidential campaign in France, the question, in view of the results of this study, c ‘is to wonder if we continue to give gifts to large companies, or if we give ourselves the means to have a fairer tax system, ”said the co-president of the Left in the European Parliament. The study carried out by Charles University in Prague, in any case, provides complete quantified elements to do so.

Jean-Jacques Regibier

(1) Excess Profits Tax: Estimating the Potential Tax Gains for the European Union ”, study written by three researchers from the Department of European Integration and Economic Policy at Charles University in Prague, as part of the Corptax project launched in January 2021.

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