Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has spoken out against an excess profit tax on extra profits from oil companies from the Ukraine war.
“I can only warn against populism at this point,” said Lindner on Tuesday in Berlin. “We don’t know if there are excess profits.” Tax increases could lead to shortages at the pump. “The shortages would then increase the prices even more.”
Politicians from the SPD and the Greens had brought such an additional levy into play because of the further increase in energy prices. It cannot be that the mineral oil companies “fill their pockets even fuller in the crisis,” SPD leader Lars Klingbeil told the newspapers of the Funke media group.
Green leader Ricarda Lang told the “Tagessspiegel”: “We have been observing a decoupling of the price of crude oil and gas station prices for months. A few are benefiting, while a large number of medium-sized companies are suffering from the high energy prices and are wondering how they are going to get through the next year. The excess profit tax would be a logical step.”
There are differences of opinion in the traffic light coalition about an additional tax on the extra profits of oil companies from the Ukraine war. Leading FDP politicians warned on Tuesday of a so-called excess profit tax.
“The constant demands for new taxes from the SPD and the Greens are shocking and are on the same level as the Left Party,” said General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai (FDP) of the German Press Agency.
Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner said “there is a great danger that the opposite of what the advocates want will be achieved”. His concern is that an “arbitrary tax increase” for a single industry will ultimately make things more expensive in Germany. The cartel office must check what is happening at the pump.
In fact, despite the tax cut that has been in effect since the beginning of the month, there is no sign of any significant relaxation in fuel prices. Although the prices for the E10 and diesel initially fell from May 31 to June 1, the tax rebate was not passed on in full.
Since then, petrol and diesel have become more expensive again. On Tuesday morning, the trend was again slightly upwards, as the ADAC announced on request.
“I totally understand the anger about what’s at the pump,” said Christian Lindner. However, reacting to a world market development with an additional tax only in Germany could ultimately lead to prices at the pump rising even further. However, this would call into question legal certainty in the tax system in Germany.
“Anyone who starts changing tax law for noble reasons or because they want to get the applause of the day at the regulars’ table will never get the genie back in the bottle,” Christian Lindner continued. According to Lindner, he could not “officially” confirm that there were so-called excess profits at all. There are assumptions, but these also exist in the area of wind power and solar power or semiconductors.
Internationally, there are already examples of an excess profit tax. The President of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), Marcel Fratzscher, referred to Italy, among other things. According to a report by the Bundestag’s scientific service, the measure described there as an “extraordinary solidarity levy” applies exclusively to companies in the energy sector.