No, as Manon Aubry points out, Joe Biden is not “starting to tax superprofits”

Pass of arms on Twitter between Manon Aubry and Nathalie Loiseau, this Tuesday. It all starts with a tweet from the Rogue quoting a publication by US President Joe Biden, which says: “We will restore some fairness to the tax code by imposing a minimum corporate tax of 15% on billionaire corporations. When the Inflation Reduction Act is passed, they will finally start paying their fair share.” And Manon Aubry to applaud the decision by pointing the finger at the irresponsibility of France for not having voted the tax on superprofits.

A tweet that obviously did not go over to the opposing camp. “So there, Manon Aubry, really… You know that you are talking nonsense,” replied Nathalie Loiseau, MEP and former Minister for European Affairs. According to the latter, the United States would never have taxed the superprofits, but would rather have set up “a minimum tax at 15%”. Who is right ? Who’s wrong ? 20 Minutes takes stock.

FAKE OFF

To better understand the indignation of the deputy Manon Aubry, it is necessary to return to the premises of the law on super-profits in France. On August 1, after heated discussions in Parliament, the Senate decided: there will be no tax on the superprofits of large groups. The proposal came above all from opposition MPs (mainly left and centre) who proposed an “exceptional tax [de 25 % à 50 %] on superprofits. “The idea is that in times of crisis, companies that enrich themselves exceptionally must redistribute part of this money”, explained Manon Aubry at the time. Opposite, the executive preferred rather to appeal to “corporate responsibility”.

But the superprofits tax is not only discussed in France. Other neighboring countries have, for example, already adopted it for companies in the energy sector, such as the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. Did the United States also follow the European countries? Not really.

An additional tax

As its publication indicates, President Joe Biden wants to introduce “a minimum corporate tax of 15% to billionaire corporations”. This is part of the White House tenant’s broad ecological and social plan. If this new tax strongly resembles a tax on superprofits, it is not really the case.

Indeed, the taxes on superprofits voted in Europe were decided in reaction to the current inflationary context. It is above all the energy sector that is targeted, accused of making many profits. But these new taxes are temporary and do not apply to all companies. The Spanish government, for example, voted for this tax for the years 2023 and 2024. On the contrary, the American tax would become a permanent part of tax law and would concern all billionaire companies.

In the United States, the aim of the “Inflation Reduction Act” is rather to fight against the use of tax loopholes. According to an article in the Washington Post, Joe Biden’s proposal would force billionaire companies to review the way they calculate their annual taxes. There will be two ways to estimate it. On the one hand, they will have to use the initial taxation, the corporate income tax rate, ie 21% of profits in the United States. On the other hand, they will have to apply the rate of 15% to the profits declared to the shareholders, more commonly called accounting income. If the latter amount is greater than the initial tax, the company will therefore have to pay the difference. According to Congress, this could bring in $313 billion over ten years.

The confusion with the global minimum tax

However, the readings of this tax by Manon Aubry and Nathalie Loiseau both seem erroneous. On the side of France Insoumise, the MP considers that the news of 15% is added to that of 21%, which is false because they are rather complementary. If they were added, the tax rate would rise to 36%.

On the side of En Marche, Nathalie Loiseau seems to confuse the new American tax with the global minimum tax of 15%. In his article, the washington post make it clear that these are two different things. The global minimum tax on multinationals is pushed by MEPs. But as our colleagues indicate, the discussions have so far failed at the level of the American Congress.

Finally, Manon Aubry maintains that there is a resemblance between the tax innovations. “Why is it a tax on superprofits? Because in practice, all the big companies with exploding profits will be put to a greater contribution. Both by the classic corporate tax, but also by this new tax which will be added and will act as a “surtax””, defended the deputyin a tweet posted Wednesday.

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