While the SPD, the Greens and parts of the Union are calling for an excess profit tax on mineral oil companies, the FPD-led Ministry of Finance sees no scope for changing tax law. For Minister Lindner, the move could even result in higher prices for consumers.
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner has warned against levying an excess profit tax on oil companies profiting from the Ukraine war. "My concern is that an arbitrary tax increase for a single industry will ultimately make things more expensive in Germany." There could be shortages, which then hit the consumer with higher prices, Lindner said at a press conference in Berlin. Should they be introduced, the effects of such a tax can hardly be predicted. There will be no draft law on an excess profit tax from Lindner's Ministry of Finance.
The FDP politician shares the anger about rising prices, but one cannot pretend that everything would not exist without a world market. Traders and oil exporters could decide not to deliver to Germany to the usual extent. That would be detrimental to consumers.
"In Germany there is a tax on profits, but not discrimination in individual sectors," said Lindner. The excess profit tax would be a fundamental change in tax law, which is based on efficiency and not on "whether an industry is currently pleasant or unpleasant". Endangering this key element of tax law "will not happen with me," says the finance minister.
Lindner had previously warned of the consequences of such a tax for other sectors of the economy. An excess profit tax "would also affect the manufacturers of vaccines, wind and solar power plants or semiconductors," he said in the "Spiegel". But they made profits because they eliminated shortages thanks to their skills. "I don't want to take away any impetus from all of them to produce more," he emphasized.
Despite tax cuts, fuel prices have only fallen temporarily in many places. Mineral oil companies are under criticism. Two out of three coalition partners want to skim off their "excess profits". Politicians from the SPD and Greens had brought such an additional levy into play because of the further increase in energy prices. It cannot be that the oil companies "fill their pockets even more during the crisis," SPD leader Lars Klingbeil told the newspapers of the Funke media group. Green leader Ricarda Lang told the "Tagesspiegel": "We have been observing a decoupling of crude oil prices and gas station prices for months. A few are benefiting, while many 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."
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. This Tuesday morning the trend was again slightly upwards, as the ADAC announced on request.