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Amendment to windfall tax aims to reassure markets - Tajani

Amendment to windfall tax aims to reassure markets - Tajani

'Common sense has prevailed' says deputy premier

ROME, 24 September 2023, 17:06

Redazione ANSA




A draft government amendment to the 'assets' decree introducing a controversial windfall tax on surplus profits made this year by the country's banks following the ECB's interest-rate hikes aims to reassure the markets, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Sunday.
    "The objective is not to do the banks a favour, but to ensure that savers are better protected, that the banking and financial system is considered an important instrument of economic policy," Tajani told current affairs programme 'In Mezz'ora' on Rai 3.
    "With a well-written regulation, the international markets are reassured," he continued.
    Tajani was quick to voice criticism of the new 40% windfall tax on banks' surplus profits announced allegedly "without discussion" by Premier Giorgia Meloni in August, and which caused immediate stock market turmoil.
    The losses were partially reversed after the government said the windfall tax would be capped at 0.1% of institutes' assets, but skepticism remained, with Moody's saying the measure is "credit negative" and the Financial Times describing the move as "disastrous" and the government's "biggest blunder so far".
    "Common sense has prevailed, I spoke at length with the Prime Minister, I was listened to and with Minister Giorgetti we tried to improve that text," Tajani told In Mezz'ora.
    The new draft amendment to the assets decree currently before parliament for conversion into law "allows for a different tax base and excludes government bonds", he said.
    "Money will come from the banks but we have protected the small ones, and we have strengthened the system," concluded Tajani.
    On Saturday it was reported that under the new provision, instead of paying a tax on surplus profits banks would have the option of "allocating an amount equal to two and a half times the tax to a non-distributable reserve".
    This reserve is to be considered "among the elements of primary tier 1 capital", according to the draft.
    Reportedly, the tax will now be calculated "by applying a rate of 40% on the interest margin" in the 2023 financial year "that exceeds by at least 10% the same margin" in the 2021 financial year.
    In the original decree the tax was calculated on the basis of the 2022 and 2023 budgets and different rates applied.
    Lastly, the government has reportedly raised the cap on the windfall tax from 0.1% to 0.26% "of the total amount of individual risk exposure" rather than on total assets as in the original formulation, meaning that treasury bonds are excluded from the levy.


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