In 2020, multinational corporations made a profit of 360 billion euros ($ 406.7 billion) thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Der Spiegel reports, citing a study by a group of scientists from Charles University in Prague, commissioned by the European United Left / Left- Greens of the North (GUE / NGL) in the European Parliament.
“As a result of the pandemic, large companies in a number of sectors were able to increase their profits,” the study said. Scientists have counted 1,763 corporations whose profits exceeded their own long-term forecasts. The biggest gains from the pandemic were corporations in the industries (41%), information technology (21%) and finance (16%). As it turned out, American corporations showed a combined profit of about 100 billion euros ($ 113 billion), French – 20 billion euros ($ 22.6 billion) and German – 15 billion euros ($ 17 billion). At the same time, the authors of the study note, the profits of small American companies in the II quarter of 2020 alone decreased by 89%.
Member of the European Parliament from the GUE / NGL group Martin Shirdevan believes that the results of the study indicate the need to introduce a tax on excess profits of transnational corporations. “The time has come when these corporations must do their bit to overcome the crisis,” Der Spiegel quotes him. Economist Marcel Fratzscher, a former chief analyst at the European Central Bank, takes the opposite view. “I don’t think it’s right to punish successful companies,” he said, adding that the proposed tax will also hit European IT companies, which will have to catch up with their American competitors.
According to the Tax Justice Network, an international non-governmental organization that advocates for a fair tax system, countries around the world lose $ 483 billion annually due to tax evasion by multinational corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals. This amount has grown by 13% this year compared to 2020.
In July 2021, under the auspices of the OECD and the G20, a global tax reform was launched, which implies the introduction of a minimum corporate tax rate of 15%. The reform will affect international groups of companies with revenues of 750 million euros. As conceived by the authors, the initiative will help prevent the departure of transnational corporations to tax havens. Russia has backed the reform plan along with 136 other countries, and is set to enter into force in 2023.