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"Lower VAT", an unsuitable track to support purchasing power, according to an organ of the Court of Auditors


If this idea had been proposed during the presidential campaign, it is not the best decision to relieve the portfolio of the French, argues the Council of compulsory levies.

Would reducing the rate of value added tax (VAT) be beneficial for the wallet of the French?

The answer is no, believes the Council of Compulsory Levies (CPO), an organization linked to the Court of Auditors.

The institution thus advises against “

the use of VAT reductions, general or targeted, to respond to the consequences of the current crises and to the long-term economic and social issues

”, in a report published on Thursday.

In 2021, VAT, the first tricolor tax, had generated a “

dynamic return of 186 billion euros, or 17% of compulsory levies


But this sum, important, could be even more, underlines the document.

In France, five VAT rates exist, two of which are reduced, recalls the CPO.

If applied daily to consumer purchases, they could bring more money into state coffers.

In international comparison, these reduced VAT rates "

represent a significant shortfall [to the State], of the order of 47 billion euros today

", underlines the report.

Read also Purchasing power: lowering VAT on certain products, would it be “unfair” and inefficient?

A track during the 2022 presidential election

During the last presidential campaign, the VAT rate was hotly debated by the candidates, who saw it as an instrument to restore purchasing power to consumers.

A track that does not win the support of the CPO.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI) proposed, for example, to reduce VAT on basic necessities and to reinstate one on “

great luxury

” to finance it.

In one of its analyses, the Institut Montaigne specified however that “

it was not possible, with regard to European rules, to create an increased rate of VAT.

France already has two reduced rates, which does not give it the possibility of creating a new VAT rate


Read also Purchasing power: lowering VAT on certain products, would it be “unfair” and inefficient?

For her part, the candidate of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen, wanted to reduce VAT to nothing on a hundred basic necessities.

But for the Asterès firm, this abolition of VAT would only have resulted in a gain "

of 133 euros

" for French households, "

ie an increase in purchasing power of 0.3%


However, part of this drop would be captured by the players in the chains and only 10% of the drop would therefore directly benefit households, representing a gain in purchasing power for households of 13 euros per year, "

i.e. 0.03% per household


This is why this idea of ​​abolishing VAT was not included in the government's recent anti-inflation basket project.

In mid-January, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire had specified to exclude “

the VAT lever

”: “

I am not sure that a few cents of difference really make a difference for households.

The only thing that matters to me is the consumer.

What guarantee me that if I remove the VAT, it will not go into the pockets of distributors?


Lowering VAT or creating targeted aid?

This analysis is shared by the CPO: while other states, such as Germany, have limited their rates "

in the context of the 2020 health crisis, [...] empirical studies on these experiences demonstrate limited effects for high cost


In addition, lowering this rate on energies - such as fuel or gas - risks jeopardizing "

the achievement of national environmental objectives

": this weapon must therefore be handled with care.


Simulations carried out for the CPO confirm that the 'tariff shield' appears to be more effective than a reduction in VAT to 10% on gas and electricity in limiting price increases, while being three times more costly

", adds the study.

Read alsoSpain to reduce its VAT on gas from 21% to 5%

In addition, "

a reduction in VAT, in particular on food products, is a less effective measure to support the purchasing power of low-income households than monetary transfers

", considers the Council.

According to the institution, the solution would therefore be to create targeted monetary benefits, as the government has done on energy via the energy check or the tariff shield.

In short, “

the VAT is not the best way to revive the economy, fight against inflation, or conduct sectoral policies.

Nor is it an effective instrument in the face of environmental and public health challenges

,” summed up the first president of the Court of Auditors and president of the CPO, Pierre Moscovici, on Thursday.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-02-09

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