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TotalEnergies “does not pay tax in France”, while recording “exceptional profits”, denounces the economist Maxime Combes



Total announces 5.7 billion dollars in profits for the 2nd quarter of 2022, more than twice as much as last year at the same period, and more than 18.8 billion dollars in profits on the first quarter alone. semester of 2022.”What Total is doing with its increased profits is increasing shareholder compensation and that is extremely problematic“, believes Maxime Combes.

franceinfo: How can such results be explained?

Maxime Combes : Price inflation on world markets means that all refiners can generate much larger margins than usual on this activity. This is linked to the increase in prices throughout the production chain. We therefore have, as a result, exceptional and incredible profits, which exceed all the expectations that could have been those of the markets in recent years.

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How much does the commercial gesture of 20 cents less per liter of fuel that Total grants from the start of the school year weigh in relation to this?

It would be necessary to have the real figures of what that represents in terms of turnover, but Total announced that it would undoubtedly represent 500 million euros. This is barely 0.2% of TotalEnergies’ 2021 turnover. This is an extremely small part of what Total paid to its shareholders last year, nearly 9 billion euros. This is a share that is all the lower as its profits are exploding in 2022. TotalEnergies has already announced an increase in its dividend for 2022 and its share buybacks. So, mainly, what Total does with the increase in its profits is to increase the remuneration of the shareholders and this is extremely problematic.

Why do you consider the situation “problematic”?

We are able to say that Total did not pay corporate tax in France, neither in its 2019 financial year nor in its 2020 financial year. In the 2020 financial year, this was expected since Total had announced record losses that year, but in 2019 it is more surprising, since Total was already making 10 billion euros in profits worldwide and paid no corporate tax in France that year. This revives the debate on “should super profits be taxed in large corporations“, but also the more general debate on “should we charge tax to these large groups that do not pay it in France“.

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Aurore Bergé, the president of the Renaissance group in the National Assembly, ensures that Total already pays taxes in France, is that wrong in your opinion?

I don’t know what Aurore Bergé is basing this on, but it’s completely false, I’m basing myself on the data published by Total. This is a country by country report of what Total has paid as tax in each country. In its 2019 financial year, TotalEnergies is clear, the group paid no corporation tax in France and even obtained a check from the public treasury for having paid a much larger sum in previous years. TotalEnergies does not pay its fair share of tax on the national territory and TotalEnergies justifies not paying taxes in France by the fact of domiciling its profits outside France, while the group has 21% of its activity in France, a quarter of its employees in France and its head office in France. Without forgetting that it is a group supported by the public power in its investments abroad.



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