The pandemic, the closure of economic activity and the collapse of consumption brought with it a collapse of the State’s tax collection. However, and despite a decline of almost 7%, the level at which the taxes paid at the different levels of the Administration remained closed 2020 with the fourth best historical record. Now, with the first half of the year closed, the data is on the rise again and is already above the year prior to the health crisis, 2019, which ended up closing as the year with the highest tax collection in Spain. Subtracting the refunds, the State’s income remains at 90,470 million euros, which represents an advance of more than 16% compared to 2020 and more than 3% compared to 2019.
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The Tax Agency analyzes in its report for the first semester that it is convenient to make a comparison with 2019 because 2020 was exceptionally affected by the pandemic, which leads to very strong increases in some of the fiscal figures. . For example, it points out that the month of June had an increase of almost 50%, but it was coming from the worst month of June since 2006. In fact, the agency stresses that despite the progress and recovery of data prior to the pandemic , there are still certain tax figures that are still below previous levels. This is the case of VAT or special taxes, both closely linked to consumption and economic activity. “Despite the high rates that are seen now, they have not yet returned to normal,” he says.
VAT is one of the main fiscal figures by volume of income in Spain but it is closely linked to consumption, so its results continue to be affected by the incomplete recovery that the economy has offered so far. According to the records of the Tax Agency, there is a strong increase in taxation compared to last year, of more than 5%. However, in comparison with 2019, it has not yet reached that record. Statistics show, yes, a strong increase in the VAT charged on imports.
Something similar can be seen in the fiscal figures that are included in the section of special taxes (alcohol, beer, electricity, hydrocarbons, or tobacco), also closely linked to economic activity and consumption, especially in areas such as hospitality. In this case, the distance compared to 2019 is even wider than in what was experienced in that tribute. Although they have grown by 3% compared to last year, showing some sign of recovery, the data is still 9% below what was obtained before the outbreak of the pandemic.
None of the figures that make up this section are still positive compared to 2019. An example is that of the income from the tax on alcoholic beverages, which is levied on the consumption of those distillates with a higher graduation. At the close of 2020, the collection data for this figure showed that hospitality closures had led to their lowest record since the mid-1990s. In the first half of this year, the recovery has not yet taken place, standing 14% below 2020 and 22% lower than in 2019. Although more moderate, the drop is also maintained in terms of beer, with setbacks 2% and 8%, respectively.
Taxes on hydrocarbons are not saved in this period either. Although the growth is around 10% during the first half of this year compared to 2020, it is practically the same percentage of loss that it still has compared to 2019. Within the special taxes there is also the one applied to tobacco products, which Although its evolution is more stable than in the rest of the components of this section, it also loses compared to 2019 and 2020. Electricity is included among the special taxes and the Tax Agency indicates that despite the “situation of high prices” that this course is being lived, the data is below 7% of the level of two years ago.
Good fault that the State already collects more than before the pandemic has been produced especially by personal income tax, the main source of public income. According to the report of the Tax Agency on the collection of the first semester of this year, homogeneous income (comparable with previous years) grew by 5.5% compared to 2020 and more than 7% compared to 2019. It happens that this A fiscal figure was practically the only one who resisted the pandemic. Despite the increase in unemployment, campaigns such as the ERTE, which held hundreds of thousands of jobs since the lockdown was declared in March of last year, allowed to maintain the collection.
The other major tax figure that resists the pandemic, despite the circumstances, is the Corporation Tax. The aforementioned report emphasizes that during the first semester of the year the homogeneous income from this tax on the profit of the companies exceeds those of 2020 by 60%. This is logical considering that the results of the Spanish companies were negatively impacted during the course of the health crisis.
The data for between January and June bring a novelty compared to previous periods. This course has been that of the entry into force of the tax on financial transactions, popularly known as the Tobin Tax, although it differs from that historical claim. In June, the declarations of this tax corresponding to the period between January and May were registered, which represented the entry of 128 million euros. This tax is levied on the purchase and sale of shares, with some limitations, of Spanish listed companies that have a market value of more than 1,000 million euros.
The progress in revenues during this semester does not hide various pending challenges for the coming months. The first and most immediate is that the effect of the pandemic is still being appreciated in some of the most important taxes for the State. The second, that Spain has an income problem with respect to its GDP, known as fiscal pressure, which will force it to raise revenue in the future to try to get closer to the European average, something that is assumed to take years. Third and last, related to the above, the famous tax reform that the Government intends to carry out and that divides the partners. The socialist wing advocates undertaking it next year, with the report of the committee of experts on the table and with a more solid economic recovery. For its part, the wing of Unidas Podemos has requested that it be included in the next state budget, which must be drawn up in the coming months so that they are ready before the end of the year.