Italy's lawmakers call for windfall tax on banks' energy trading profits

Rome's Palazzo Chigi lit up with the colours of the Italian flag
Rome's Palazzo Chigi, the seat of the Italian government, is lit up with the colours of the Italian flag on Jan. 15, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME, June 9 (Reuters) - Italian lawmakers are urging the government to impose a one-off levy on banks' energy trading profits in the same way Rome is targeting increased earnings of energy companies, according to parliamentary documents seen by Reuters.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has budgeted more than 30 billion euros ($32 billion) since January to help firms and households faced with sky-high electricity, gas and petrol costs, as the war in Ukraine overshadows the growth prospects of the euro zone's third largest economy.

Almost 11 billion euros are to come from a 25% windfall tax on energy groups that have benefited from surging oil and gas prices. read more

But now several lawmakers from the ruling 5-Star Movement, the PD and LEU parties, have presented to parliament proposals to extend the windfall tax to banks and financial brokers that trade in gas, electricity and petroleum products.

The tax would also apply to trading in energy-related financial derivatives.

It remains to be seen whether the government will support the parties' initiative, which will be discussed in parliament over the next few days.

The windfall tax could help finance additional stimulus measures without hiking the budget deficit, something that Draghi wants to avoid.

The ruling parties are in favour of a deficit-hike worth billion of euros to boost the economy but the Treasury has so far insisted on holding public borrowing at 5.6% of national output, down from 7.2% in 2021.

Without raising the deficit, Italy plans to extend beyond the current expiry date of July 8 a cut of 25 cents per litre in excise duties on fuel prices at the pump, government officials told Reuters on Thursday.

Separate measures are being discussed to cut taxes on low-income workers, they said.

($1 = 0.9382 euros)

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Gavin Jones and David Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.