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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure ES-2022-27/2794 – measures in Spain

Reduction of value added tax on electricity

Reducción del IVA a la electricidad (Real Decreto-ley 11/2022)

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 July 2022 – 31 December 2022
Context War in Ukraine
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Responses to inflation
Author Oscar Molina (UAB) and Eurofound
Measure added 05 September 2022 (updated 21 September 2022)

Background information

Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the end of February 2022 is having major consequences on all fronts, both humanitarian and economic. More than four months after the invasion, the persistence of the conflict continues to put pressure on the general price level, mainly through natural gas, fuel and food. The inflation rate has risen from close to zero in early 2021 to above 8% in June 2022, reflecting the direct impact of energy prices, and their pass-through to the prices of goods and services that use energy in their production processes. Rising electricity prices and their effect on inflation also affect households' disposable income, in particular that of the most vulnerable.

Content of measure

Royal Decree-Law 11/2022 (National Response Plan to the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine) reduces value added tax (VAT) on electricity from 10% to 5%, from 1 July to 31 December 2022.

This reduction is in addition to the one carried out in June 2021, when the government reduced this tax from 21% to 10%. It affects consumers with a contracted power of 10 kiloWatt (kW) or less, provided that the arithmetic average price of the wholesale electricity market for the previous month has exceeded €45 per Mega Watt hour (MWh).

With this discount, Spain had the lowest VAT on electricity in the EU.

Use of measure

This (value added tax) VAT reduction allows 27.7 million households, the self-employed and companies to reduce their bills. Almost all households benefit from the reduction of this tax. The 5% VAT rate also applies to 72.5% of electricity supply contracts for companies and businesses (non-domestic).

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

In general, the Royal Decree-Law 11/2022 has been approved by the Spanish Government without the intervention of the trade unions. The trade union UGT(Union General de Trabajadores) claims that more far-reaching measures should be put in place, which should be designed and approved through social dialogue, and in particular with the trade unions, given their clear willingness to join efforts to overcome the crisis. The urgency of the situation demands a higher level of social dialogue and, in particular, the active participation of trade unions in the design and implementation of the measures.

Views and reactions

According to the trade unions UGT (Union General de Trabajadores) and CCOO (Comisiones Obreras), in general terms, the National Plan of response to the economic and social consequences of the war in Ukraine (Royal Decree-Law 11/2022), is a set of positive initiatives, and goes in the right direction. However, they are insufficient given the scale of inflation. Therefore, although these measures will have a positive impact, more far-reaching action is needed.

In particular, the trade unions UGT and CCOO consider that the reduction of VAT on electricity is a positive measure, which can temporarily alleviate price rises. However, the tax reduction is an inefficient mechanism, as it does not tackle the real causes of the problem, represents a significant drain on public resources, and favours those with high incomes the most. Subsidies should be implemented on a case-by-case basis on each taxpayer's bills, taking into account, for example, their income. Once again, the presence of public entities in the electricity sector is also lacking.

No specific views have been identified concerning employers organisations.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Reduction of value added tax on electricity, measure ES-2022-27/2794 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/ES-2022-27_2794.html

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