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Italian energy firms shirk tax and leave Mario Draghi with inflation package shortfall

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi addresses the Senate. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi addresses the Senate. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Italian premier Mario Draghi. Photo: Yara Nardi, Pool/via PA

Italian premier Mario Draghi. Photo: Yara Nardi, Pool/via PA

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi addresses the Senate. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Many Italian energy companies appear not to have paid an initial windfall tax payment due by the end of June, leaving the government facing a revenue shortfall of more than €9bn, a Treasury document showed.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has budgeted €33bn since January to help firms and households facing sky-high electricity, gas and petrol costs, as the Ukraine crisis weighed on growth prospects for the eurozone’s third largest economy.

Between €10bn-€11bn of the total package was expected to be funded through a 25pc windfall tax on energy groups that have benefited from surging oil and gas prices.

Under the scheme, producers and sellers of electricity, natural gas and petrol products should have made a 40pc down payment by the end of June with the rest due by November.

But updating fiscal projections in the mid-year budget, a Treasury document presented to parliament this week showed lower-than-expected revenues totalling more than €9bn stemming from income taxes as a whole.

“Updated estimates take into account a downward revision on expected windfall tax revenues,” the Treasury said in the document, without identifying those who had not complied.

However, there is no impact on Italy’s public finance targets at present, as rising consumer prices and energy costs have lifted indirect taxes such as its VAT sales tax.

State-controlled energy group Eni said last week it had already paid its first instalment of the windfall tax.

Meanwhile, Italy’s biggest utility Enel said in an emailed statement that the windfall tax would have an impact of around €70m in 2022, with around €50m already accounted for in the first half of the year.

Last week, Enel said it expected a negative impact of €2.6bn on its net debt this year due to government measures in Italy, Spain and Romania.

Several energy firms complained about the windfall tax, saying volatile prices were also creating problems for them.

Companies that missed the end-June deadline still have the opportunity to pay the levy in the coming weeks.

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