Washington (AFP)

Faced with emptying state coffers, the IMF delivered its anti-crisis recipe on Wednesday: increasing taxes for the richest and for companies that made substantial profits during the pandemic in order to continue to support the most vulnerable.

The Covid-19 has slammed entire swathes of the global economy and hit the least skilled people hard, but some companies, such as the tech giants, fared well last year, increasing their profits, as the world went all-digital due to containment measures.

In the United States in particular, some households, already well off, have continued to grow richer: they have been able to keep their teleworking jobs, increase their stock market shares and save by spending less on leisure and travel.

Stock prices around the world, especially among high-tech companies, have surged throughout the pandemic, accelerating in recent weeks to set new successive records as the global economy shows signs of a strong recovery from the pandemic. recession.

"The pandemic has increased inequalities," Paolo Mauro, one of the budgetary affairs officers at the International Monetary Fund, said at a press conference as part of the spring meetings.

While the recovery is here, millions of people are still without jobs and resources.

And governments must continue to provide financial support.

It is therefore "necessary to mobilize additional tax revenues" to redeploy them through health care, education, social safety nets, added Mr. Mauro.

To do this, the IMF recommends, as it did in October, the establishment of a temporary tax on the highest incomes to help governments meet these financing needs.

- "Reverse" -

Noting that in advanced economies there has been an erosion of corporate tax income in recent years, Mauro welcomed the international initiative "to reach an agreement" on the taxation of corporate taxes. global minimum taxation.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen highlighted the initiative this week, quickly backed by countries like France and Germany.

"We have also seen an erosion of personal income taxation for people at the top of the income scale," said Paolo Mauro.

"So in advanced economies there is an opportunity to reverse" this trend by increasing both corporate and wealthier personal income taxes, eliminating tax loopholes, increasing property taxes or inheritance tax, he detailed.

“So there is a whole range of options available,” he continued.

An interim tax to recover from the Covid, which would go through a corporate surtax, would make sense in particular for companies that made more profits during the crisis, he said, referring to giants like Amazon.

On Tuesday, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos assured him that he supported the idea of ​​an increase in corporate taxes in the United States while President Joe Biden denounced last week the fact that the group did not pays no federal tax on its profits.

The head of budgetary affairs of the IMF Vitor Gaspar for his part defended vaccination in all directions to get countries out of the crisis.

More than $ 1,000 billion in additional tax revenue could be generated by 2025 globally if all countries brought the pandemic under control sooner than expected.

This would also "save billions in additional aid measures" to savings, observes the IMF in its report on budgetary surveillance released Wednesday as part of the spring meetings.

"Vaccination is therefore more than cost-effective, as it offers excellent value for money for the public funds invested to accelerate the global production and distribution of vaccines," comment the authors.

© 2021 AFP

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