8.5 million euros from sugar tax the first two months
The Catalan government imposed a tax on sugary drinks following the advice of the World Health Organization to encourage a change in consumption habits
The Catalan Tax Agency has already collected 8.46 million euros from the tax on sugary beverages during its two first months. This number is far more than what the Catalan government initially expected according to the tax office’s secretary, Lluís Salvadó, in an interview with ACN. The Catalan government imposed the tax on sugary drinks following the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to encourage a change in consumption habits.
If the tax collection continues at this rhythm, the Catalan administration would receive 35 million euros in the first eight months of this tax, four more than initially expected. In a full year the tax collection would reach 50 million euros. But the aim of the tax “was not to collect money, but rather to encourage a change in consumer behavior, as well as in that of producers and distributors,” said Salvadó.
According to Salvadó, the WHO and other medical associations, recommended the tax in order to help reduce obesity, diabetes and metabolism-related health issues. In this sense, Salvadó celebrated that some producers have already publicized their intentions to reduce the percentge of sugar in their beverages.
When the tax became a reality in May, José María Bonmatí, the CEO of the trade association AECOC, said to ACN that manufacturers and distributors were not in favor of this tax, since they consider it “discriminatory, since it only penalizes some products, it creates legal insecurity in the taxpayer, and it distorts competition and market unity”.
In the meantime, the Catalan government is considering levying taxes on other products that are high in fat or sugar in addition to the tax on sugary drinks. The tax office secretary defended in an interview in May that it would be “consistent” to apply the tax to these other products, but it has to be “done well”. In this sense, he said that the tax will be applied when the conditions are appropriate. At any rate, he continued, “there is a desire to move forward” with this strategy and these new taxes could be imposed in four to five years.