Windfall Tax

Definition of 'Windfall Tax'


A tax levied by governments against certain industries when economic conditions allow those industries to experience above-average profits. Windfall taxes are primarily levied on the companies in the targeted industry that have benefited the most from the economic windfall, most often commodity-based businesses.

Investopedia explains 'Windfall Tax'


As with all tax initiatives instituted by governments, there is always a divide between those who are for and those who are against the tax. The benefits of a windfall tax include proceeds being directly used by governments to bolster funding for social programs. However, those against windfall taxes claim that they reduce companies' initiatives to seek out profits. They also believe that profits should be reinvested to promote innovation that will in turn benefit society as a whole.

Windfall taxes will always be a contentious issue debated between the shareholders of profitable companies and the rest of society. This issue came to a head in 2005, when oil and gas companies, such as Exxon Mobil who reported profits of US$36 billion for the year, experienced unusually large profits due to rising energy prices.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. XW

    A symbol used to signify that a security is trading ex-warrant. XW is one of many alphabetic qualifiers that act as a shorthand to tell investors key information about a specific security in a stock quote. These qualifiers should not be confused with ticker symbols, some of which, like qualifiers, are just one or two letters.
  2. Quanto Swap

    A swap with varying combinations of interest rate, currency and equity swap features, where payments are based on the movement of two different countries' interest rates. This is also referred to as a differential or "diff" swap.
  3. Genuine Progress Indicator - GPI

    A metric used to measure the economic growth of a country. It is often considered as a replacement to the more well known gross domestic product (GDP) economic indicator. The GPI indicator takes everything the GDP uses into account, but also adds other figures that represent the cost of the negative effects related to economic activity (such as the cost of crime, cost of ozone depletion and cost of resource depletion, among others).
  4. Accelerated Share Repurchase - ASR

    A specific method by which corporations can repurchase outstanding shares of their stock. The accelerated share repurchase (ASR) is usually accomplished by the corporation purchasing shares of its stock from an investment bank. The investment bank borrows the shares from clients or share lenders and sells them to the company.
  5. Microeconomic Pricing Model

    A model of the way prices are set within a market for a given good. According to this model, prices are set based on the balance of supply and demand in the market. In general, profit incentives are said to resemble an "invisible hand" that guides competing participants to an equilibrium price. The demand curve in this model is determined by consumers attempting to maximize their utility, given their budget.
  6. Centralized Market

    A financial market structure that consists of having all orders routed to one central exchange with no other competing market. The quoted prices of the various securities listed on the exchange represent the only price that is available to investors seeking to buy or sell the specific asset.
Trading Center