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Energy transition overview

Fiscal policy will continue to play a critical role in the energy transition and taxes are one of the tools that governments can use to incentivise investment in low-carbon fuels and encourage their use.

Governments use taxes to raise revenues and drive the behaviour of both business and consumers. This may result in governments being faced with competing priorities.

On the one hand, they may wish to use tax incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging investment in renewable energy and new technologies. On the other hand, they may also need to guarantee energy security and secure revenues for public spending.

As the energy transition gathers momentum, new business models and changes in tax policy may give rise to uncertainty for taxpayers and governments. Governments may also need to implement tax policies that can help them manage potentially lower revenues from fossil fuels.

Shell supports stable fiscal regimes which attract investment and which can support countries in developing sustainable budgets.

Environmental taxes are fiscal instruments that are used to drive behaviour change, such as reducing a business’s carbon footprint or waste. These are often indirect taxes that do not form part of a company’s corporate income tax charge. Read more in the UK environmental taxes section.

Shell only makes use of incentives that encourage investment in low-carbon and renewable energy when they are aligned with our business and operational objectives.

Photography features Shell BioLNG Blend. (photo)
Incentives can encourage investments in low-carbon and renewable energy linked to our business and operational objectives.
Corporate income tax
This is a direct tax imposed on companies’ profits. It is sometimes levied at a national level but can also be levied on a state or local basis.
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Environmental taxes
Environmental taxes are taxes and duties levied on energy products (including vehicle fuels): motor vehicles and transport services; and on the supply, use or consumption of goods and services that are considered to be harmful to the environment, as well as management of waste, noise, water, land, soil, forests, biodiversity, wildlife and fish stocks.
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Fiscal policy
A government’s approach to taxes and spending. The policy will vary depending on different electoral parties, governing systems and between countries.
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Indirect taxes
Taxes raised on goods and services rather than income and profits. Examples include VAT, GST, sales tax, customs duties, excise duties, stamp duty, services tax, registration duty and transaction tax.
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Tax incentives
There is no common definition of a tax incentive. Shell defines tax incentives as fiscal measures designed by governments to stimulate investment and encourage growth, or a change of behaviour, by providing more favourable tax treatment to some activities or sectors. Incentives can include accelerated tax relief for capital expenditure on infrastructure, exemptions from certain taxes where government economic targets (for example employment targets) are met, or a favourable tax treatment of costs related to research and development activities for certain technologies.
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