Windfall Tax in India: Everything You Need To Know

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What is Windfall Tax

The concept of a windfall tax originated in the 1970s, designed to tax the extraordinary profits companies earn due to unexpected events. Since its inception, this tax has sparked considerable debate. This blog will cover all about windfall tax - its definition, mechanisms, and impacts. We'll answer questions like:

  • What exactly is a windfall tax and who pays it? 
  • How does it function and what are the potential consequences of implementing a windfall tax?

Let's proceed with the details!

What is a Windfall Tax?

Windfall tax is imposed by governments on specific industries that generate unexpectedly high profits due to unforeseen economic conditions. These taxes are typically targeted at companies within sectors, particularly commodity-based businesses, that have reaped substantial gains from these economic advantages.

The Russia-Ukraine war, for instance, triggered a global surge in oil prices in 2022, leading to significant profit increases for Indian oil companies like ONGC, GAIL, and Oil India. The government responded by implementing a windfall tax on:

1. Domestically produced crude oil

2. Exported petroleum products (petrol, diesel, ATF)

This tax aimed to tackle India's widening trade deficit and generate revenue for essential government spending (food, fertilizers).

How Does a Windfall Tax Work?

A windfall tax is a temporary levy imposed by governments on specific industries experiencing a surge in profits due to unforeseen circumstances. It's designed to capture a portion of these unexpected gains and redistribute them for other purposes.

Unlike regular taxes on corporate profits, a windfall tax isn't triggered by standard business performance. It's specifically targeted at unexpected and temporary profit increases. These unexpected gains can be caused by various factors, such as wars and natural disasters, or sudden shifts in international trade agreements can disrupt supply chains and cause price spikes in certain commodities. A surge in oil prices due to international conflict (like the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022) is a prime example.

Windfall taxes can have both positive and negative consequences:

  • Advantages: They generate additional revenue for the government, which can be used for social programs, infrastructure development, or offsetting budget deficits.
  • Disadvantages: Businesses may argue that windfall taxes discourage investment and stifle future growth. They may also create uncertainty within an industry.

Windfall Tax Revisions (Between 2022-2024)

July 2022
  • Windfall tax proposed (effective September 1, 2022)
  • Initial rate for domestic crude oil: ₹23,250 per tonne
August 2022
  • Revised tax structure due to declining oil prices
  • Lower tax on domestic crude oil
  • Increased tax on diesel exports (₹6 to ₹12 per litre) and gasoline exports (₹13 per litre)
  • Revised export cess on aviation turbine fuel (ATF)
April 2023
  • Windfall tax on crude oil was abolished initially
  • Reintroduced and raised to ₹6,400 per tonne
May 2024
  • Reduced windfall tax on domestically produced crude oil to ₹5,700 per tonne (from ₹8,400 per tonne)
June 2024
  • Further reduced windfall tax on domestic crude oil to ₹5,200 per tonne (from ₹5,700 per tonne)
  • Export duty on petrol, diesel, and ATF remained unchanged (nil)

Who is Subject to Windfall Tax?

Businesses and industrial enterprises that see substantial profit increases, often as a result of events like wars, commodity shortages, or other price-boosting situations, may be liable for windfall taxes.

Individuals can also be taxed on unexpected gains, such as inheritances or lottery winnings.

Main Points to Remember

  1. A windfall tax is an additional tax levied by governments on businesses or economic sectors that have gained substantially from economic growth.
  2. Its primary goal is to redistribute excess profits to support broader social initiatives, though this concept can be controversial.
  3. Certain individual taxes, like inheritance tax or taxes on lottery or game-show winnings, can also be considered forms of windfall tax.


  • What is an example of a windfall tax in India?

  • When was the windfall tax introduced in India?

  • Who pays windfall taxes?