Companies that pay taxes on time may have a reduction of up to 3% in Social Contribution on Net Profit (CSLL) for 3 years. The proposal is included in the bill, sent on Thursday (1st) to Congress, which aims to benefit good tax payers and punish repeat debtors.
Sent with constitutional urgency, the text was dubbed the Tax and Customs Compliance Project. The Federal Revenue divided the proposal into three axes: compliance, control of benefits and persistent debtor.
According to the Federal Revenue Secretary, Robinson Barreirinhas, the project marks a new stance for the Tax Authorities, less punitive and more guiding. “The objective is not to target companies that act in good faith, but to separate the wheat from the chaff and identify debtors who harm the economy because they fail to pay taxes strategically,” he explains.
With the aim of encouraging compliance with tax obligations and rewarding good paying companies, the compliance axis provides for three programs. The first is Confia, aimed at companies that earn at least R$2 billion per year and was tested with nine large companies as a pilot project 3 years ago.
Companies that join Confia will have to comply with fiscal governance parameters and actively cooperate with the Tax Authorities. In exchange, they will be able to settle their debts within 120 days without a fine or with a reduced fine.
Aimed at all taxpayers, the Sintonia Program is universal in nature and will offer discounts on CSLL. With fewer tax auditors than in Confia, the program will seek to reward companies with up-to-date taxes through a compliance bonus.
A company with a good paying seal for 1 year will pay 1% less in CSLL each year, being able to accumulate 3% after 3 years. “It starts with 1% from the moment you reach maximum classification. If you remain in the classification, the social contribution discount will increase by one point per year”, explained Barreirinhas.
In the Sintonia Program, the taxpayer will have 60 days to self-regulate their tax situation, will not be able to have assets listed and will have preference in bidding processes.
The third program is the Authorized Economic Operator (OAS), designed to reward those who comply with customs obligations. Companies that are part of the program will have priority in the clearance of goods, fewer customs inspections and faster release of cargo. They may also defer (postpone) the payment of customs duties. Applied a few years ago, the OAS does not have consolidated legislation.
In the three programs, Barreirinhas said that the objective is for the tax auditor’s visit to result more in guidance than in fines for companies that comply with tax obligations. “It’s as if it were consultancy that the Brazilian State is giving to taxpayers in good faith. The taxpayer, on the other hand, will have the confidence to open his heart to the Revenue”, he compared.
“A good taxpayer does not deserve to be punished or face a fine of 75% or 100%, which is so high because of bad taxpayers”, he added.
Called benefit control, the second axis of the project foresees a fine-tooth comb in more than 200 small tax incentives. “Last year, we faced the big [incentivos]the billions [de reais não arrecadados]. Now, we have to control the hundreds and the tens of millions. The number of these benefits is crazy”, highlighted Barreirinhas.
The IRS intends to implement an “umbrella rule” for all incentives. Every beneficiary will have to fill out an electronic form and prove that they meet the requirements to be entitled to the incentive. Those convicted of administrative improbity will not be entitled to tax benefits.
Based on the data, the IRS will monitor the scope and efficiency of the benefits approved by Congress. “Today we don’t have that control. There are a series of laws that grant benefits, but there are other laws that prevent the benefit from being enjoyed”, explained the Secretary of Revenue.
“We have 4.5% of GDP [Produto Interno Bruto] of tax benefits, but who has these benefits? We are taking an obvious step, which is to see who enjoys the tax benefits in Brazil. It makes more sense, before cutting the benefit, to exclude those who are there unduly,” he declared.
The last axis of the program foresees the tightening of rules against persistent debtors. Barreirinhas explained that this category includes around 1,000 companies, out of 20 million corporate taxpayers, who systematically owe the tax authorities. “The persistent debtor’s business is not to pay taxes, creating a company that has the strategy of not paying taxes,” he said.
The bill created three criteria to define a persistent debtor. In the first, the company must have irregular debt (without administrative or judicial suspension) above R$15 million and with a value greater than its own assets. The tax authorities estimate that these taxpayers owe R$100 billion.
According to the second criterion, the debtor must have an irregular debt of R$15 million for more than one year. “We are not talking about a business accident, but about debts that the businessman incurred without bothering to file an administrative appeal or go to court,” explained Barreirinhas.
In the third criterion, the taxpayer must have more than R$15 million in debt, frequently opening and closing companies to change their National Legal Entity Registry (CNPJ).
According to the Secretary of Revenue, persistent debtors harm the economy through unfair competition. “When a company doesn’t pay any taxes, it collapses the others around it. It is a distortion of the market”, highlighted Barreirinhas.
The IRS will create a federal registry of persistent debtors and set a deadline for regularizing these taxpayers, with the possibility of broad defense. However, if it is not possible to prove that the debt does not arise from a tax strategy, the taxpayer will not have the punishment extinguished, even if the tax is paid. If a crime against the tax system is proven, the persistent debtor will respond in the criminal sphere, with intent.
“If a guy comes to your house and robs you, he can’t say ‘sorry, the money is back here’, and the crime will be extinguished. The persistent debtor will not be able to do this either”, compared the secretary.