Alckmin criticizes exemption from ICMS on fuel distribution in Rio


By Maurício Simionato, Folha de S. Paulo (Agência Folha, Campinas) - 28/01/2005

The governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB), yesterday criticized the government of Rio de Janeiro for implementing a special regime that allows fuel companies not to pay the ICMS when they withdraw the product from the distributors. Alckmin was in Paulínia (126 km northwest of São Paulo), where he inspected a blitz to combat fuel evasion and adulteration.

“We have always had tax substitution. That is, when he leaves the refinery, he has already paid the tax. The government of Rio removed this tax substitution and gave a special regime to some distributors. So the product leaves there without paying and neither does it pay here when entering the state. Everyone loses, ”he said.

According to the State Secretary of Finance, Eduardo Guardia, the State has already failed to collect at least R $ 600 million in ICMS due to the fraud of companies that buy fuel in Rio and sell in São Paulo without paying the tax.
To inhibit the coup, the government set up a blitz, called Operation Arrocho, which involved around 140 agents and police officers from the State Secretariats of Public Security and Finance on the highways that cut the Paulínia petrochemical complex.

In yesterday's blitz, the inspection seized a truck loaded with 30 thousand liters of gasoline from Rio that would be distributed in the region of Campinas (SP).
According to the governor, throughout Brazil, distributors buy gasoline at the refinery with the ICMS built in, with the exception of Rio. When they sell gasoline to gas stations or distributors in São Paulo, companies should pay the tax to the São Paulo government.

“The government [of Rio] itself created the special regime saying that it is not necessary to pay [ICMS] at the refinery, as long as the fuel goes to another state. They come here and don't pay here either. We have about 9.000 service stations in São Paulo, there is no way to inspect all the trucks that come from there. With tax substitution there is no way to evade. You leave the refinery with the tax already paid, ”he said.

Alckmin also criticized the “insignificant number of ANP [National Petroleum Agency] inspectors” in the state, declared “” war ”on what he called“ ”criminal organizations” and said that the government will now publish the name of all stations caught selling adulterated fuels across the state.
According to the governor, about 200 posts will have their names published on the site for adulteration.