Campaign shows the weight of taxes on products


Pedro Soares, Rio Branch - Folha de S. Paulo, 02/12/2004

In a campaign to raise taxpayer awareness of the high tax burden, ACSP (Associação Comercial de São Paulo) yesterday launched the “Tax Calculator”, a tool by which citizens can calculate how much taxes they consume on their income.

In partnership with the trade associations of Rio and Minas Gerais, ACSP wants to show the taxpayer that a good part of the final price of the products are taxes or contributions.

"The population does not know, they have no idea how much they pay [tax]", said Guilherme Afif Domingos, president of ACSP.
In products like sugar, taxes represent 40% of the final price. In total, taxes on income and products “eat”, for example, 51,4% of the salary of those who earn R $ 5.000.

Tax burden

In addition to the calculator, Afif Domingos said that retailers will also display the weight of taxes on posters in stores, in a campaign that may even culminate in the collection of signatures for the popular amendment proposal limiting the tax burden.

This idea was launched yesterday by tax lawyer Ives Gandra da Silva Martins, professor emeritus at Mackenzie and UniFMU universities. According to him, only a popular proposal would lead deputies and senators to examine the issue and possibly decide in favor of it.

"Such a measure is the only way to stop the increase in the tax burden," said
Gandra Martins, who participated in the seminar “Tax Reform: The need for a New System in the Taxpayer's Vision”, at the Commercial Association of Rio.

According to economist Paulo Rabello de Castro, a partner at RC Consultores, the tax burden went from about 27% to 28% of GDP in 1994 to 37% to 38% in 2004, rising one point per year. The IBGE reported, however, that it was 34% of GDP in 2003.

Load is higher

For Gandra Martins, the tax burden is greater than the one informed the day before yesterday by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), as the calculation does not take into account the fines imposed by the tax authorities or some types of contribution, such as the FGTS (Guarantee Fund for Time) of service).

For Rabello de Castro, this level of taxation allows the country to grow at an average annual rate of just 2,5%. In his opinion, the increase in the load was necessary to support the increase in public spending, without a counterpart to the improvement of services provided by the State.

Gandra Martins also defended the reduction of public spending, saying that the current structure only makes the government swell: “It is to pass from those who produce to the holder of power [government, which does not produce], to the multiplication of organs, to the creation of ministries for the defeated [in elections, in reference to the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva]. ”

In the lawyer's view, although the government “calibrates” interest rates “excessively”, the biggest problem is “the bloated machine”. “There is no effort to reduce the bloated machine, there is no effort to professionalize the state machine. They are the king's friends. We have many friends - 75 thousand hired without a competition - in all governments. ”