Against taxes, the 'impostometer'


By Mariana Barbosa, The State of S. Paulo - 21/04/2005

In protest against the high tax burden, business leaders inaugurated yesterday in the center of São Paulo the “impostometer”, an electronic panel that informs, according to the second, how much the Union, States and municipalities have collected since the first hour of January 1st . The “impostometer” - installed in the building of the Commercial Association of São Paulo (ACSP), at Rua Boa Vista - is an initiative of the “Brazilian Front against MP 232”, a movement that united the private sector and led to the overthrow of the provisional measure that envisaged an increase in the tax burden for the service sector.

Under the banner of “Nova Inconfidência”, the public act, held in the Pátio do Colégio, even had a gallows and fiery speech by actor Paulo Goulart, who incarnated a taxpayer-Tiradentes revolted by the tax burden. “We must bring to the population the knowledge that the tax burden in Brazil is almost 40% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), twice the fifth of hell”, stated the president of ACSP, Guilherme Afif Domingos, in a reference to “ fifth ", or 20%, charged by the Portuguese crown on the gold mined in the country. In 1789, Portugal's attempt to increase this load to compensate for the drop in production, which became known as" the spill ", led to Inconfidência Mineira. "The Brazilian has the rope around his neck and can't take so much tax anymore," he added.

For the president of the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp), Paulo Skaf, the high tax burden is the main cause of informality and the enormous tax liability accumulated by numerous companies. "But the tax burden is just the effect of public spending that grows more than GDP and inflation," said Skaf. "We need to cut spending so there is less need to raise." The president of Fiesp also defended the creation of a new program of payment of debts with the Federal Government, such as Refis and Paes.

The movement's leaders said they would go to Brasília to fight for the overturn of the bill that the government intends to present to Congress, replacing MP232, and which foresees an increase in the percentage of withholding tax for some categories of the service sector. “In a country that has no credit and has the highest interest rates in the world, anticipating taxes is an increase in the burden. This de-capitalizes companies, ”said Skaf. For Afif Domingos, withholding tax will also increase the cost of bureaucracy for companies.

The “impostometer” was prepared by the Brazilian Institute of Tax Planning (IBPT), based on data from the Federal Revenue Service, Social Security, Caixa Econômica Federal, the State Finance Departments and the Courts of Accounts. A virtual version of the tax meter is available on the internet ( There, it is possible to know how many taxes are collected every second, minute, hour, day or month, in addition to the collection by state and per capita in each state.

Until 20 pm yesterday, for example, the accumulated revenue for the year was over R $ 219,745 billion. "Although the government insists that there are no resources to invest, the size of the collection shows that money exists, but it is not being well spent," said IBPT president Gilberto Amaral. In the coming months, the institute should launch a “gastometer”, with indicators on public spending in the three levels of power.

Like ACSP, Fiesp intends to install an “impostometer” and a “gastometer” at the federation's headquarters, on Avenida Paulista.