Invisible tax revealed by calculator


By Marina Faleiros, Cley Scholz, The State of S. Paulo - 03/12/2004

As part of a campaign to raise awareness among the Brazilian population about the excess of taxes in the country, the Associação Comercial de São Paulo (ACSP) and the Brazilian Institute of Tax Planning (IBPT) have just launched the tax calculator. Through it, anyone who accesses the website www. can calculate the tax you pay on your salary, consumption and wealth (see box). The reality is unknown, but it can be frightening: fees can swallow, for example, up to 44% of a salary of R $ 4 thousand.
According to a survey conducted by the Ipsos research institute with 800 people, 89% of respondents had no idea what taxes they paid. The same study, however, pointed out that 90% of people were interested in knowing these taxes and were willing to sign a manifest asking for the disclosure, on the packaging or at the places of sale, of the rates embedded in each product.

"This year, Brazilians will pay more than R $ 650 billion in taxes", says IBPT president, Gilberto Luiz do Amaral.

According to him, the value is exaggerated, especially when considering the fact that the roads are terrible, the public health service is chaos and people cannot count on an efficient security service.

Guilherme Afif Domingos, president of ACSP, has the same opinion: “In Brazil, we have to pay everything again, because there is no return for society through public services”. For him, this happens due to lack of demand from the population, as many are under the illusion that, for example, education is free and, therefore, they cannot complain.

“Society, on purpose, was kept ignorant of these facts so that there would be a public discourse in which the government said it served the people. With the calculator, we show that it is the society that serves the government ”.

But the awareness process is long. Therefore, the ACSP campaign continues, and next year, it should promote more actions not only with the debate in the media, but also in schools and universities. A list of more than 8 thousand products and their respective tax charges will also be available on the website, starting in March.

"This will help retail chains to put paragraph 5 of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution into practice, which provides that every citizen has the right to know how much tax they pay for each product," adds Domingos. In fact, the paragraph, written by Domingos himself in 1988, has not yet been regulated, and for this reason it is not applied.