OAB will do radiography of Brazil's tax burden


By Fausto Macedo, The State of S. Paulo - 25/01/2005

The Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) installs today, in Brasília, a special commission to identify the weight of the Brazilian tax burden and its implications in the taxpayer's life. The commission will take a radiograph of the tax situation in the country, its repercussions for the citizen and the social return of tax collection.
Roberto Busato, national president of the OAB, declared that the creation of the commission "reflects the widespread concern of Brazilian society with the high tax burden in view of the questionable quality of the return of these taxes on social benefits to the population".

The commission will be coordinated by lawyer and tax attorney Osiris de Azevedo Lopes Filho, former secretary of the Federal Revenue Service. He pointed out that the tax burden reaches 37% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). "It is very high," says Osiris. "It is higher than that of Japan and that of the United States, where it is 34%, while the average income of the Brazilian population is much lower, 10 times lower than that of the American."

Osiris said that 65% of the collection is concentrated today on contributions, which are included in the final cost of goods and services. Thus, says the lawyer, who is paying most of the taxes are consumers, "for the most part, the working and poor population".

According to him, the OAB is interested in determining what is the intensity of the tax burden "and who actually pays for the support of the state apparatus in Brazil". The work will measure who benefits from the application of these resources, "that is, who is benefiting from the expenditure made by the state apparatus".


In addition to Osiris, the expert tax lawyers Ives Gandra da Silva Martins, Hugo de Brito Machado, José Luís Mossmann Filho and Vladimir Rossi Lourenço, who is director-treasurer of the OAB Federal Council, will also be part of the commission.

The first working meeting will be held today at OAB headquarters. Busato said the group should present results and suggestions in 60 days. The OAB president stated that taxes with specific destinations, such as CPMF and Cide, which should provide health and the improvement of the road network, respectively, "have not fulfilled their purposes".

According to Busato, the diagnosis of the tax commission will be presented to the government and society, and may also result in legal actions by the OAB against unconstitutionalities or illegalities in the national tax system.