Loss with tax evasion reaches R $ 2,6 billion


By Elvira Lobato, from Rio, Folha de S. Paulo - 21/12/2004

Estimates by Sindicom (National Union of Fuel and Lubricant Distribution Companies), which represents the large companies in the sector, indicate that the country lost R $ 2,6 billion this year due to tax evasion and fraud in the sale of fuels in the domestic market. . The figure, although high, is lower than that projected last year, which was R $ 3,5 billion.
According to the entity, adulteration and smuggling of gasoline caused losses of R $ 1 billion this year.
Tax evasion in the sale of hydrated alcohol represented the same figure. The other R $ 600 million refer to other frauds, such as importing gasoline as if it were naphtha and illegal addition of solvents to gasoline.
According to the president of Sindicom, João Pedro Gouvêa Vieira Filho, of the Ipiranga group, one of the reasons for the reduction of tax evasion in the sector was the reduction of the ICMS (Tax on the Circulation of Goods and Services) rate on hydrated alcohol, from 25 % to 12%, by the São Paulo government, in December 2003. Since then, the formal trade in the product has increased by 68% in the state.
Another reason was the suspension of court injunctions for fuel purchases without paying taxes in advance. No injunction was authorized in the year. A third factor, according to Sindicom, was the Federal Police's more aggressive action against the fuel mafia.

Relative growth

According to official statistics, there was a growth of 39,6% in sales of hydrated alcohol last year. According to the executive vice president of Sindicom, Alísio Vaz, this percentage reflects the legalization of part of the sales in the underground market, and not an effective growth in consumption.
The clandestine market, despite the positive data displayed, remains large. According to Sindicom, 2,6 billion liters of anhydrous alcohol and 1,5 billion liters of hydrated alcohol were sold illegally in the country this year.
The entity estimates that 17,1% of the alcohol consumed in the State of Rio de Janeiro and 11,3% of the alcohol consumed in São Paulo are outside the specification of the ANP (National Petroleum Agency). The national average is 9,9%.
Among the types of fraud pointed out by Sindicom, is the addition of water to anhydrous alcohol, known in the market as "" wet alcohol ". Usually, anhydrous alcohol - used to mix up to 25% in gasoline - is sold without tax by the plants, with the refinery paying the tax.
The fraud consists in the purchase of the product by distributors who mix it with water and then resell it to the gas stations as hydrated alcohol. As the product does not pass through the refinery, the tax is not collected. Another form of fraud in the alcohol market is the so-called “pelican operation”. In this case, the hydrated alcohol leaves the plant with an invoice for anhydrous alcohol, without collecting tax.


According to data released by Sindicom, the sector had revenues of R $ 122 billion in 2003. Gasoline consumption increased 7,8%, against a 20,3% increase in vehicle gas sales, 6,6% diesel fuel and 39,6% % of hydrated alcohol (relativized by Sindicom).
Petrobras Distribuidora (BR), Ipiranga and Shell, the largest distributors in the country, increased their shares in the total sales of fuels and lubricants in relation to that recorded during 2003. BR's share in the fuel market went from 35,9% to 36,2 , 22,2%, while Ipiranga went from 22,8% to 13,7% and Shell, from 14,8% to XNUMX%.