Computer sector withholds R $ 640 million annually


Author: Martha Beck

Source: O Globo, 21/10/2007

BRASILIA. The outbreak of Operation Persona - with the discovery of a fraud scheme for imports in the IT area, which benefited the American multinational giant Cisco - is far from representing an isolated case of tax evasion in the segment. Currently, according to data from the Instituto Brasil Legal, formed by large companies in the sector of computer and electronic equipment, 30% of the market today is informal, failing to collect public coffers, conservatively estimated, R $ 642 million per year.


According to the entity's president, Edson Vismona, this represents 42,8% of what companies in good standing with the tax authorities pay in taxes per year: R $ 1,5 billion, equivalent to what the Federal Revenue expects to recover with Persona, including correction and fines on the basis that should have been paid.


Tax evasion gives rise to unfair competition In addition to the practice of crime, points out Vismona, the tax evasion fever in the sector instituted unfair competition. Cisco itself, according to sources from the Federal Police and Revenue, represents 80% of its segment due to a table worthy of the USA, with products that arrived in Brazil sometimes at cost prices. On average, the American company offered 50% cheaper equipment on the market.


- Although the government has reduced the tax burden for the computer sector and reinforced the fight against tax evasion, smuggling and piracy, there is still a large part of the market that operates in illegality - said Vismona, whose entity does not have Cisco among He recalled that operations like Persona are positive for the sector, but they are not enough.


According to Vismona, it is necessary to adopt measures such as, for example, installing scanners in primary areas (where goods that arrive in the country are cleared). The IRS says that the purchase of this equipment is on the priority list, but resources are lacking.


According to the president of the Etco Institute, André Franco Montoro Filho, informality in the IT sector is bad not only because of the loss caused to public coffers, but for the companies that practice irregularities. He said that cases of companies that practiced under-invoicing or other types of tax evasion are more and more common and end up breaking when they try to expand their businesses. This occurs either because they are identified in revenue inspection operations, or because they try to obtain financing from banks and their tax liability is discovered.


- If the company is informal, it accumulates a liability that makes it difficult for it to make a quality leap in its business - said Montoro, who said he was surprised by Cisco's involvement in a major fraud scheme in foreign trade. - In general, this occurs with smaller companies.


According to Edson Vismona, informality in the sector dropped from 74% in 2004 to 50% in 2006. This is due to the incentives granted by the government - such as the PIS / Cofins exemption for computers of up to R $ 4 thousand - and also to the reinforcement of inspection work.

This year, the Federal Revenue Service has already seized almost R $ 750 million, with computer products accounting for 13%, or R $ 98 million.