Digital tax system reduces company costs


Source: DCI, 23/06/2008

Medium and large-sized Brazilian companies expect to save on personnel and administrative and tax processes as of next year, due to the entry into force of the Public Digital Bookkeeping System (Sped), a technological platform, in tests since 2003, which brings together in a single computer environment the applications of Electronic Invoice (NF-e) and digital accounting and fiscal bookkeeping.


In addition, businesspeople also hope to see their investments in the transition to the more modern model be rewarded, in the future, with an eventual reduction in the country's high tax burden, since Sped will give municipal, state and federal tax authorities more strength to combat tax evasion and, therefore, a much greater revenue potential.

“Yes, it is viable, because it ends up being a return on all this investment that is being made now. The government says that the tax rate is high due to the non-payment, so if we increase the payment, the counterpart would be to lower some rates or standardize taxes in a tax reform ”, charges Emerson Lopes, Controllership manager at Sodexo, one of the companies that is in the first steps to adopt Sped. "Right now, we have an internal movement centered on the financial area, but within a month the entire organization will be involved".


According to Lopes, Sodexo has already invested R $ 500 thousand in systems that still need to be adapted. The company's goal is to reduce monthly expenses between R $ 50 thousand and R $ 60 thousand for paper purchases, printing up to 330 thousand invoices per month, maintaining files and also paying employees. “It is a natural trend, all process and flow optimization ends up generating optimization of the workforce. But it is still immature to say that from a staff of 17 professionals in the tax area we are going to reduce it to ten ”, he exemplifies.


Julian Garrido Del Val Neto, chief financial and controlling officer for Latin America at General Electric (GE), also believes that the company could cut spending. "We are going to decrease with processes and the number of people," said Val Neto.
More advanced in the process of transition to Sped, both in the accounting and tax areas, GE has already invested US $ 3 million in the technological part and has the involvement of directors and employees in the operational area. The multinational wants to meet the deadlines required by the IRS. “Our biggest concern is compliance with the law. Then we hope that the reduction of the tax burden will come in the future and also that the model will bring more competitiveness and more transparency. ”


Indirectly, the director of the Federal Revenue, Eduardo Machado, national supervisor of Sped, recognizes that the modernization will bring cost reductions for tax entities and may result in a reduction in rates. “As we will no longer deal with paper and printing, we will save money by simplifying audits and improving inspection. The system will encourage formalization and close the siege to tax evaders in order, perhaps, in the future, to open the possibility to reduce rates ”, envisaged Machado.



Sped's national coordination, led by the IRS, in partnership with the State Finance Departments and 25 companies participating in the pilot project, established deadlines and obligations for 2008 and 2009.


In April and September this year, companies from various sectors are required to issue electronic invoices for transactions with suppliers. Sped Contábil is already valid for about 12 thousand large firms of the special tax inspection regime, which are expected to deliver the first digital bookkeeping of their operations, for the base year 2008, in June 2009. The rest begin to operate with data of fiscal year 2009. In the case of Sped Fiscal, which will have an impact on the tax area, millions of companies opting for the Real Profit regime will be required to make all their tax declarations and accessory obligations by the new digital medium as of January of the year next.


Eduardo Machado, stressed that the federal government is committed to strictly meeting the established deadlines. In 2008, the Federal Government will allocate R $ 100 million for the purchase of computer equipment to help equip municipal inspection posts and state finance departments across the country.




Edirceu Rossi Werneck, tax consultant at Deloitte, a company that advises on the implementation of the transition from the current model to Sped, says that there will be a rush to make the adjustments. “Large companies, with greater investment capacity and which have already been notified by the IRS, will have no problem, but in the universe of companies in Brazil this is very little, so they will certainly have difficulty adapting. Companies are just starting discussions about who is going to do the information technology (IT) part, what information they will have to make available. They will only realize that the difficulty is great when they start implementing the project ”, warned Rossi.


In the evaluation of engineer Cláudio Coli, director of operations at Mastersaf, large companies are better prepared, but “there are cases and cases”. "As a rule, they are better able to invest, but despite this they can present more complex operations, which can make implementation more difficult," commented Coli. Mastersaf designs software that can be used for the application of Sped.
According to him, the most difficult part of the transition is decision making. “The investment grade will depend on the company's status. The central problem is the internal decision, understanding the needs and knowing how to reevaluate the internal processes and be willing to change them. ”