New weapons to combat tax evasion in the country


By Roberto Abdenur

Tax evasion is one of the factors that most compromise the development of an economy, especially when it comes to the economy of an emerging country, such as Brazil. All sorts of justifications are used by tax evaders, from the high tax burden, through the complex steps to pay taxes, to corruption among those responsible for the destination of the tax.

Although totally or partially true, in the vast majority of cases these justifications end up being used more as pretexts for a practice that has been eroding the health of the national economy: unfair competition. In order to face the problem, mega operations are carried out now and then. In August, for example, the Federal Police carried out one of these initiatives, with coordinated actions in the Federal District and in 17 states. The objective was to recover R $ 1 billion in deviated taxes from the public coffers. The operation was supported by the Federal Revenue Service and the Public Ministry.

These operations are very important, as they are part of the inspection effort. But prevention is also essential to avoid tax evasion.

In this case, technology can help. Especially when it provides the necessary resources for product tracking, from production to sale to the consumer. Mechanisms to track and control products have been developed in initiatives by companies and civil society institutions that have the collaboration of the Union and Federation units.

Two systems have had good results: the Beverage Production Control System (Sicobe) and the Cigarette Production Control and Tracking System (Scorpios). They are two sectors of the economy very well organized, but which often suffer unfair competition because they are in the sights of some producers eager to obtain competitive advantages through tax evasion.

There is yet another mechanism that should help States a lot in combating tax evasion. Result of a joint effort between the government of Bahia and ETCO, the BI NF-e should consolidate itself as a great ally in this struggle. Its immediate adoption by 14 state finance departments should be added to the rapid adhesion of the other states of the Federation, in a movement similar to what occurred with the Electronic Invoice.

With the implementation of the aforementioned instruments, everyone wins. The government, in all its spheres, has more resources to apply to social improvements; the private initiative, which now has more equitable market conditions, and society in general, which can consume tested and approved quality products, from their manufacture to the point of sale.

Roberto Abdenur is President of ETCO