Since August 1, companies in the distribution of cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and mineral waters are required to comment on all invoices issued against it - confirming the transaction or pointing out inconsistencies, such as errors or even the unaware of the purchase. It is the so-called recipient's manifestation, an important tool created by the Brazilian revenue agencies as an evolution of the electronic invoice.
The objective is to “close the cycle” of selling and distributing a product, giving the tax authorities information from the moment the note is issued until the deal is closed. “Brazil is the first country to have this type of system”, says Eudaldo Almeida, general coordinator of the National Meeting of State Tax Coordinators and Administrators (ENCAT).
In order to disseminate the new requirements to its members, the ETCO-Brazilian Institute of Competition Ethics promoted in June, at its headquarters, a presentation by ENCAT representatives on the subject.
By the rules of the recipient's statement, whoever is identified on the invoice as the buyer of a product or taker of a service must confirm the existence of the commercial operation. This tool was instituted in 2012 and since March 2013 it was mandatory for fuel distributors. In July of the same year, the practice started to be demanded also from gas stations. A year later, the non-fuel alcohol sector was added to the list. “The choice of sectors that will be required to use this instrument is based on the economic importance and the risks of unfair competition present in these economic segments”, says Almeida.
LOSSES TO SOCIETY
The idea is, with confirmation by the recipient, to prevent fraud that occurs through the improper use of the numbers of the National Register of Legal Entities (CNPJ) or the State Registration (IE) of a taxpayer. This is usually done to cover up shady transactions carried out with other recipients or to take advantage of the tax substitution system, simulating the sale of products to states with lower taxes than those of destination. Another practice combated by the recipient's manifestation is the cancellation of already delivered goods bills - thus avoiding the collection of taxes. After the recipient confirms the transaction, it is no longer possible to cancel the invoice.
Fraudsters cause a series of losses to society by adopting this type of conduct. The tax authorities lose revenue. The taxpayer who had his data used improperly may have a headache when asked to explain about the purchase he did not make. As for companies that act within the law, the problem lies in having to face competitors who obtain advantages illegally.
In addition to the advantage of helping to combat possible fraud, the recipient's statement is a tool that gives those involved in the operation greater control over the shipping and delivery of goods. "As the confirmation can be seen by both the Revenue and by those who sold it, this instrument helps everyone to stay up to date on the process", says Jorge Luiz Oliveira, executive director of the National Union of Fuel and Lubricant Distribution Companies (Sindicom).
Like any system being implemented, the Recipient Manifestation still faces some challenges. One of the most important is to create ways to get taxpayers to carry out the demonstration within the legal timeframe. "Tax authorities need to act more strongly when there is no manifestation by the recipient, because in these cases there is a great risk of diversion," says Almeida.
According to representatives of the fuel sector, which has been using the system for some time, there is also a lack of agreements between state inspection bodies so that the revenue of the state receiving the goods can inspect the receipt of a note issued by another member of the federation. "Today, the highest rate of non-manifestation occurs in interstate transactions, which keeps an important gap open for fraudsters", says Antonio Rodrigues Filho, tax director at Sindicom. Another point of improvement suggested by representatives of the sector is better regulation of fines for those who do not make the manifestation of the recipient. Some states impose very mild punishments while others have created very severe fines. “We have to find a middle ground”, says Rodrigues. "But before that, we need to make enforcement more efficient."