With the floor, Joaquim Levy

Minister of Finance closed the X ENAT talking about the progress made in the meeting, tax simplification and resumption of growth


Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, at the closing ceremony of the X ENAT
Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, at the closing ceremony of the X ENAT

The closure of X ENAT was attended by the Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy. He thanked the participants, spoke of the importance of collaboration between the tax authorities of the Union, states and municipalities to increase the efficiency of tax collection, highlighted the need for tax simplification and also spoke of his expectations regarding the resumption of economic growth. Check out the main sections.


The work of tax administrators

Joaquim Levy: Tax administrators have an essential, essential and indispensable role for the maintenance of the State, the capacity of the public sector to be providing benefits for the entire population, such as national security, individual security, health, education. This work must always be recognized.

ENAT's achievements

Joaquim Levy: Since 2003, when ENATs started, we have evolved a lot. This is a highly technical meeting, but it has a huge impact on the economy. The advances that were achieved at the meeting show the importance of working together. Of course, the other side [that of the tax evaders] has also shown itself to be increasingly sophisticated. The expectations of circumventing the tax authorities are increasingly sophisticated, which is why we also have to keep advancing and developing new tools.

Tax simplification

Joaquim Levy: We are often penalized in international rankings [for the quality of the business environment] for the perception that it is difficult to pay taxes in Brazil. And sometimes it is, because we are a federation, because there are differences, because the tax burden ends up being high to provide revenues that are quite significant for a country like ours, so that we can pay all the benefits that are legislated. But I think that even guaranteeing the level of revenue that the country needs, there are ways to continue working on simplification. The key word for Brazil now is productivity. The advances achieved within the scope of ENAT will increase our capacity to collect and at the same time facilitate the lives of those who produce, those who are there generating wealth and well-being for the population, who are the taxpayers.

Fiscal adjustment and resumption of growth

Joaquim Levy: We are going through a moment of important adjustment, of a rebalancing of the economy. Despite the turbulence, our economy has already responded positively to some measures that were taken at the beginning of the year. I am absolutely convinced that, once the turbulence is over, the economy will make an important recovery and we will also see the revenue increase. I believe that the potential of our economy is present and the possibility of recovery, even next year, is not negligible.

Levy says that granting incentives to companies creates legal uncertainty

The granting of tax incentives to the private sector creates legal risk, said Finance Minister Joaquim Levy on Monday, reinforcing that the fiscal adjustment put in place by the government is important to alleviate investors' fears.

"The idea of ​​offering tax incentives to companies at this time creates legal uncertainty," said the minister in a speech by the France Brazil Chamber of Commerce, in São Paulo.

Image: Wikicommons

To read the full story, click here


Fiscal adjustment requires commitment from States

Joaquim Levy, Minister of Finance, participates in the first CONFAZ meeting of the year
Joaquim Levy, Minister of Finance, participates in the first CONFAZ meeting of the year

The Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, was at the beginning of February at the National Council for Farm Policy (Confaz). In explaining to the state finance secretaries what the government's objectives are this year, that is, to spend less and collect more, the minister recommended that the states do their part to contribute to the fiscal adjustment.

Levy pointed out that the lack of rules for tax incentives granted by the states creates legal uncertainty, hindering the recovery of confidence and the resumption of growth. According to the minister, the government will support a consensus in relation to the validation of the incentives already granted, which is decisive to remove the legal uncertainty resulting from changes in tax incentive policies.

Some governors have already anticipated the minister's request. In Mato Grosso, a working group formed by representatives of the Secretariats for Economic Development (Sedec) and Finance (Sefaz) and the State Comptroller General was created to audit the tax incentives granted. The conclusions of the investigations are expected to be announced in April.

Mato Grosso also created another working group, formed by representatives of Sedec, Sefaz and the Secretariat of Planning (Seplan) to study a new policy model to attract investments. According to the secretary of Economic Development, Seneri Paludo, "the important thing is to create a new policy to attract investments and not just a policy of fiscal incentive".

Amid the discussion about rules for tax incentives and tax collection, the government of Espírito Santo estimated that it will stop collecting about R $ 1 billion this year because of the tax waiver of the companies being taxed. The new secretary of Finance, Ana Paula Vescovi, has reiterated the need for fiscal adjustment measures. Among the measures discussed are cutting public funds, reducing the transfer of funds to city halls and even increasing taxes.

The governor of Rio de Janeiro, Luiz Fernando Pezão, stated at the end of January that he “intends to suspend the tax benefits granted to the Petrochemical Complex of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Comperj), which benefit Petrobras. With these benefits, Petrobras collected R $ 2014 million less in ICMS in 400 than in 2013. “We cannot live without these resources. They are fundamental for the collection of the State ”, affirmed Pezão.

This is the time to deepen the national discussion on taxes and incentives, which have already served the purpose of attracting investments, and it is expected that Congress, on the return from recess, will advance in the negotiations for the reform of the ICMS. The proposal under evaluation provides for a gradual reduction in interstate ICMS rates, over a period of eight years. "The country needs this agreement," said recently the coordinator of Confaz and Secretary of Finance of Pará, José Tostes Neto. “The worst scenario would be to leave the binding summary of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) before the agreement.”


“Fiscal war between states hinders ICMS reform”, says Levy

Joaquim Levy, new Minister of Finance
Joaquim Levy, new Minister of Finance

A fierce federative dispute could mark the Senate's examination of the reform of the Tax on Circulation of Goods and Services (ICMS), announced as one of the government's priorities by the new Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, at the ceremony for the transfer of office, at Monday (5).

Initially proposed by President Dilma Rousseff, in the Senate Draft Resolution (PRS) 1/2013, the gradual unification of interstate rates has been discussed for two years by senators, with four public hearings and several meetings of the Committee on Affairs Economic (CAE).

Although the commission approved a substitute, in May 2013, several points of the proposal, such as the exceptions to unification and the compensation of losses with the change, divided the parliamentarians. The matter is now being processed by the Regional Development and Tourism Commission (CDR).

The formula then found - increasing the number of rates and not unification - displeased the government, which dropped the Provisional Measure (MP) 599/2012, one of the points on which the reform was based. It established two funds: one to compensate for the loss of revenue resulting from unification and the other to fill the post-fiscal war scenario, a regional development policy.

The other point of the tripod was the validation of tax incentives granted unilaterally by the states involved in the fiscal war. Without the vote to unify the rates, the validation did not succeed in the proposal initially sent by the Executive, which passed through the Chamber of Deputies as the Complementary Law Project (PLP) 238/2013 and, in the Senate, as PLC 99/2013. It remained in the project, which became Complementary Law 148/2014, only the part that deals with the refinancing of the debts of the states.

Convalidation becomes necessary in the face of repeated decisions by the Supreme Federal Court considering the tax incentives granted by the states without the unanimity of the National Council for Farm Policy (Confaz) to be unconstitutional. The requirement is provided for in Complementary Law 24/1975, which regulates the agreements for exemption or reduction of ICMS rates.

In the speech of job transfer, Joaquim Levy defended a reform that discourages the fiscal war. According to him, a change that at the same time reduces the tax rates at source and eliminates the legal risks of the incentives already granted will favor the resumption of incentives in the states.

Source: Congresso em Foco (06/01)


To read the full story, click here