Source: Valor Econômico (São Paulo - SP) - 29/05/2012
President Dilma Rousseff gave the approval for the economic area to deepen the studies for the unification of the Contribution to the Financing of Social Security (Cofins) and the Contribution to the Social Integration Program (PIS). Unable to approve a comprehensive tax reform, the federal government has given priority to specific changes in the Brazilian tax system to simplify corporate tax collection.
Last Friday, the simplification of PIS / Cofins was the subject of a meeting between the president and secretaries Nelson Barbosa (executive of the Ministry of Finance) and Carlos Alberto Barreto (IRS). The coordinator of the government's Management, Performance and Competitiveness Policies Chamber, businessman Jorge Gerdau, also participated in the meeting. The unification of the rates can be done by ordinary law or provisional measure, in case it receives the green light from the president.
The discussion about changes in the PIS and Cofins was already part of the preliminary studies of the Federal Revenue, but there was no government guidance for them to gain priority. The meeting with the president shows that the matter now has a chance to get off the ground more quickly. Especially because, in addition to reducing interest rates and protecting the exchange rate to make Brazilian industry more competitive, President Dilma Rousseff has said that it is necessary to reduce taxes in the country.
In November last year, the Federal Revenue Secretary stated, in an interview with Value, that a new design for PIS and Cofins was on the agency's agenda, which hoped to reduce the legal disputes involving the complex legislation of the two taxes, the payment of which may generate tax credit. “Our Cofins regulation is the most bulky of all, and the system generates a series of distortions. Understanding how Cofins works is very complex, ”said Barreto. These changes are also an old request from Gerdau to the government.
The simplification of PIS / Cofins enters the same discussion of “sliced” tax reform that the government has been implementing since last year. The first step was the exemption from the payroll of some sectors of the economy, which started to collect the social security contribution on gross revenue. Then, already this year, the government unified the interstate ICMS rate on imported goods and merchandise at 4%, after negotiation and debate in the Federal Senate on the movement that became known as the “war of the ports”. Electricity taxation is also on the government's agenda.
Studies by the Ministry of Finance involve simplifying PIS / Cofins and reducing the cost of electricity to consumers. Both, considered “profound” but “one-off” changes should be taken by President Dilma Rousseff later this year.
PIS / Cofins earned public coffers R $ 69,2 billion in the first four months of this year - a result 1,9% higher than the same period in 2011. If the simplification under study in the economic area represents a loss of revenue, the government should increase the rate of the new unified tax. The PIS / Cofins rate today is 9,25%.