(PT) Tax reform paves the way for book taxation - RMS Advogados
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Tax reform paves the way for book taxation


Bill No. 3,887 / 2020

With Bill No. 3,887 / 2020, which is currently being processed by the Chamber of Deputies, a debate began about the possible taxation of the publishing market, starting with the reform of the national tax system, which could make the acquisition of books more expensive by consumer.

The Federal Constitution establishes in its article 150, VI, “d”, as one of the limitations to the power to tax, the institution of taxes on books, newspapers, periodicals and the paper destined for its printing [1].

This is the so-called tax immunity of books, newspapers and periodicals, which, according to the Supreme Federal Court, aims to “prevent embarrassment to the exercise of freedom of intellectual, artistic, scientific and communication expression, as well as to facilitate access for the population. to culture, information and education “, thus constituting an important tool in the exercise of democracy [2].

For this reason, although the Supreme Court believes that the provision should be interpreted in a restrictive manner, it has decided that the tax benefit also covers: films and photographic papers necessary for the publication of newspapers and periodicals [3]; electronic books (e-books) and supports used exclusively to fix them [4]; the handouts [5]; and electronic components, when intended solely to integrate the teaching unit with printed periodic issues [6], among others.

Law nº 10.865 / 2004 [7], in turn, exempted books, these, in their broad conception, referred to in Law nº 10.753 / 2003, from the impact of the contribution to PIS / Pasep and Cofins, therefore, in terms of the latter, “the book is the main and irreplaceable means of spreading culture and transmitting knowledge, promoting social and scientific research, conserving national heritage, transforming and improving society and improving the quality of life”, Therefore, citizens must be guaranteed full exercise of the right to access and use the book, as well as the free circulation of the book in the country.

However, these exemptions have gained prominence in current discussions. In the text destined to the reform of the Brazilian tax system, the possibility for the so-called “taxation of books” was opened, which would be the taxation of the editorial market, from the unification of the two federal taxes on consumption, PIS and Cofins, creating Contribution on Goods and Services (CBS), with a rate of 12%. Thus, with the creation of CBS, it is understood that the exemption established in Law No. 10,865 / 2004, which is exclusive to PIS and Cofins, is no longer applicable.

The discussion is relevant. The extinction of tax exemptions to the book industry may represent an increase in the price of the final product, making it difficult, in practice, to access it. In addition, the measure will be able to discourage editorial production, putting in check the very subsistence of some niche markets, for example, that of bookstores, already immensely affected by the consequences of the pandemic.

Thus, as large consumers in the publishing market, it is valid for legal operators to closely monitor the progress of the project and its possible consequences.

[1] “Article 150 – Without prejudice to other guarantees provided to the taxpayer, the Union, the States, the Federal District and the Municipalities are prohibited:

VI – institute taxes on:

d) books, newspapers, periodicals and the paper intended for printing “.

[2] [RE 221.239, rel. min. Ellen Gracie, j. 25-5-2004, 2nd T, DJ from 6-8-2004.] = RE 179.893, rel. min. Menezes Direito, j. 15-4-2008, 1st T, DJE of 30-5-2008.

[3] Precedent 657, STF.

[4] [Thesis defined in RE 330.817, rel. min. Dias Toffoli, P, j. 8-3-2017, DJE 195 of 31-8-2017, Theme 593.].

[5] [RE 183.403, rel. min. Marco Aurélio, j. 7-11-2000, 2nd T, DJ from 4-5-2001.].

[6] [RE 595.676, rel. min. Marco Aurélio, j. 8-3-2017, P, DJE of 12/18/2017, Theme 259.] See RE 330.817, rel. min. Dias Toffoli, j. 8-3-2017, P, DJE of 31-8-2017, Theme 593.

[7] “Article 8 – Contributions will be calculated by applying, on the basis of calculation referred to in Article 7 of this Law, the rates:

12. The contribution rates are reduced to 0 (zero), in the event of import of:

XII – books, as defined in article 2 of Law No. 10,753, of October 30, 2003. (Wording given by Law No. 11,033, 2004) “.

Source: Conjur


By: Nathália Rodrigues


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