Inconstitucional redução de incentivos fiscais

Inconstitucional redução de incentivos fiscais

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Como já divulgado pelos veículos de comunicação, o Conselho Nacional de Política Fazendária (Confaz) editou o Convênio nº 42/2016 para autorizar os Estados a reduzirem em 10% (no mínimo) incentivos fiscais e financeiros existentes, bem como regimes especiais, que impliquem redução de ICMS a pagar.

Trata-se de uma iniciativa dos próprios Estados para tentar minimizar a situação de calamidade financeira em que se encontram, por conta de sucessivas administrações desastrosas.

A redução dos benefícios pode ocorrer de duas formas distintas: 1) mediante uma alteração no próprio ato normativo estadual que concedeu o incentivo (por exemplo, lei que previa uma redução de 50% na alíquota do imposto é modificada por nova lei, que passa estabelecer uma redução de 40%), ou, então, 2) por meio da exigência de um depósito mensal de parte do valor do ICMS que deixou de ser recolhido, direcionado a um fundo de desenvolvimento e equilíbrio fiscal a ser criado com essa finalidade (trata-se, como se vê, de uma “redução indireta” dos benefícios, bem diferente da hipótese anterior).

Como não poderia deixar de ser, os ditames do Convênio nº 42/2016 não têm força de lei, ou seja, precisam ser internalizados pelo Poder Legislativo de cada Estado, que optará pela alteração direta do ato que contempla o benefício ou pela criação do fundo de equilíbrio fiscal, que será composto pelos depósitos mensais dos contribuintes beneficiados.

Vários entes estaduais já internalizaram as disposições do Convênio nº 42/2016, podendo-se notar uma preferência pela instituição do fundo de equilíbrio fiscal, como aconteceu no Rio de Janeiro, Ceará, Acre, Piauí, Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba etc.

Importante lembrar que, apesar de as legislações falarem em depósito ao fundo de equilíbrio fiscal, o que se tem, efetivamente, é a exigência de um imposto: o ICMS. E nem poderia ser diferente, pois, caso se conclua que o valor exigido tem outra natureza, então faltaria competência aos Estados para exigi-lo, já que somente a União Federal tem autorização para criar novos impostos (competência residual, art. 154, I, da CF).

A exação também não pode ser confundida com empréstimo compulsório (pelo fato de alguns Estados preverem mecanismos de extensão do prazo de validade do benefício como forma de ressarcir os contribuintes do custo do depósito no fundo), pois, nesta espécie tributária, a devolução deve ser feita em dinheiro e a competência também é exclusiva da União.

Sobre a validade da exigência destes depósitos, inúmeros argumentos já foram levantados, sendo mais comuns os seguintes: i) afronta ao artigo 167, inciso IV, da Constituição Federal – que veda a vinculação de qualquer imposto (como o ICMS) a órgão, fundo ou despesa; ii) afronta ao princípio da anterioriedade, previsto no art. 150 da CF, pois com o depósito se está a reduzir benefício fiscal e, consequentemente, majorando a carga tributária; iii) nos casos em que o depósito é exigido em relação a benefícios fiscais concedidos a prazo certo e sob determinadas condições, há violação ao art. 178 do CTN, que veda tal conduta.

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Tem-se notícia de recentes decisões liminares favoráveis aos contribuintes no âmbito do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Aliás, contra a legislação fluminense, foi proposta recentemente ação direta de inconstitucionalidade (STF, ADI 5635) pela Confederação Nacional da Indústria, na qual aborda, dentre outros, os pontos acima indicados.

Há, contudo, um ponto que vem sendo pouco explorado pelos contribuintes, mas que tem o condão de jogar uma pá de cal na exigência dos depósitos mensais, qual seja: violação ao princípio da não cumulatividade previsto no artigo 155, §2º, inciso I, da Constituição Federal.

Ora, as legislações estaduais, no momento em que criam os fundos e impõem a realização de depósitos mensais – que não passam de ICMS, como já dissemos -, não autorizam que os contribuintes repassem em nota fiscal, mediante destaque, essa nova parcela do imposto que passou a gravar as suas operações.

No âmbito do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, por exemplo, isso fica muito claro ao se verificar que o depósito deverá ser efetuado com base na diferença, apurada ao final do mês, entre o valor de ICMS que foi efetivamente pago e montante que deveria ter sido recolhido caso não existissem os benefícios fiscais (Lei nº 7.428/16 – Decreto nº 45.810/16). Evidentemente, se a apuração do valor a ser depositado no fundo somente é feita após a contabilização de todas as saídas realizadas pelo contribuinte no mês, não há dúvidas de que este não pode incluir o referido valor (rectius, ICMS) em suas notas fiscais.

E existe uma lógica nesse procedimento, pois a exigência do depósito sem o correspondente destaque em nota fiscal impede que o adquirente do produto ou do serviço escriture os respectivos créditos, fato que mitigaria o potencial arrecadatório da nova medida.

Ao procederem dessa forma, os Estados estão ferindo o princípio da não cumulatividade, cujo pilar de sustentação é justamente a desoneração do vendedor da mercadoria e do prestador de serviço, na medida em que o ônus fiscal deve recair por completo sobre o consumidor final.

Em síntese, em que pese reconhecermos a gravidade da situação fiscal dos Estados, e que há a necessidade da adoção de medida urgentes, certamente que não é pela via do desrespeito às regras constitucionais e infraconstitucionais em matéria tributária que a solução há de ser encontrada. Pelo contrário, a manutenção da cobrança do fundo só irá gerar, à frente, maiores ônus aos Estados, que haverão de devolver aos contribuintes (com juros e acréscimos de sucumbência) os recursos que vierem a ser arrecadados.

Por Donovan Mazza Lessa e Marcos C. Piqueira Maia

Fonte: Valor Econômico 
Data: 16 de fevereiro de 2017
Acesso: 17 de fevereiro de 2017

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