Derived from the term “phIlantropy” and associated with dishonest acts by persons who are pilantras — low-down liars and shameless villains.
Giving with one hand and taking much more with the other is a morally indefensible practice.
The program takes in 0.5% of what the federa tax authority is trying to collect from Globo.
Taxes are one of the most hot-button topics of the modern world, and the Diário do Centro do Mundo has covered the topic closely.
In the U.S., for example, Barack Obama used this topic to attack his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. Romney is a rich man, but has paid only a small percentage in taxes in comparison with an ordinary worker.
Obama defied Romney to public his tax returns for the past five years. If he would do this, Obama swore not to say another word on the subject. Romney refused, and came up short in the elections.
And now, the rest of the world. A study by the independent institute TJN shows that in 2012, more than US$ 30 trillion were hidden away in fiscal paradises, out of the reach of the tax man.
If that astounding sum were declared as income, it would generate taxes of US$ 3 trillion, based on what is thought to be a moderate tax rate of 10%.
The last time I worked as a salary man, my tax rate was 36% or more.
Let us remember. Taxes suck, and no one likes them, not even you and I. But thax are how governments build schools, roads, hospitals, and so on. Therefore, they are of extreme public interest.
And now, Brazil .
A spectacular news story … was published a while back in the Radar column of Veja magazine, by Lauro Jardim: Globo — the Paradise of the “PJs” — has been presented with a bill for R$ 2.1 billion by the federal tax authority, covering taxes it allegedly should have set aside, but didn’t.
According to Radar, another 69 companies were the subject of fiscal audits. All of them succeeded in working out their problems in the courts, all of them except for Globo — poor little Globo, a lonely victim, but there you have it.
As a matter of public interest, the federal tax authority has to clarify this case. It is about time the tax authority undergoes a shock of transparency — something which the Lula government unfortunately left undone, as has Dilma — so far, at least.
If this were a perfect world, the Brazilian news media would cover this sort of lack of fiscal transparency for its reading and viewing public. But the world is not perfect. For years, the media has occupied itself reporting on a parallel market.
I myself wrote dozens of reports on companies with tax troubles. Tax avoidance undermines one of the sacred pillars of capitalism: the equality of competitors in the marketplace. An indefensible competitive advantage is provided to companies that don’t pay taxes. They can invest more, charge less for their products, and so on.
In recent years, this sort of story is given less and less space in the news agenda. At the same time, large corporations have been perfecting their “fiscal planning” skills. This is true of Brazil and it is true all over the world. The NY Times, not long ago, published a story in which reported that the accunting department at Apple Computers is as ingenious as product design. Apple maintains a headquarters in Nevada, where corporate income tax is zero. With that, is avoids having to pay an estimated R$ 3 billion to R$ 5 billion a year.
Large media companies, in Brazil and abroad, have also been looking for questionable ways to pay less tax. In the U.K. the BBC registered some of its most expensive journalists, such as Jeremy Paxton, as the equivalent of what in Brazil is known as a PJ — a pessoa jurídica, or limited liability corporation — a corporate as opposed to a physical entity.
In Brazil, in fact, many of the journalists who write incessant rants against corruption are PJs, and apparently see no moral irony in the fact. Don’t expect to ever read a new report on the world of the PJs.
The outcry against tax evasion is no longer heard from the news media, at the same time as the media companies perfect their “fiscal planning” — a type of legal, though immoral, tax avoidance scheme.
The sum to be collected from Globo – the company can and will appeal the case, according to Radar — is too large not to be a matter of public interest.
Globo collects about R$ 10 million for its Criança Esperança charity program.
This is about 0.5% of the amount it owes to the tax man.
This shadowy scheme should be examined by the light of day and in the name of he public interest — whether Globo’s unpaid tax bill is judge to be legal or not.
In England, they not only publish stories on companies that pay much less tax than they should, such as Google and Starbucks, but is beginning to report on the law firms most sought after by corporations interested in legal tax evasion.
As to the rest, the most effective philanthropy that companies and millionaires can practice is simply to pay the tax they owe. The rest, as Shakespeare says, is silence.