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Petrobras may have relief in a billion dollar dispute with the Federal Revenue Service

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An Provisional Measure issued by the government recently may free Petrobras from a dispute over the revenue from the payment of taxes on platform leases that, according to the state company, totals R $ 52.7 billion.

In a statement distributed to the market on Wednesday August 23th, the company states that the Provisional Measure makes it possible to close “a significant portion of the company’s litigation regarding this matter.”

The government’s understanding is that the Provisional Measure recognizes the calculation formula that it has been adopting for years to collect Withholding Income Tax (IRRF) on the chartering of oil drilling rigs and platforms.

Asked by the Revenue, the model adopted by Petrobras divides the payment to the suppliers in two invoices: of services, on which the IRRF is levied, and the rent of the vessel, exempt because it is an operation carried out abroad between state subsidiaries and Owners of the equipment.

At the beginning of 2014, a change in understanding of Revenue in relation to the model generated a first assessment of the state company, of R $ 3.9 billion, and the beginning of audits in the charter contracts not only of the state but also of other oil companies in the country.

The argument is that all the value paid in charter contracts refers to services and would be subject to tax collection.

Prepared to deal with the tax exemption regime for the importation of petroleum equipment, Provisional Measure #795, brought a new vision on the subject, aligned with the oil companies’ lawsuit.

The text authorizes the division of the payment for service and rent and defines that the part related to the rent, which is exempt from IRRF, can not exceed 80 percent of the value of the platform contract and 85 percent of the contracts of probes.

As of January 1st of next year, the percentages will be 70 percent on platforms and 75 percent in the case of probes.

For Petrobras, the Provisional Measure “recognizes the form of hiring historically adopted by the industry”.

Company says that of the total of R $ 52.7 billion in dispute, will have to pay only the difference between what it collected and the limits imposed by the MP plus interest and that will have amnesty of the fines, if it agrees to give up administrative actions And judicial.

Asked by Folha newspaper, the company did not say what the payment amount was. She had not made provision in her balance sheet for the losses.

Provisional Measure also frees the state from another dispute, in the amount of R $ 15.6 billion, for divergences regarding the accounting deduction of investments made in exploration and production of oil.

The text allows for the anticipation of the deduction of expenses, which reduces the profit – and, therefore, the payment of taxes, in the first years of each project.