Brazil: STJ julga se é crime deixar de recolher ICMS declarado

Last Updated: 16 March 2018
Article by Veirano E Advogados Associados
Most Read Contributor in Brazil, October 2018

A 3ª Seção do Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ) iniciou julgamento de processo que discute se pode ser considerado crime o não recolhimento de valores de ICMS declarados corretamente pelo contribuinte. Por ora, há dois votos, em sentidos contrários. Retomado ontem, o julgamento foi suspenso por pedido de vista.

O tema chegou à 3ª Seção (REsp 1598005) após decisões em sentidos contrários nas turmas de direito penal. No caso em julgamento, o Ministério Público do Estado de Santa Catarina denunciou criminalmente o sócio de uma empresa que declarou valores de ICMS sobre operações próprias e não os recolheu.

O Tribunal de Justiça de Santa Catarina (TJ-SC) manteve a condenação do empresário à pena de oito meses de detenção, em regime inicial aberto e pagamento de 13 dias-multa. Para os desembargadores, há infração ao artigo 2, II da Lei 8.137, de 1990, combinada com o artigo 71 do Código Penal, que trata do crime continuado. O artigo 2º estabelece que é crime à ordem tributária deixar de recolher tributo no prazo legal.

Na 3ª Seção, os ministros analisam a tipicidade penal na conduta de não recolhimento de ICMS em operações próprias declaradas ao Fisco. O relator do processo, ministro Rogerio Schietti, destacou que o assunto não diz respeito apenas ao Estado de Santa Catarina e tem relevância social e econômica.

Outros Estados, além do Distrito Federal, são amicus curiae (partes interessadas): Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraná, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Roraima, Sergipe e o Tocantins.

Em seu voto, o relator negou o pedido do empresário. Para Schietti, muitos que deixam de pagar impostos se aproveitam das consequências menores do inadimplemento. Segundo o ministro, os empresários podem pensar que é muito mais vantajoso deter valores do tributo do que se submeter a empréstimos no sistema financeiro, o que teria consequências negativas para os Estados.

Ontem, com a retomada do julgamento, a ministra Maria Thereza de Assis Moura divergiu. Ela diferenciou o contribuinte que apenas deixa de pagar ICMS daqueles casos em que há fraude. De acordo com Maria Thereza, no caso concreto, não há apropriação de tributo devido por terceiro.

Para a ministra, o comerciante que vende mercadoria com ICMS embutido no preço e depois deixa de recolher o tributo não comete apropriação indébita tributária porque o consumidor não é o contribuinte do ICMS.

No caso, o réu é administrador de empresa que realizou venda de mercadorias com valor do ICMS incluído no preço. Embora ele tenha registrado regularmente o imposto incluído, deixou de pagá-lo.

A ministra, em seu voto, fez um paralelo com o Imposto de Renda. Para Maria Thereza, há inadimplência fiscal se o contribuinte de IR informa corretamente mas deixa de recolher o Darf (documento de arrecadação de receitas federais) no prazo.

Há sonegação fiscal, acrescentou, quando ele presta informações falsas ainda que recolha o Darf no prazo devido. Para a ministra, uma coisa é a fraude para iludir o Fisco, outra é declarar corretamente o valor mas deixar de pagar no prazo.

Há um debate sobre qual seria a interpretação adequada da lei que trata de crimes contra a ordem tributária - nº 8.137, de 1990. De acordo com o advogado Abel Amaro, do escritório Veirano Advogados, a norma prevê que é crime deixar de recolher tributo, mas tem que ser observado de acordo com a natureza do imposto, "senão qualquer inadimplemento vira crime, incluindo atrasos". "É diferente do sonegador, que intencionalmente esconde", afirmou.

De acordo com o advogado, o crime previsto no artigo 2º se aplica se, por exemplo, a empresa desconta a contribuição previdenciária de um empregado mas não faz o repasse ao poder público. "Isso é crime, você fez uma retenção, a pessoa é descontada e você não recolhe", diz. Seria diferente do pagamento de ICMS, como pontuou a ministra Maria Thereza.

Com o pedido de vista do ministro Reynaldo Fonseca, não há previsão de quando o julgamento será retomado.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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