Guatemala: Fijación de Incentivos para la Recaudación Fiscal

Last Updated: 25 June 2018
Article by Jose Quiñones

Las últimas décadas en materia de recaudación fiscal han sido marcadas por dos cuestionamientos grandes en Guatemala: el primero,  el bajo porcentaje de recaudación sobre el producto interno bruto (especialmente al compararse con otras economías de América Latina), y  el segundo,  la concentración de la base tributaria.  Rara vez escuchamos a alguien que acepte ambas premisas como válidas y menos que sugiera, adicionalmente, que la mejora en la recaudación depende más de la simplificación y transparencia impositiva que de un incremento en tasas impositivas.     Quizá es que al igual que en una economía familiar basada en ingresos fijos en donde el riesgo de que cualquier cambio incida en la estabilidad del mes paraliza cualquier emprendimiento;  nadie cuya carrera dependa de la opinión pública está dispuesto a evaluar las raíces del problema y contradecir los "convenios de recaudación"1 que año con año se celebran entre el Presidente de la República y el Superintendente de Administración Tributaria, convenios responsables de diversos titulares de prensa y de más de algún incentivo perverso.

La recaudación fiscal en Guatemala está concentrada en dos impuestos principales: el Impuesto al Valor Agregado y el Impuesto Sobre la Renta.  Tomemos de referencia el año completo 2016 en el cual el Impuesto Sobre la Renta (ISR) representó aproximadamente 29% de la recaudación anual, mientras el Impuesto al Valor Agregado (IVA) cerca del 44%, éste último dividido entre montos similares por importaciones del 24% e IVA doméstico del 24%.  Sumados responden por el 76% de la recaudación anual.

A nivel de IVA doméstico se calculan altas cifras de incumplimiento e informalidad, en sectores con ventas domésticas significativas entre 1.5% y 4% del PIB dependiendo de la fuente.   Sin duda una reacción fácil,  al ver que Guatemala con una recaudación de IVA alrededor de un 5% del PIB es de las más bajas en América Latina,  podría ser el considerar elevar la tasas de dicho impuesto del 12% actual a quizá al 15%, aunque sin duda no vendría sin una dosis importante de costo político.  Por otro lado la complejidad en el manejo del IVA en sectores informales aunada a una baja capacidad de fiscalización, hacen que la carga del IVA pese importantemente sobre las importaciones y no sobre el valor agregado doméstico.   La fiscalización y la complejidad son enemigos de la formalidad. 

Para quienes prefieren mantener su estado actual y asumir el riesgo de operar en la informalidad, el salto a la formalidad es una barrera significativa, pero queda claro que dependemos en forma importante de un sistema complejo de cálculo sobre el valor agregado cuyas premisas muchas veces no se conocen por los contribuyentes y una renta imponible cuya determinación es el resultado de una carrera de obstáculos arbitraria y cambiante.  Sin duda fuente de trabajo para asesores y técnicos,  y aliado importante de la informalidad.

 El sistema tributario es un apéndice integrado a la economía, que en su estado ideal debiera garantizar el funcionamiento básico del Estado con una afectación positiva o neutra al proceso  económico.  Nada positivo logra un sistema de fiscalización invasivo que desincentive la producción, impida ampliar la base tributaria y por el contrario incentive la inversión de capitales fuera del territorio;  "mejorar" la recaudación a costa de una economía quebrantada no tiene sentido.  Por otro lado mantener un clima de desigualdad donde algunos sectores contribuyen poco o nada, fomenta  una baja moral tributaria,  contribuye a la desigualdad social y obstaculiza la cohesión cuando no existe un sentimiento genuino de aportar y poder exigir del sistema.

Sin duda las ciencias económicas no están articuladas sobre ecuaciones lineales.  Como ejemplo, hoy se revive el recurrente debate de los efectos de la reducción de impuestos sobre los ingresos reales de los trabajadores, discusión que ha sido materia de polémica por décadas entre economistas.  Hasta  hoy no conozco un bando victorioso, pero sí ejemplos mixtos donde un estímulo económico puede generar un crecimiento salarial general basado en la reducción de la oferta laboral y una competencia en salarios para atraer talento, generando mayores ingresos formales que contribuyan fiscalmente al sistema.  Sin duda este debate al menos deja claro que elevar la carga impositiva sin evaluar otros factores tendría un efecto que por lo menos se pueda catalogar como no-lineal e impredecible.

Los tiempos actuales parecieran un momento ideal para trabajar sobre un sistema de recaudación fiscal que se perciba como más justo y a la vez tomar pasos firmes para estimular la inversión y el emprendimiento.  Si las decisiones las dejamos en manos de quienes solo tienen un objetivo y no tienen un incentivo directo para ver un panorama completo,  podemos terminar estirando la recaudación sobre un modelo cuya elasticidad pareciera estar alcanzando sus límites.  Es imprescindible evaluar el sistema tributario como parte del sistema económico general y no al revés.

Las últimas reformas tributarias y sus antecesoras,  se basan en presunciones de incumplimiento y evasión, reduciendo más los gastos deducibles, trasladando funciones recaudadores a los contribuyentes, distorsionando la correcta devolución de créditos fiscales, asumiendo valores de mercado para tasas impositivas creadas sobre valores fiscales. Más reformas en ese sentido equivalen a  tapar filtraciones pero no nos dejarán con un sistema más robusto.  Al contrario, corremos el riesgo de provocar fisuras cuya reparación no estamos en capacidad de afrontar.

Debemos emprender un esfuerzo que tome en cuenta los resultados totales, tanto en las fuentes de la recaudación como en el uso correcto de los recursos, extremo que pareciera al día de hoy el más descuidado de todos.   Cualquier análisis debe revisar las premisas sobre las que se debe basar el sistema, evaluando la sencillez en cálculos, fácil y eficiente fiscalización por la autoridad fiscal y cumplimiento por el contribuyente, y transparencia en la ejecución de los recursos, de tal forma que la formalidad no sea materia de un proceso de decisión, y los procesos de recaudación no se basen en presunciones y arbitrariedad. Cualquier esfuerzo de reforma debe estar dispuesto a renunciar el pasado y enfocarse en un mejor futuro para una recaudación integral.    El clima para algo parecido pareciera cercano, aunque los actores no han entrado en el escenario.   Si hay algo claro es que la discusión no debe limitarse a cuanto, sin incluir el cuándo,  quién,  cómo, y para qué.

  Footnote

1 https://portal.sat.gob.gt/portal/meta-de-recaudacion-y-cumplimiento/#1506901809579-6fa8b517-48c0

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Jose Quiñones
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions