Brazil’s promised tax overhaul is more ‘tweak’ than ‘reform’

Forget the "radical liberal reforms" that were promised. Economy Minister Paulo Guedes wants to change Brazil's tax system one drop at a time

Brazil's promised tax overhaul is rather an underwhelming tweak
Senate President Davi Alcolumbre (powder-blue mask) fist bumps Economy Minister Paulo Guedes at the presentation of the new tax reform bill. Photo: Pedro França/Senate

During the 2018 presidential campaign, Paulo Guedes made markets salivate with the promise of “radical liberal reforms” were he to become the country’s next Economy Minister. Playing the role of Jair Bolsonaro’s economic tsar, he pledged to completely overhaul the complex tax system and make Brazil a more business-friendly country.

However, these changes were not nearly as swift as Brazilian markets had hoped. A whole 18 months after taking office as Economy Minister, Mr. Guedes finally presented his tax reform bill this week — but calling it a ‘reform’ is a stretch, coming across more like a tweak that, while...

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