September 28, 2017 / 12:02 AM / a year ago

Brazil's lower house approves changes to tax renegotiation program

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s lower house of Congress on Wednesday approved more favorable terms to taxpayers in a tax debt renegotiation program, potentially reducing revenues for the government as it struggles to close a gaping budget deficit.

The program, known as Refis, offers incentives for taxpayers to repay overdue debts in monthly installments.

The lower house still needs to vote on some proposed amendments before it sends the measure to the Senate, where it must win approval by early October, when the executive decree governing it expires.

With the changes approved by Congress, which include smaller fines and longer periods for repayment, the program could help the government raise about 10 billion reais ($3.13 billion) this year and next, Congressman Newton Cardoso Jr said on Tuesday.

The Planning Ministry previously expected to collect about 13 billion reais in 2017 alone with Refis. The government, which has sought to convince investors and ratings agency that it is working to keep public debt under control, targets a primary budget deficit of 159 billion reais this year.

Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello; Writing by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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