By a vote of 6 to 4 of its eleven judges, the Supreme Court in Brasilia ruled to confirm a previous 2004 decision of a now retired member of the Court against the Federal Government. The Government had asked the Court to overule a Superior Court of Justice judgement which recognized a tax exemption that the Government sustains to have been revoked.

The tax exemption was granted by Complementary Law 70/91 involving the federal tax named COFINS for professional service companies.

This confirmation represents a defeat to the Government in its attempts to overule the Superior Court of Justice decisions on the matter, and it will represent an additional burden for the Government in its efforts to submit the issue to the Supreme Court from a constitutional angle.

The Government sustains that the tax exemption granted by Complementary Law 70/91 was revoked by the Ordinary Law 9.430/96, on the grounds that the former one was materially an ordinary law.

Prado Garcia Advogados – Lawyers and Consultants point our, however, that an option made by the Brazilian Congress to adopt a Complementary Law where an ordinary would suffice is a political decision protected by the checks and balances principles under the Brazilian Constitution, among other grounds.