This excerpt taken from the PBR 6-K filed Apr 10, 2007.
Plaintiff: Internal Revenue Service of Rio de Janeiro Withholding Tax related to charter of vessels
The Internal Revenue Service of Rio de Janeiro filed two Tax Assessments against the Company in connection with Withholding Tax (IRRF) on foreign remittances of payments related to charter of vessels of movable platform types for the years 1998 through 2002.
The Internal Revenue Service, based on Law No. 9,537/97, Article 2, considers that drilling and production platforms cannot be classified as sea-going vessels and therefore should not be chartered but leased. Based on this interpretation, overseas remittances for servicing chartering agreements would be subject to withholding tax at the rate of 15% or 25%.
The Company disagrees with the Internal Revenue Services interpretation as to charter contracts, given that the Federal Supreme Court has already ruled that, in the context of its judgment with respect to the IPI (Federal VAT) tax, offshore platforms are to be classified as sea-going vessels. Additionally, the 1994 and 1999 Income Tax Regulations support the non-taxation (RIR/1994) and the zero tax rate (RIR/1999) for the remittances in question.
On June 27, 2003, the Internal Revenue Service served a tax assessment notice on the Company amounting to R$3,064 million (US$1,066) covering the period from 1999 to 2002. Using the same arguments, on February 17, 2003, another tax assessment notice had already been issued for R$93 million (US$32) with respect to 1998, against which, on March 20, 2003, the Company filed an appeal. According to the fiscal authorities, the Company should have withheld that tax, incident on remittances made to abroad for payment of the hiring of vessels of the mobile platform type, used in oil exploration and production.
19. Commitments and Contingencies (Continued)
(c) Tax assessments (Continued)
Plaintiff: Internal Revenue Service of Rio de Janeiro Withholding Tax related to charter of vessels (Continued)
Petrobras has defended itself against these tax assessments. Administrative appeals were lodged with High Court of Appeals for Fiscal Matters, last administrative level, which still await trial. The maximum exposure including monetary restatement for Petrobras as of December 31, 2006 for the period 1998 is US$55 and for the period 1999 to 2002 is US$1,831. Based on its legal counsels advice, the Company has assessed risk of loss to be possible.