The Superior Court of Justice (STJ) denied a request from Barcas S.A., – concessionaire of the waterway passenger service in Rio de Janeiro – to receive exemption from paying property tax (IPTU) for the year 2000. The company uses a property situated on navy land belonging to the Union.

The ruling reformulated the understanding of the Rio de Janeiro Court of Justice (TJ-RJ), which established that the concessionaire would not be responsible for paying the property tax on federally owned property, due to reciprocal immunity. Originally, the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro had filed a tax claim against the concessionaire.

“The guidelines of the Superior Court are in line with the Supreme Court’s current understanding of the matter. However, the decision does not apply without distinction to all properties owned by other federative entities benefiting from reciprocal immunity. This is because there are activities that can only be exercised on real estate that, by law, is the property of the Federal Union (airports, for example) – so that, in these cases, speaking of limiting free competition because of IPTU immunity does not apply, as the Superior Courts stated”, says Bruno Zaroni, a partner at Zaroni Advogados.

In the STJ, Minister Napoleão Nunes Maia Filho, in monocratically judging the Municipality’s appeal against the decision of the TJ-RJ, acknowledged that the concessionaire is indeed responsible for the payment of the tax.