BRASILIA, July 15 (Reuters) - Brazil’s federal tax revenues fell in June for the third straight month, the country’s tax agency said on Wednesday, further complicating government efforts to meet a key fiscal goal this year.
Brazil’s federal government collected 97 billion reais ($30.88 billion) in taxes in June, down 2.44 percent from the same month a year ago when discounted for inflation.
The sharp contraction of the Brazilian economy has dragged down tax revenues at a time when President Dilma Rousseff is scrambling to shore up the country’s finances and regain the confidence of market players.
Rousseff’s economic team agrees that it is impossible to reach the primary surplus target of 1.1 percent of gross domestic product this year. Officials are now debating the size of the new goal and when to announce it.
Finance Minister Joaquim Levy is trying to secure new revenues with one-off items to get closer to the target this year and shield the country’s investment grade rating.
Levy is backing a bill to legalize money held by Brazilians abroad with the payment of a penalty fee and speeding up the collection of tax debts to bolster revenues this year and next. The ministry expects both measures to bring an extra 35 billion reais in revenues this year.
The government also hopes to generate extra revenues with the sale of the insurance unit of state lender Caixa Economica Federal and a state payroll auction.
The country collected 92 billion reais in federal taxes in May, according to the agency. ($1 = 3.1416 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Marcela Ayres; Writing by Alonso Soto; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)