Jurisprudencia de la C.S.J.N.: Impuesto sobre los ingresos brutos. Alícuota diferencial. Medida cautelar. Procedencia. Efectos.

“Harriet y Donnelly S.A. c/ Chaco, Provincia del s/ acción declarativa de certeza”, C.S.J.N., 24/02/15.

SUMARIO.- Impuesto sobre los ingresos brutos. Alícuota diferencial. Medida cautelar. Procedencia. Efectos. En el caso, el Máximo Tribunal hizo lugar a la medida cautelar solicitada, en atención a encontrarse verificados los requisitos de verosimilitud del derecho y peligro en la demora, y teniendo en cuenta también, que la decisión solo producirá -en el caso de rechazo de la demanda-, una postergación en la percepción de las diferencias que se generen, ya que mientras tanto, la provincia ingresará a sus arcas las mismas sumas que se perciben por el gravamen que recae respecto de quienes cumplen con el requisito establecido como condición para tributar la alícuota reducida. Cabe señalar que la actora plantea la inconstitucionalidad de las facultades locales para gravar con una alícuota diferencial en el impuesto sobre los ingresos brutos a aquellos contribuyentes que no tengan sede central radicada en territorio de la Provincia.

Sumario realizado por la Dra. Carolina Petraglia

Fallo completo:

CSJ 114/2014 (50-H) CS1. Originario. “Harriet y Donnelly S.A. c/ Chaco, Provincia del s/ acción declarativa de certeza”.

Buenos Aires, 24 de Febrero de 2015

Autos y Vistos; Considerando:

1º) Que a fs. 147/177 la firma Harriet y Donnelly S.A., con domicilio en la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, promueve acción declarativa de certeza en los términos del Artículo 322 del Código Procesal Civil y Comercial de la Nación contra la Provincia del Chaco, a fin de que se haga cesar el estado de incertidumbre en que dice encontrarse, frente a la pretensión de la demandada de aplicar a la actividad de producción primaria que desarrolla en su territorio, una alícuota diferencial del impuesto sobre los ingresos brutos, por no poseer sede central en la jurisdicción provincial, con sustento en lo establecido en el Artículo 12, inciso e de la Ley Tarifaria local Nº 2.071, modificada por el Artículo 5º de la Ley Nº 7.149 cuya declaración de inconstitucionalidad también solicita.
Explica que desarrolla, entre otras actividades, la de producción primaria, principalmente enfocada en la agricultura, y que es contribuyente del Convenio Multilateral a los fines del impuesto sobre los ingresos brutos, y cuenta con establecimientos o campos en diversas jurisdicciones, entre ellas en la provincia demandada, por lo que distribuye la materia imponible resultante del ejercicio de su actividad de conformidad con lo establecido en los Artículos 2º y 13 de dicho convenio. Destaca asimismo que está radicada en el Chaco desde hace más de treinta años.
Aclara que mediante la Ley Nº 3.994 la provincia incorporó la exención establecida a favor del ejercicio de actividades primarias e industriales en virtud de lo acordado entre la Nación y las provincias en el “Pacto Federal para el Empleo, la Producción y el Crecimiento”, del 12 de agosto de 1993. Añade que dicha exención fue suspendida a partir del 10 de enero de 2013 por la Ley provincial Nº 7.148, y que mediante la Ley Nº 7149 se dispusieron modificaciones a diversos artículos de la ley tarifaria 2071, entre ellos, al aquí cuestionado artículo 12, apartado e, por el que se legisló un beneficio fiscal de alícuota reducida para aquellos contribuyentes cuya sede central se encuentre radicada en la provincia.
Afirma que dicha discriminación importa el establecimiento de una aduana interior que afecta la cláusula comercial y las libertades de circulación y de tránsito consagradas en la Constitución Nacional, al imponer un tratamiento impositivo distinto a las actividades interjurisdiccionales en función de la ubicación local o foránea de la sede central de la empresa. Aduce asimismo que la disposición impugnada vulnera el principio de igualdad en materia tributaria, en tanto existe una palmaria irrazonabilidad en la desigualdad de trato establecida con un afán proteccionista.
Funda su planteo en los Artículos 4º, 9º, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 28, 31 y 75, incisos 10, 10 y 13, y 126 de la Constitución Nacional, y en la doctrina que surge de diversos precedentes del Tribunal.
Requiere el dictado de una medida cautelar de no innovar a fin de que se disponga la suspensión a su respecto de la aplicación de la alícuota diferencial mayor establecida en la norma impugnada y se ordene, por lo tanto, la tributación de la reducida fijada en el 1% sobre la integridad de la base imponible del gravamen; y asimismo que se ordene al gobierno provincial que se abstenga de iniciar o proseguir las acciones tendientes a determinar el gravamen con sustento en las disposiciones que aquí cuestiona, así corno también de iniciar acciones coactivas tendientes a su cobro o ejecución, hasta tanto recaiga sentencia definitiva en los presentes.

2º) Que de conformidad con el dictamen de la señora Procuradora Fiscal, a cuyos fundamentos y conclusión cabe remitir en razón de brevedad, esta causa corresponde a la competencia originaria de esta Corte prevista en el artículo 117 de la Constitución Nacional.

3º) Que en cuanto a lo demás requerido cabe recordar que este Tribunal ha establecido que si bien por vía de principio, medidas corno las requeridas no proceden respecto de actos administrativos o legislativos habida cuenta de la presunción de validez que ostentan,’ tal doctrina debe ceder cuando se los impugna sobre bases prima facie verosímiles (Fallos: 250:154; 251:336; 307:1702; 316:2855).

4º) Que, asimismo, ha dicho en la causa “Albornoz, Evaristo Ignacio c/ Nación Argentina” (Fallos: 306:2060) que “corno resulta de la naturaleza de las medidas cautelares, ellas no exigen de los magistrados el examen de la certeza sobre la existencia del derecho pretendido, sino sólo de su verosimilitud. Es más, el juicio de verdad en esta materia se encuentra en oposición a la finalidad del instituto cautelar, que no es otra que atender a aquello que no excede del marco de lo hipotético, dentro del cual, asimismo, agota su virtualidad”.
En el presente caso resultan suficientemente acreditadas la verosimilitud en el derecho y la configuración de los presupuestos establecidos en los incisos 1º y 2 º del Artículo 230 del código adjetivo para acceder a la medida pedida.

5º) Que en mérito a la solución que se adopta resulta necesario precisar que el sub lite presenta marcadas diferencias con otros reclamos en los que este Tribunal ha denegado el dictado de medidas precautorias frente a pretensiones fiscales de los estados provinciales, en atención al principio de particular estrictez que debe aplicarse en materia de reclamos y cobros de impuestos (conf. Fallos: 313:1420; 322:2275, entre otros).
En el caso se cuestiona la constitucionalidad del Artículo 12, inciso e de la Ley Tarifaria local Nº 2.071, modificada por el Artículo 5º de la Ley Nº 7.149 dictada por la Provincia del Chaco, sobre la base del cual se grava con alícuotas distintas del impuesto sobre los ingresos brutos a la producción primaria desarrollada en el ámbito local, en razón de lugar de radicación de la sede central de las empresas dedicadas a dicha actividad.
Así, las que posean su sede central dentro del territorio provincial tributan un porcentual menor del que deben afrontar las que no cumplen con tal requisito. De tal manera, adquiere preeminencia la necesidad de determinar si el Estado provincial se ha excedido -como se afirma- en sus potestades tributarias, precisar cuáles son los alcances de la jurisdicción y competencia que tiene para ejercer eventualmente el derecho de percibir la alícuota diferencial cuestionada, y si ese proceder quebranta la potestad del gobierno federal de reglar el comercio de las provincias entre sí (Art. 75, inciso 13, Constitución Nacional; arg. Fallos: 178:308; 320:1302, considerando 6º, entre otros).
Esa situación, diversa de la examinada en los precedentes a los que se ha hecho referencia, permite concluir que en el caso resulta aconsejable establecer cautelarmente que la firma demandante tribute eh concepto de impuesto sobre los-ingresos brutos la alícuota del uno por ciento (1%) prevista en el primer párrafo del Artículo 12, inciso e de la Ley Tarifaria provincial Nº 7.149, hasta tanto se defina la situación objeto de este litigio.
Cabe señalar que la decisión que se adopta solo producirá, en el caso en que se rechace la demanda, una postergación en la percepción de las diferencias que se generen, ya que mientras tanto la provincia ingresará a sus arcas las mismas sumas que se perciben por el gravamen que recae respecto de quienes cumplen con el requisito establecido como condición para tributar la alícuota reducida (arg. causa CSJ 1024/2008 (44-B) “Bolsa de Cereales de Buenos Aires c/ Buenos Aires, Provincia de s/ incidente de medida cautelar”, sentencia del 5 de marzo de 2013).
Por ello, se resuelve:

I. Declarar que la presente causa corresponde a la competencia originaria de esta Corte.

II. Correr traslado de la demanda a la Provincia del Chaco por el plazo de sesenta (60) días (Arts. 319, 322 y 338 del Código Procesal Civil y Comercial de la Nación). A los fines de su comunicación al señor Gobernador y al señor Fiscal de Estado en los términos del Artículo 341 del código adjetivo, líbrese oficio al señor juez federal correspondiente.

III. Hacer lugar a la medida cautelar solicitada y, por consiguiente, establecer que la firma Harriet y Donnelly S.A. tribute en lo sucesivo en concepto del impuesto sobre los ingresos brutos la alícuota del uno por ciento (1%) prevista en el primer párrafo del Artículo 12, inciso e de la Ley Tarifaria provincial Nº 2.071, modificada por el Artículo 5º de la Ley Nº 7.149, hasta tanto se dicte sentencia definitiva en este proceso. Líbrese oficio al señor Gobernador a fin de poner en su conocimiento la presente decisión. Notifíquese a la parte actora por Secretaria y comuníquese a la Procuración General.

Carlos S. Fayt. Elena I. Highton de Nolasco. Juan Carlos Maqueda.

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