Brazil's import taxes make pro quiver's very costly
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 May, 2014 - Brazil’s most famous surfer missed training a day before Rio de Janeiroâs biggest contest because his boards were seized at the airport, the latest example of an athlete running afoul of the country’s customs rules.
Adriano de Souza, who is ranked sixth in the world and has Oakley, Red Bull GmbH and Skullcandy Inc. among his sponsors, left Rio’s airport empty handed yesterday after refusing to pay taxes on the seven boards he uses in competition.
Brazil limits imports to $500 as part of an effort to prevent people from selling items on the black market or avoiding buying products domestically that are more expensive than overseas. The nation has regulations that allow foreign athletes to bring equipment into the country for 30 days, and special rules are in place for this year’s soccer World Cup.
“I’ve lost my boards,” de Souza said in a text message.
The tax office said de Souza’s boards were brought into the country by an associate and were withheld to establish a value for the goods. It claimed an unspecified amount of fees that de Souza refused to pay, it said in a statement.
“He would have to pay taxes, but he didn’t pay taxes and left,” Roberto Limeira, a customs official at the airport, said yesterday in a phone interview.
De Souza also had a battle with Brazilian tax authorities in 2012, when it took four months to reclaim a trophy seized after he returned home from winning a contest in South Africa.