Tax Law Readability and Tax Complexity

21 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2019

See all articles by Antonio Lopo Martinez

Antonio Lopo Martinez

University of Coimbra; University of Salamanca

Raimundo da Silva

FUCAPE Business School

Date Written: August 21, 2019


Objective: The poor readability of the legislation is a possible cause of Brazil’s tax law complexity. The most updated reflections around this subject recognize the problem, but the issue has never been addressed empirically, evaluating the readability of Brazilian tax law, considering that readability is the ease with which a text can be read and understood. This article seeks to fill the gap in the national literature, verifying the readability of Livro II (Book II) of the Regulamento do Imposto de Renda de 2018 (RIR/2018) (income tax regulation of 2018), established by Complementary Law 123/2006 and the norm of the Comite de Pronunciamentos Contabeis (CPC) (Committee of Accounting Pronouncements) CPC 32 (taxes on profit).

Method: The study adopted the most traditional measures of readability analysis: i) Flesch Readability Ease Score (FRES) and ii) average sentence length (ASL).

Results: There is evidence that the selected texts have a low level of readability, with the use of long sentences and words, which requires users to have a high-level education.

Contributions: The study shows that reducing complexity of Brazilian tax law is essential to obtain greater tax compliance. Therefore, attention to linguistic and readability of tax rules is recommended, improving the comprehensibility of legislation and standards.

Keywords: Readability, Tax Compliance, Tax Complexity

JEL Classification: K34

Suggested Citation

Martinez, Antonio Lopo and Martinez, Antonio Lopo and da Silva, Raimundo, Tax Law Readability and Tax Complexity (August 21, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Antonio Lopo Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Coimbra ( email )

Pátio das Escolas

University of Salamanca ( email )

Campus Miguel de Unamuno
Salamanca, Salamanca 23007

Raimundo Da Silva

FUCAPE Business School ( email )

Fernando Ferrari Avenue, 1358
Vitória, Espirtio Santo 29075-010

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