Customs and excise duties
Taxes and contribution in Brazil
Imports and exports
All Brazilian goods importers and exporters are required to have a special trading license, the so-called RADAR, which grants a password to access the Brazilian Integrated Foreign Trade System (Sistema Integrado de Comércio Exterior). The SISCOMEX is an electronic integrated trade documentation system designed by the Brazilian Government to control and monitor the Brazilian Foreign Trade.
The SISCOMEX is supervised by the Chamber of Foreign Trade- SECEX (Secretaria do Comercio Exterior), the Federal Revenue Service (Receita Federal do Brasil, or RFB), and Brazilian Central Bank (Banco Central do Brasil or BACEN). There are basically three types of RADAR licenses: (i) Express, (ii) Limited, and (iii) Unlimited. Certain procedures to obtain such licenses apply.
Main special custom regimes
The Brazilian Customs Regulations allows the Brazilian entity to export a national product, for a fixed period of time that is subject to industrial process and subsequent re-importation of the resulting product, with payment of import duties and VAT only on the value added abroad. The special regime requires that the goods are held by a company based in Brazil and that the transaction meets national economic interests, based on a special request to the Customs authorities.
On December 2015, Brazilian tax authorities issued two sets of guidance (Normative Instructions No. 1,600/2015 and No. 1,602/2015) that contain new rules on special customs regimes for the temporary import and export of general goods and for the temporary import and export of traveler's goods. These regimes allow for the temporary admission of goods and the suspension of the payment of customs duties in certain circumstances, depending on the destination of the goods and the length of time the goods will remain in Brazil. Previously, the Brazilian tax authorities regulated both special regimes, which gave rise to conflicting interpretations of the rules. The new guidance is designed to expedite the procedures and the application of the concessions under the regimes. Concession requests and the submission of documentation shall be done electronically, rather than through a formal administrative process, with more control exercised by the customs authorities.
The Ex-Tariff is an incentive promoted by the Ministry of Industry Development and Foreign Trade (MDIC), whose main objective is promoting investments in capital assets in Brazil through an import duty relief. This regime is applicable only to goods classified as capital, data and telecommunications assets in the Mercosur Harmonized Tariff Schedule, and that do not have a locally produced counterpart. In order to apply for the Ex-Tariff, the importer must file a request with the Department of Production Development and provide certain documentation for analysis. Following the request, a certificate of non-similarity may be issued, entitling the applicant to the benefit granted, which means a rate of 2 percent as import duty on the analyzed goods.
Bonded Warehouse (entreposto aduaneiro) is a special import regime which allows the Brazilian company to suspend the triggering event of the import duty, IPI, PIS and COFINS on the import while maintaining such goods in a bonded warehouse. The taxes shall be paid when the goods leave the warehouse (customs clearance).
Certified Bonded Warehouse Regime
The Special certified bonded warehouse Regime (Deposito Alfandegado Certificado, or DAC) allows that for all due purposes exported national goods stored in a bonded warehouse, sold to a company abroad, be delivered, under contract, within the national territory and made available to the buyer. The goods stay in the warehouse for the maximum of 12 months, and exceptionally extended for another 12-month period. Certain restrictions may apply depending on the State.
Drawback is an export incentive that consists of a non-assessment, exemption or refund of taxes due on the importation of goods used in the manufacturing of products for further export. The taxes eligible for the drawback system are import duty, IPI, ICMS, AFRMM, PIS and COFINS, and PIS-Import and COFINS-Import. This benefit applies to inputs or components which are subject to industrialization process in Brazil and which are subsequently exported (finished goods).
In 1994, the members of the GATT, of which Brazil is part, signed an agreement to implement antidumping rules. Dumping is considered the offer of a product in the market of another country by a price lower than its usual price, when the export price is lower than the price charged in usual transactions for the same product in the exporting country.
To avoid such practice, the Brazilian authorities control the import prices based on the inputs obtained in commodity exchanges, specialized publications, price lists of foreign producers, prices declared by the importers, and any other method that allows evaluating import and export prices. If authorities suspect of the price charged, the company has to prove that price adopted is not lower than the price generally charged using one of the comparison methods available.
Regional trading agreements
Brazil is a member of the Southern Cone Common Market (Mercosur) trade agreement, along with Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. The Mercosur Customs Union, which took effect in 1995, includes:
- A "rules of origin" agreement whereby Mercosur member countries may exchange products tariff-free provided certain conditions are met;
- Exclusion lists that grant Mercosur countries the right to specify import product categories they sought to exclude from the common external tariff; and
- A bilateral accord permitting products manufactured in Brazil's Manaus free trade zone or Argentina's Tierra del Fuego to be traded with full tariff exemptions within the Mercosur.
Bolivia, Chile, Suriname, Guiana, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are associated States of the Mercosur, members of the ALADI, with whom Mercosur has also established free trade agreements. Brazil is also a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Latin American Integration Association.
Mercosur signed an agreement in 2004 to adopt special tariffs in its trade with the countries of the Southern African Customs Union, comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, which entered into force in 2016 The agreement aims to gradually reduce and eventually eliminate tariffs. Similar agreements were signed with India, Mexico, Egypt, among others.