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flag Brazil Brazil: Business Environment

In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices


Accounting Rules

Tax Year
From 1 January, finishing 31 December of the same year.
Accounting Standards
Inspired by the American model: translated from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Statement of Auditing Standards.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Regulation of financial institutions
Accounting Reports
According to the American model, the financial statements must include at least: a table of variation of equity capital apart from the reserve account, a table of cash flow, notes to the accounts. For additional information go to the website of the Brazil Company Handbook.
Publication Requirements
Commercial companies are obliged to publish annually a balance sheet, a profit and loss account and all the information necessary to understand the financial health of the company. The documents are controlled within the 60 days preceding the shareholders' Annual General Meeting. Since the introduction of the Normative Instruction 1,397, published on September 16, 2013 (“IN 1,397/2013”), a digital version of the accounting books and records prepared in accordance with the Brazilian accounting rules prior to the conversion to IFRS (Old BRGAAP) was introduced and must be prepared as of 2014 fiscal year (to be filed in June 2015).
Professional Accountancy Bodies
IBRACON , Professional association of chartered accountants
CFC , Federal Accountancy Council
CPC , Committee for the improvement of accounting standards and practices
Certification and Auditing
Independent auditors and international firms registered with the Instituto Brasileiro de Contadores.
The financial statements are controlled by an independent auditor registered with the "Securities and Exchange Commission" or the "Instituto Brasileiro de Contadores". Approximately half of the audits in Brazil are carried out by international audit firms.
The present trend is towards an increase in the number of companies audited, including those which are not obliged to be audited. The guarantee of quality arising from a certification represents a not inconsiderable advantage for Brazilian companies.
Accounting News
Brazil Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
ICMS  (Imposto sobre circulação de mercadorias e serviços): Tax on operations concerning the movement of goods and on national, municipal and local transport services.
Tax Rate
There are various indirect tax regimes in Brazil, including but not limited to:

- ICMS (Imposto sobre a Circulação de Mercadorias e Prestação de Serviços de Transporte Interestadual e Intermunicipal e de Comunicação), State Sales Tax. The rate is 4% for imported goods which are not subject to any kind of industrial process after customs clearance and for the manufactured product resulting from the assembling or manufacturing process with more than 40% of imported good or raw materials. In other cases, rates are 7% applicable on sales made by business based in the south or south-east regions to customers in the north, north-east and mid-west regions, as well as to Espírito Santo state; 12% applicable on sales from any region to the customers in south or south-east regions and sales from north, north-east, mid-west regions and Espírito Santo State to customers in north, north-east, mid-west regions and Espírito Santo state.
- IPI (Imposto sobre Produtos Industrializados), Federal VAT Tax
- ISS (Imposto sobre Serviços), Municipal Services Tax, Municipal Tax (governed by a Federal Law)
- COFINS, Social Contribution for Social Security Financing, Federal Tax
- PIS, Employees’ Profit Participation Program, Federal Tax

Consult Brazilian Import Duty and Taxation by Category to find import duty and taxes which apply to your product.
Reduced Tax Rate
A great number of deductions are applicable, each State being able to alter them.
Other Consumption Taxes
A tax on industrialized products (IPI) is also collected: an excise duty levied at the federal level. It applies to almost all sales and transfers of goods manufactured or imported in Brazil. The IPI rate can vary between 0% and 330%. The least taxed products are: basic foodstuffs, and the most taxed: alcohol and cigarettes.

Learn more about Service Providers in Brazil on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
15%. Companies can benefit from reductions or exemptions when they are located in under-developed geographical areas (zonas francas).
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Companies resident in Brazil pay taxes on their worldwide profits. Foreign companies are only subject to tax if they engage in certain sales operations involving companies or agents resident in Brazil.
Capital Gains Taxation
The tax rate on long term capital gains is the same as for corporate tax. Non-resident investors are subject to an obligatory deduction of 15%, rising to 25% for residents of tax havens.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
All the expenses necessary for company activity are deductible. Other expenses can be added: for employees' lunches, training, investment in the north-east of the country or in IT equipment. On the other hand, only 20% of managers' salaries are considered to be deductible expenses.
Other Corporate Taxes
There are many indirect taxes:
- The PIS and COFINS, respectively allocated to an employee savings scheme and to reimbursement of social security, and levied on the gross income of the company (1.65% and 7.6%). Exports are exempt, but imports are liable to PIS and COFINS at a combined rate of 9.25%.
- A supplementary tax, the ISS, is deducted by municipalities on services which are not subject to the ICMS, and is about 2 to 5% of the price of the service billed.
- A Financial Transactions Tax (IOF).
- Concerning real estate, a property tax which varies from 0.3 to 1.5% (in case of São Paulo city) of the value of the property is deducted every year by the municipality, as well as a second tax of 0.03 to 20% on rural property, according to the States and the use of the land. Every buyer must pay a progressive tax of 2 to 6% on the price of the property. This federal value added tax is levied on nearly all sales and transfers of products manufactured in or imported into Brazil, depending on the degree of necessity.
- In addition, import companies pay an import duty which varies according to the type of goods, and companies which pay royalties or pay for services rendered by foreign companies are subject to a deduction of 10%.
Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Brazil Latin America & Caribbean United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 9.0 30.0 11.0 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 2.6 367.0 175.0 207.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 69.3 47.2 46.7 46.8

Source: Doing Business - Last Available Data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Progressive rate from 0% to a maximum of 27.5% for income exceeding BRL 53,566
Up to BRL 21,453 0%
BRL 21,453 - 32,151 7.5%
BRL 32,151 - 43,869 15%
BRL 43,869 - 53,566 22.5%
Over BRL 53,566 27.5%
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Social security contributions, voluntary contributions to a private pension scheme (up to 12% of salary), professional travel expenses, pensions paid by order of a court, a deduction of 123 BRL per dependant per month, as well as BRL 2,374 in annual educational expenses. Some donations are also allowable for deductions or tax credit. Taxpayers may elect the standard annual deduction of 20% of taxable income up to BRL 13,916.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
No special regime for residents.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the list of the fiscal agreements signed
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0%, Interest: 15%/25%, Royalties: 15%

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Sources of Fiscal Information

Tax Authorities
Administration of federal tax revenue
Other Domestic Resources
HSBC Bank information pages on Brazil

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Learn more about Taxes and Accounting in Brazil on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Intellectual Property

National Organizations
The organization in charge of the protection of patents and trademarks in Brazil is the INPI (Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial).
Regional Organizations
MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur), UCC (Uniform Commercial Code), UPOV (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants).
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
20 years for inventions
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
10 years, renewable
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
10 years, renewable three times for 5 years  
Lei de Direitos Autorais
70 years after the death of the author, or from publication for audio-visual and photographic works Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
Industrial Models
Lei de Propriedade Industrial
15 years  

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
Although judicial power is to a large extent independent of the executive branch, it is quite powerless in the face of organized crime, which is rife in the country. Legal reforms advance very slowly and the public does not trust the system. The level of corruption is very high.
Each Brazilian province has its own legal system. The country also has a system of courts to settle disputes between provinces. Brazil has not accepted the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Judicial power belongs to judges, and there is no jury in any lawcourt.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The judicial power guarantees a fair trial to foreign nationals.
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
It is often necessary to resort to an interpreter if you do not speak Portuguese.
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The main source of the law is the constitution of 1998. The legal system is based on Roman codes. The civil code, inspired previously by the Napoleonic code, is nowadays closer to the Italian code. Judicial power belongs to judges and important people.
Checking National Laws Online
Guide to Brazilian Law Online

Learn more about Lawyers and Legal in Brazil on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

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National Standards Organizations
Brazilian technical standards association
Brazilian committee for standardization in the fields of electricity, electronics and telecommunications
National Council of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (CONMETRO)
National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO)
Integration in the International Standards Network
Member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), of the Global Ecolabeling Network (GEN), of the Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT) and of the MERCOSUL Association for Standardization (AMN) and of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which has become the GSI after merging with a European group (an organization concerning chains of logistics and bar codes).
Classification of Standards
ABNT, NBR standards.
Online Consultation of Standards
The ABNT catalog.
Certification Organizations
List of organizations authorized to issue certifications

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Business Practices

General Information
Main recommendations and codes of business relations
Opening Hours and Days
Saturday and Sunday.

Public Holidays

New Year's Day 1 January
Carnival 4 days before Ash Wednesday
Good Friday (Friday before Easter) March/April
Labor Day 1 May
Ascension May
Independence Day 7 September
Our Lady of Aparecida 12 October
All Souls Day 2 November
Proclamation of the Republic 15 November
Feast of the Immaculate Conception 8 December
Christmas Day 25 December
St Sebastian's Day in Rio de Janeiro 20 January
Founding of the city of Sao Paulo 25 January
Our Lady of the Sailors in Porto Alegre 2 February

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Carnival one or two weeks
Christmas and New Year one or two weeks

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Last Updates: February 2015