E-invoicing in Brazil: NF-e, NFS-e and CT-e?!

Attention please! In today’s class we will get back to a complicated subject we have discussed before. A short recap of what we have seen last time: the defined electronic standard that all companies must adhere to closely in Brazil is called the “Nota Fiscal Eletrônica”. But mind, this NF-e applies to goods only. The Electronic Invoice for Services (NFS-e) and Transportation Invoice or CT-e (Conhecimento de Transporte) are also part of the Brazilian system. That’s three in total. Time for some splainin’.

This post is part of a series of items on electronic invoicing in the Americas, brought to you by InvoiceWare. Please visit the profile page of InvoiceWare for an overview.

Service invoices (NFS-e)

Service invoices (NFS-e) are treated and processed differently than invoices for physical goods (NF-e). The NFS-e is used for the confirmation of service invoices and can be very complex as there is not one entity to worry about, but over 120 cities that can effect service invoices. The  most significant differences between NF-e and NFS-e are:

  • Tax is assessed by cities, so integration points are at city level.
  • Can have many line items, but only one type of service per NFS.
  • Can deliver services first and invoice later.
  • NFS number and return code provided by the city.
  • City calculates the tax for you – you make FI adjustments if needed.
  • City sends the RPS report to customer. Customer pays company, company pays city according to their calculation of the tax.
  • City does the validation, buyer doesn’t have to worry about anything, except withholding, if applicable.
  • Cancellations allowed within 30 days or 5 days after start of new month, whichever is earlier.
  • Archive for 5 years by the city.

Transportation invoices (CT-e)

From September 2012 onward the Transportation Invoice is added to Brazilian legislation as a mandatory electronic document. The CT-e is issued and stored electronically in order to document the provision of transport services, whose legal validity is guaranteed by the issuer’s digital signature and authorization of use provided by the tax administration.

Are there any benefits beyond just becoming compliant to this new Transportation Invoice? There are, because companies can tackle the CT-e early and capitalise on the business processes which are accelerated due to the electronic requirement. Also think of lower freight costs by tracking your spending on transportation invoices for discrepancies and eliminate duplicate invoices and payments. And, of course, less labour and faster processing.

By following this link you will find a list (in Portuguese, but there’s nothing Google Translate won’t fix) of deadlines and transportation organisations that are specifically called out for compliance.


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