Republica Federativa do Brasil’s global e-invoicing

E-invoicing in Brazil. It isn’t a walk in the park. The Brazilian tax authority, also known as SEFAZ, rules with a mailed fist, imposing a defined electronic standard format that all companies have to abide by. Want to be tax compliant? The “Nota Fiscal Eletrônica” (NF-e) is the only way to go in Brazil. Well, at least the Brazilian government doesn’t lag behind the global developments. That certainly can’t be said for a number of European countries…

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.

E-invoicing in Brazil: the basics

There are only a few basic requirements for electronic invoicing in Brazil:

  • Real time integration with Brazilian Tax Authority (SEFAZ).
  • Invoices have to be registered and approved before goods are transported.
  • Printed DANF-e (Documento Auxiliar da Nota Fiscal Eletrônica) has to accompany goods in transit for validation en route.
  • NF-e has to be received electronically by recipient in advance. Must be validated and any returns accounted for via “return order process”.
  • Each outbound e-invoicing solution has to provide for inbound processing as well.
  • Inbound validation required by law, and new 2012 mandates for incorporating with SPED (Sistema Publico de Escrituração Digital).
  • Transportation Invoices (CT-e) become mandatory starting in September 2012.

The 7 Brazilian steps for the shipment of physical goods

Hm, maybe these abovementioned requirements aren’t that “basic” after all. You have to take a whopping 7 steps to ensure your compliance with these requirements. Hopefully the  visual representation of the process will make things less vague. We wish you all the best of luck. Here goes:

  1. Vendor must be able to produce the appropriate XML approval document from their ERP system
  2. SEFAZ in real time will validate and assign NFe which must be posted back to ERP prior to release of goods
  3. DANF-e, a paper representation, is printed and attached to shipment, invoice is traditionally sent to buyer as well via electronic means
  4. Government officials including Customs agents and patrolling police have real time access to validity of shipment by scanning the DANF-e. If shipment doesn’t match released NF-e by SEFAZ, server penalties can be imposed
  5. Buyer receives goods and checks in at unloading dock
  6. Merchant receives goods and does a NF-e check with the SEFAZ
  7. Receipt of Goods Conformation is sent by receiver to close out transaction with SEFAZ


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