It’s no secret that Latin America has the strictest business-to-government e-invoicing mandates in the world, but what’s lesser known are the bill of lading requirements that tend to accompany these mandates. E-invoicing is not simply an issue to be managed by IT and finance teams – it significantly affects logistics and supply chains operations as well. If managed ineffectively, it can leave trucks parked for days or force buyers to refuse shipments, halting business operations.
Brazil, typically the benchmark for other Latin American countries as they look to unveil similar mandates, is in the process of enacting the most complex shipping requirements in the world. Already requiring commercial transport and manifest documents (CTe and MDFe) to accompany all shipments, Brazil now also mandates a business process called Manifestacao do Destinatario across many industries. This process requires mandated buyers to match inbound shipments to the government approved e-invoice and acknowledge the receipt and accuracy of that inbound reception. Soon, the country will begin enforcing Brazil-ID, using RFID technology to track goods from the moment they leave the warehouse to their final destination.
The goal of these stringent measures is to increase visibility into business transactions, ensuring that purchase orders, invoices and goods sent/received all match – and are therefore taxed accordingly. This visibility is especially important as goods cross state lines, since ICMS, a primary component of VAT, is a state-level tax on the movement and transfer of goods. Interstate movement, therefore, triggers multiple tax situations. Many Spanish-speaking markets in Latin America are moving in a similar direction – requiring a PDF document to accompany all shipments, and in some cases an electronic bill of lading to complement the e-invoice as well.
Argentina, for example, has separate requirements for domestic shipments vs. exports. When moving goods through Argentina, a Remito (shipping and fiscal information) must be provided to local provincial government agencies for each state the goods travel through. The Remito acts like an electronic bill of lading and must be signed in real-time and placed on the truck to accompany the goods. For exports, Argentina requires use of a specific web service, called Type E. For all export invoices, the signed document with approval codes (PDF) should accompany the shipment.
Suppliers in Chile have two options for shipping. Goods can either travel with the invoice – the most popular option – or suppliers can use a second document called the Guia de Despacho (electronic bill of lading) that is signed in real time.
No matter the country or its individual requirements, having the right processes in place is key to ensuring that your operations run smoothly. Printer error? Problems with electronic transmissions? If your company doesn’t have built-in contingencies to secure the required documentation to ship, you risk delayed deliveries and missed deadlines. That’s why it’s important to partner with a compliance partner that understands the implications of e-invoicing mandates on all of your operations – not just finance – and keeps your business running smoothly.