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Tax Reform in Brazil: Moving Towards Unification of E-invoicing

Kelly Muniz
March 31, 2022

Brazil is, without doubt, one of the most challenging jurisdictions in the world when it comes to tax legislation. The intricate fiscal system that encompasses rules from 27 states and over 5000 municipalities has created a burden on companies, especially for cross-state and cross-municipality transactions.

Furthermore, taxpayers must carefully examine the numerous e-invoicing formats and requirements (and, sometimes, the lack of such). Therefore, hopes for tax reform in Brazil have existed for quite some time.

Simplifying e-invoicing compliance

In recent years, several legislative initiatives towards integrating indirect taxation mandates across the country have not met successful outcomes. Meanwhile, a feasible step into bringing forth such changes may be through the unification of rules on digital compliance with tax obligations, such as VAT e-invoicing and e-reporting.

In late 2021 a draft law proposal (Projeto de Lei Complementar n. 178/2021) was initiated by the private sector. Named the National Statute for the Simplification of Ancillary Fiscal Obligations, it has been welcomed this year by the House of Representatives. Its primary purpose is to introduce a significant reform within digital tax reporting obligations by creating a unified e-invoicing system.

By establishing national fiscal cooperation, the proposal intends to reduce costs with compliance, allow information sharing among tax authorities, and create an incentive for taxpayers’ conformity across all federal, state and municipal levels.

The principal agenda of the draft law proposal is to introduce:

  • A unified national standard for e-invoicing
  • A unified e-bookkeeping format, the Digital Fiscal Declaration (DFD)
  • A pre-filled tax return using e-invoice data
  • A unified fiscal registry file and information sharing system (RCU)

What this means for businesses

The most significant change is the introduction of the NFB-e (Nota Fiscal Brasil Eletronica), a national standard for e-invoicing. It entails the unification of the NF-e (Nota Fiscal Eletronica), NFS-e (Nota Fiscal de Servicos Eletronica) and NF-C (Nota Fiscal do Consumidor Eletronica) in one single document. This will cover Brazil’s VAT-like taxes, in this case, ICMS (VAT on products and certain services) and ISS (services VAT).

In practice, this means that instead of complying with numerous e-invoicing formats and mandates, according to the state and municipality of the transaction, one national digital standard will provide uniform country-wide compliance for e-invoicing. The NFB-e will cover invoicing of goods and services on state and municipal levels for B2G, B2B and B2C transactions.

The reform will drastically reduce the burden on taxpayers and expand the scope of e-invoicing to municipalities where such a mandate hasn’t been adopted yet.

It’s essential to add clearance requirements for e-invoicing in Brazil will be maintained, meaning that businesses will still need to comply with rules for real-time clearance of invoices with the tax authority.

What’s next?

The draft law proposal is still in early discussions and will follow to the Justice and Citizenship Constitutional Commission (CCJC) for approval and possible amendments before voting by Congress. Until then, compliance with e-invoicing rules across Brazil remains at its current challenging status.

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Author

Kelly Muniz

Kelly Muniz is a Junior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos. Based in Stockholm and originally from Brazil, Kelly earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law in her home country, where she worked as a licensed lawyer. She also holds a Master’s degree in EU Business Law from Lund University in Sweden.
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