Quick overview: If you ship packages into Brazil, you need to be aware of some important changes that require all labels be clearly marked with a tax ID number called the CPF. If you don’t have your customer’s CPF, the shipments will be returned or destroyed and you’ll be fined by Brazilian Customs. Many eCommerce merchants are not yet collecting CPF from their customers, and the new requirement could disrupt their Brazilian trade. GDC can provide it for you and help you avoid a disruption. Here are the details…
Brazil’s high import taxes caught the attention of financial media last year when Apple’s iPhone – which cost roughly US$600 when purchased in the States – was selling for nearly twice that in Rio de Janeiro.(1) Apple took some heat for marking up a high-demand product almost 50 percent above the monthly wage of Brazil’s average worker. But in reality most of that price bump wasn’t going into Apple’s pocket. It was required to pay the Brazilian tax authority.
Like many governments, Brazil uses duties to encourage the growth of its domestic industries. By levying customs taxes on imports, it creates a price advantage for local businesses to help them compete. Still, Brazilian consumers continue buying brands they can only get through imports, at times paying taxes as high as 100 percent.
Brazil Customs requires any incoming parcels be clearly marked with the recipient’s name, address and tax ID number. For individuals, that’s called the CPF (short for Cadastro de Pessoas Fisicas) and for businesses it’s the CNPJ (Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica). Customs uses the numbers to assess the tax, and requires the recipient to make the duty payment before he/she can collect the parcel. Private courier services have become quite efficient at collecting a customer’s CPF and tax obligation before shipping the parcel to Brazil, ensuring it moves through customs quickly.
But when using the Correios for delivery (that’s Brazil’s government-run postal service) merchants and shoppers have found some loopholes to exploit. The Correios would accept a parcel without a CPF, ship it to a local post office near its final destination, and send notice to the buyer to come in to pay the tax and accept the shipment. Correios was supposed to collect duties on behalf of Brazil Customs. But their enforcement was spotty at best, and plenty of people took advantage of that.
No more. Seeing that it was losing a lot of tax revenue, the Brazilian government has mandated that Correios do a better job of collecting duties. Starting this summer, all shipments into Brazil must be clearly labeled with the recipient’s name, address, and CPF to make it past Customs. If it doesn’t have the CPF, the package will either be shipped-back or destroyed, and the sender will be responsible for paying a fine.
The problem is that many eCommerce merchants (and the technology platforms that support them) have not made the necessary changes to their shopping forms to collect the CPF. Things could get complicated for them in the coming months. Fortunately, GDC has a way to help immediately.
We specialize in finding the best in-country sources for identity and address data and integrating them into our Worldview platform. For Brazil, our service has comprehensive coverage (99 percent) of CPF and CNPJ information. We can take a combination of name, address, phone or email and provide back (in real-time) the CPF number for your shipping labels.
Brazil is a key market for many eCommerce companies. If this new requirement puts your trading business there at risk, GDC can help immediately. Feel free to reach out to me directly. Or click here to learn more about the services we offer in Brazil.